Juli Zeh: Treideln

Juli Zeh


200 pp (40,590 words)

»A lecture in Poetics? Out of the question. You’re either an author or an owner of Poetics.«

Juli Zeh, a graduate in Law and a perceptive and disputatious author, will be teaching poetics as a guest lecturer at Frankfurt’s Goethe University in the summer semester of 2013. Under the title TREIDELN she will talk about the conditions and foundations of her literary work – and try to outline an »anti-poetology«. Poetics, Juli Zeh says, is something for »quacks, weaklings, head teachers, social misfits and other charlatans.« Writing lives on a »hostility to poetics«, it’s »written-down conversation with yourself«. »Poetics always sounds as if the author knows what he’s doing – when at best he knows what he has done.«

Liberated by this recognition one can strike up and poetologise in the most wonderful way. About the significance of memory for writing, for example: »An event is not what has happened, but what can be told.«

TREIDELN is composed of a series of letters and other communications, beginning with a note to Frankfurt University, turning down the invitation to lecture. Through letters and emails to academics – and to some curiously named friends and other correspondents, including Zeh’s publisher, the local council, journalists and the tax authorities – the book explains why writers should never be trusted to explain the process, or outcome, of writing.

Rights sold

The Netherlands - Ambo|Anthos

paperback - Random House/btb

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»Zeh’s book stands in the tradition of the epistolary novel.
 Even though (...) it neglects any kind of ›Poetics‹, the text earnestly discusses the conditions of writing.«
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Juli Zeh’s first TREIDELN lecture was entertaining and witty. Writing stories, Zeh explains, is like carefully pulling a fragile thread.«
Frankfurter Rundschau

»Juli Zeh, qui capte tout de suite la sympathie par sa franchise, son sourire en coin, son ton enjoué, est devenue une romancière reconnue et couronnée de nombreux prix.«

»To be able to draw both pleasure and profit from her lectures, you have to tune into the author's thinking process. Juli Zeh is a heroine of the written word who prefers to show her heroism in understatement.«
Süddeutsche Zeitung

»TREIDELN is funny and eloquently written. Even though Zeh does not think highly of Poetics, it becomes clear in her first talk – which ended with thunderous applause – that she is an excellent Poetics lecturer.«

»An important feature of Juli Zeh is her power to confront – which is unusual in our mostly tame and conventional literary world.«
Frankfurter Neue Presse

Reviews from abroad:

»Ostensibly a series of anti-poetics lectures about the futility of writers explaining writing, TREIDELN is all about how writing happens, from the sudden birth of a forty-something protagonist to a long-standing preference, instilled by Balzac, Musil and Mann.«
New Books in German

More titles by Juli Zeh

Juli Zeh: The Full Monty. Not a NovelJuli Zeh: Eagles and AngelsJuli Zeh: Even Silence Is a Sound. Travels through BosniaJuli Zeh: Gaming Instinct (Spieltrieb)Juli Zeh: A Dog Runs through the RepublicJuli Zeh: The Little Encyclopedia for Household DogsJuli Zeh: Gaming Instinct (stage version)Juli Zeh: SchilfJuli Zeh: Schilf (stage version)Juli Zeh: The Land of PeopleJuli Zeh: The Method (Corpus delicti)Juli Zeh: Decompression (Nullzeit)Juli Zeh: Good Morning, Boys and GirlsJuli Zeh: At Night They Are Animals