The Fourth League: Rhedeg I Paris

By: Bernd Wechner
© July 11, 1997

The Fourth League: Rhedeg I Paris

The Fourth League: Rhedeg I Paris

Author: Bernd Wechner
Published on: July 11, 1997

A work by Johan Schimanski in 25 parts, 28 printed pages and 15,000 words.

The title of this rather esoteric piece is Welsh, and translates as Running to Paris. Johan is a Norwegian who spent the summer of 1991 hitching around Europe. Coincidentally, the same time that Irv (See The Second League: Innocence Abroad) was doing it. He presents a rather cryptic portrayal of the events of that trip.

It is broken up into 25 parts, most of which are short, under one page in length, but not very lucid. The introduction doesn't give much away, and I can suggest very stongly that readers begin with the part entitled Konglevein 45. Therein all is revealed.

Among other things Konglevein 45 reveals that Johan has intentionally declined to point the reader to the introduction. I can only hope that my doing so doesn't detract from his presentation too much. I do feel that it is of enormous benefit in digesting the material he presents to have read that part beforehand, though. It sets a context, so to speak, that helps my comprehension enormously.

But comprehension may not be the goal in the end. There are other merits to literature, and Johan is experimenting with them. The parts are presented in no order for that reason, their content deliberately meandering and rhetorical. Terse philosophic reflections and occasional descriptions of down-to-earth events make up the bulk of the book. Only in Konglevein 45, the 20th part of 25 if you read them in order (as I did), all becomes clear. Johan confesses his efforts at literary experimentation and that his target audience is essentially himself, and a select group of friends that might share his literary bent, not the public at large. Reader beware. Caveat Legens!

It is an awkward text to read, and unless you have a bent for literary experiments, or a personal relationship with Johan it is unlikely to warrant a very thorough read. Konglevein 45 is interesting and well worth reading, though; if it whets your appetite you may find the whole book pleasing.

Rhedeg I Paris is a potent mark of the diversity of Web literature and the diversity of hitch-hiking personalities, as well. It may not be pulp fiction, but it has its merits and is definitely worth the while of this review.

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