Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Brand’s haide – Arno Schmidt’s romantic realism

Marko Pajevic


Arno Schmidt’s novel Brand’s Haide (1951) demonstrates the impossibility of romantic love in the misery of the immediate post-war period in Germany. On the one hand Schmidt distorts Romantic motifs such as the moon, yet his largely autobiographical hero is engaged in research on the Romantic German writer Fouqué. By means of a complex network of references, Schmidt re-evaluates Romanticism in light of the experience of National Socialism and World War Two, as well as in light of the miserable living conditions of an expellee in the aftermath of these events. According to Schmidt, literature as a point of intersection between material reality and fantasy represents a crucial factor in the constitution of our world. With the background of the traumatic experience of National Socialism, Schmidt develops his own conception of a Romanticism interspersed with elements of Realism and Enlightenment –a Romanticism that he perceives as more realistic than Realism itself.

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