Am I a Redundant Human Being? by Mela Hartwig
(German and Austrian Literature Series)

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For the first time in English, a contemporary and friend of Virginia Woolf and Stefan Zweig gives us the definitive portrait of a woman lost on the margins of modern life.

Aloisia Schmidt is an ordinary secretary with a burning question: am I a redundant human being? She’s neither pretty nor ugly (though she wishes she were hideous: at least that would be something), has no imagination, and is forced to live vicariously through “borrowed” fantasy—fantasy, that is, borrowed from books, plays, even other people’s lives. She loves to hate herself, and loves for other people to hate her too. In one final, guilt-ridden, masturbatory, self-obsessed confession, Aloisia indulges her masochistic tendencies to the fullest, putting her entire life on trial, and trying, through telling her story (a story, she assures us, that’s “so laughably mundane” it’s really no story at all), to transform an ordinary life into something extraordinary.

About Mela Hartwig

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Mela Hartwig was born in 1893 in Vienna, where she went on to have a successful career as an actress. After marrying, Hartwig left the stage and turned her hand to writing, where she developed a name for herself as a modernist and feminist. In 1938, Hartwig and her husband immigrated to London, where she befriended Virginia Woolf. She died in London in 1967. Kerri A. Pierce is a translator focusing on German, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Norwegian, and Swedish. She is the translator of Lars Svendsen’s A Philosophy of Evil, Mela Hartwig’s Am I a Redundant Human Being?, Kjersti A. Skomsvold's The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am, and other novels.
Published August 24, 2010 by Dalkey Archive Press. 160 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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