From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin (fiction – transpositions)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin is the first collection of published and unpublished transpositions – a genre created between translation and adaptation.

A transposition retains the form of an original story, but shifts its content when the past and present contexts are incompatible. Form is defined as each sentence or segment; content is moved from the past to the present – from the romantic era in Germany and Russia to 21st century America in this collection. You will find more information at www.transposing.net.

Our inaugural edition of transpositions furnishes stories originally written in Russian and German. Transposed into English, Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol and E.T.A. Hoffmann enter modern-day America. The selected works include classics like The Sandmann by Hoffmann, The Nose by Gogol and lesser known works such as Pushkin’s narrative poem Gypsies (transposed as Activists) and Hoffmann’s novella Gambler’s Luck.

Following a preface on transposition, Broker Bill loses his nose in Whittlesey’s transposition of Gogol’s classic The Nose. Desperate, he roams Manhattan, riding taxis, going to banks, talking with CEOs, FBI investigators, emailing district managers and board chairs, until he gives up…

Smirnov moves Pushkin’s gypsies from the Caucasus to the Forest City – Portland, Maine. The poem is transformed into flash fiction; the gypsies transfigured to activists; but a young stranger still falls in love with a woman who soon grows tired of his affection…

An offshoot of the Vanderbilt family jets into Reno in Raleigh’s transposition of Gambler’s Luck by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Dwight has luck on his side, and it doesn’t abandon him in his liaisons, the lottery or gambling. He amasses millions until he sits down on a boardwalk bench with a man who – to quote from the text – “is more of a Dodge than a Prius”…

The bandit brothers in Pushkin’s eponymous poem no longer attack travelers in the forest. Today they are lovers who lease office space, hire a promoter and take forged reports to wealthy businessmen and idealists. Smirnov’s Criminals in Love, again as flash fiction, tells the story of their fate, similar to Puskhin’s protagonists in form, but different in content…

Angelika Friedrich and Henry Whittlesey plop Matt and Clara into the suburban northeast in their transposition of Hoffmann’s Sandman. The bogeyman may still collect eyes, but these eyes appear on tablets and robots that ultimately drive Matt crazy…

Finally, to close out the collection, “looking like Porky Pig,” the devil himself pays a visit to rural Vermont. Hell bent on preventing the glass blower Pratt from dating the cari Zena, he steals the moon in Whittlesey’s transposition of Gogol’s The Night before Christmas

Enjoy, analyze and let us know what you think of this new genre.

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin is available online and at 1080.