The Golem

I’m a fan of the Austrian-German satirist and occult writer Gustav Meyrink. He wrote the surreal book The Golem about the bringing to life of the Jewish alchemical monster in the Ghetto of Prague. His is considered the father of speculative fiction and the weird and Gothic. His first story, the legend goes, ended up on an editor’s desk in Germany and was trashed. But another editor noticed it, don’t know how, maybe it had strudel on it, scooped it out. and said, “Who is this mad man. This is a work of genius!”

Meyrink was persecuted and hated by the Nazis and was many times defended by Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. Hesse had this to say about him: “He is a man with something to say.” Meyrink despised Nazi Germany and its ideas of the master race and its great Teutonic past and he lampooned the Nazis’ glorious past and meddled in the occult and mysticism. He is considered the Poe of Austria and amused himself by shocking and annoying the bourgeoisie.

Here’s a taste of his brilliance: “It’s almost like a miracle when things that lie about without a particle of life in their bodies suddenly start to flutter. Have’t you ever felt that? Once I stood in a desolate square and watched a whole heap of scraps of paper chasing one another. I couldn’t feel the wind, as I was in the shelter of a house, but there they were, all chasing each other, murder in their hearts.”

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