Scenes from the Life of a Faun

Scenes from the Life of a Faun

4.06 (103 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 134.62 x 210.82 x 12.7mm | 204.12g
  • Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0714527637
  • 9780714527635
  • 1,308,154

Review Text

It's too bad, really, that this 1953 novella didn't arrive here before the 1980 translation of Schmidt's dauntingly dense and Joycean Evening Edged in Gold: it might have made the latter's excesses and impossibilities seem a bit more coherent. For, as this shorter but no less literary book amply demonstrates, Schmidt (1914-1979) was a continuously outrageous imagist and a kind of stonemason of self-perceptive prose: block by block, the story builds on, knocking the sides off anything that finally isn't about literary style. Set in 1939, the book focuses on Heinrich During, a bureaucrat with large scorn for his Nazi bosses and for his countrymen's willful obtuseness; During also has a frigid wife and a comically throbbing lust for an office typist, Fraulein Kramer. And, in a cascade of tropes, each one paragraph-sized and introduced by a seemingly unconnected rubric (which however acts as the note to which the successive prose-block is tuned), During observes the moon in a dozen flowery aspects, considers the merits of Gnosticism and the works of Wieland, surveys a local district, or experiences a department store: "Rifles barrel bamboo reptiles glasses twitter dunes of coffee lips gone crooked buckled clucking words out trotting rippling hot-dogs bronzed with dots of mustard scales with clawing pointers subtle yellow tiny show-offs thick potboilers brash trash photos rigid jackets upright stairways ramble rosy gristled earfuls napes of buffet-worthy matriarchs with earnest censure luggage boxing doorways flailing as you leave." All the while, too, During prepares for the catastrophe of defeat he knows the Allies have in store: he lays in supplies at a forest hide-out - to which he brings Fraulein Kramer during the climactic, horrifying, gorgeously described firestorm (Schmidt's style really pays off here). A fine, stimulating book altogether - which, in Woods' extraordinarily vital and brilliant translation, may do what the white-elephant-like Evening Edged in Gold failed to do: establish Schmidt - whom the Germans consider a major modernist figure - as an important writer for the English-speaking literary world. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

103 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 40% (41)
4 37% (38)
3 16% (16)
2 6% (6)
1 2% (2)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X