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Bad Words : Selected Short Prose, Hardback Book

Bad Words : Selected Short Prose Hardback

Part of the The German List series


I now no longer use the better words. Ilse Aichinger (1921-2016) was one of the most important writers of postwar Austrian and German literature.

Born in 1921 to a Jewish mother, she survived World War II in Vienna, while her twin sister Helga escaped with one of the last Kindertransporte to England in 1938.

Many of their relatives were deported and murdered. Those losses make themselves felt throughout Aichinger's writing, which since her first and only novel, The Greater Hope, in 1948, has highlighted displacement, estrangement, and a sharp skepticism toward language.

By 1976, when she published Bad Words in German, her writing had become powerfully poetic, dense, and experimental.

This volume presents the whole of the original Bad Words in English for the first time, along with a selection of Aichinger's other short stories of the period; together, they demonstrate her courageous effort to create and deploy a language unmarred by misleading certainties, preconceived rules, or implicit ideologies.

In the following decades Aichinger's work became increasingly dense, poetic, and experimential, culminating in the iconic Schlechte Worter (Bad Words) in 1976. This entire volume, along with a selection of short stories from previous books in this period, is presented here for the first time in English translation.

Any false promise of a coherent, masterful world (with its insistence of "better words") is left behind.

Instead, we have "bad words" minor everyday objects and the freedom that comes with vigilant and playful disobedience.




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