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Return to Book Page. Preview — The Golem by Gustav Meyrink. The Golem by Gustav Meyrink. The red-headed prostitute Rosina; the junk-dealer Aaron Wassertrum; puppeteers; street musicians; and a deaf-mute silhouette artist.
Supposedly a manifestation of all the suffering of the ghetto, it comes to life every 33 years in a room without a door. When the jeweller Athanasius Pernath, suffering from broken dreams and amnesia, sees the Golem, he realises to his terror that the ghostly man of clay shares his own face.
The Golem, though rarely seen, is central to the novel as a representative of the ghetto’s own spirit and consciousness, brought to life by the suffering and misery that its inhabitants have endured over the centuries. Perhaps the most memorable figure in the story is the city of Prague itself, recognisable through its landmarks such as the Street of the Alchemists and the Castle. Paperbackpages. Published June 28th by Dedalus first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about The Golemplease sign up. See 1 question about The Golem…. Lists with This Book. Feb 04, Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it. I am thinking of an author of novels and short stories, a speaker and writer of German, who lived in a predominately Czech-speaking area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early years of the 20th Century.
His works are often set in the city of Prague, a setting he fills with menace and dark surrealism. He seems both attracted and repelled by Judaism, an ambiguity reflected in his themes of patriarchy and autonomy, authority and law, isolation and identity in an unjust and chaotic wo Question: He seems both attracted and repelled by Judaism, an ambiguity reflected in his themes of patriarchy and autonomy, authority and law, isolation and identity in an unjust and chaotic world.
Who is the writer I am thinking of? Franz Kafka, of course. Nice try, but I was thinking of Gustav Meyrink. In spite of these similarities, Kafka and Meyrink are very different.
Kafka’s biography reveals the Modernist pattern also seen in Eliot, Pessoa, Stevens: Meyrink’s biography, on the other hand, shows him to be less like a Modernist than like a flamboyant German Romantic of the early 19th century.
The bastard son of a Wurttemburg baron and a Viennese actress, he was indeed a bank worker–a bank mejrink, to be precise–but he was never drab or calculatingly anonymous: Perhaps this last was just too much for his staid middle-class investors: There he suffered both physical paralysis and financial ruin; he cured himself of the former through the postures of yoga and of the latter through the profession of writing.
With The Golem –a re-imagining of the old Jewish tale—Meyrink’s reputation became secure. Kafka’s ambiguity towards Judaism derived from fear of his father and a tentative connection to his own Jewish heritage. Meyrink, gilem the other hand, was not Jewish at all although some sources mistakenly assert his mother was. It was through his occult explorations that he became fascinated with Judaism: At the same time, he seems both attracted and repelled by the exotic squalor of Prague’s Jewish Quarter.
I detect a whiff of anti-semitism here, but I also sense that Meyrink sees the Jews as representative of humanity, illuminated by the divine spirit even though debased and enmired in a fallen world.
The Golem (Meyrink novel) – Wikipedia
It is meydink sense of spiritual potential in a shattered world that most dramatically distinguishes Meyrink. There is little of this theme in Kafka; his protagonists are modern men, vainly attempting to assert their improbable existence in the context of an absurd world. Gustaav Meyrink has much to say about the mystery of identity, his approach seems more gothic, more faux medieval.
The Golema dark fairy tale, may be filled with false identities, fragmented quests, and madness disguised as transformation or is it the other way round? The problem is that our world is in pieces: Meyrink reverenced the Kabbalah, and the narrative of The Golem seems to embody the myth of the Shevirat haKeilim: Until then, their shards, reflecting the Light, help to illuminate our darkened world. View all 22 comments. Doing so seems to lead to a high degree of delusion.
Well, an unreliable narration at the very least. I feel like everything the narrator says and does is questionable, and everything he says is doubtful. Obscure density is all we are left with.
At the end of the novel he appears to wake up from a dream, but, again, that in itself is highly doubtful. So how do we identify reality and the fantastic? Meyrink intertwines the two resulting in one massive headache of a novel. The narrator could be insane; this would explain the questionable nature of the events and the undertones of the macabre.
He could have just had one nightmarish dream and then decided to get on with his life. But what if it did happen? Simply put, we will never have our answers.
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The setting of the novel is like a haunted ghetto. The spirit of the citizens is bleak and morose. Perrath, our protagonist, is in a real dark place.
He has no control over the events in his life as he descends even further into this abyss of despair. He has no real sense of freedom or expression of individual will. In part, this can be seen as an allegory for the First World War. The people are subjugated and forced into unpleasant circumstances as the horror of death tears through Europe.
Certainly, there are parallels. But no reading is conclusive.
For me, the best aspect of this story is its dream like feel. Nothing fits it perfectly or defines it. P Lovecraft, the man who wrote some of the strangest short stories lr existence, golen it weird. It would have the same effect as Charlotte Bronte praising the work of a minor author for its feminist aspects.
It is, indeed, a very weird gustavv. It should be approached with caution. If you go into this expecting a linear framework you will be drastically disappointed. This one will haunt me for a while. While the story of The Golem alone deserves four stars as Gustav Meyrink’s masterpiece, the Tartarus Press edition, of which I happen to be a fortunate owner, pushes the book-as-artifact into the five star category.
This book is one of my most prized possessions, one golek the books I’ll reach for if the library ever catches fire. Everything about it screams “I defy you to find another book as cool as me”. From the outstanding internal artwork to the silk ribbon marker to the weight of the pages th While the story of The Golem alone deserves four stars as Gustav Meyrink’s masterpiece, the Tartarus Press edition, of which I happen to be a fortunate owner, pushes the book-as-artifact into the five star category.
From the outstanding internal artwork to the silk ribbon marker to the weight of the pages themselves, this is a book of quality workmanship through and through. If I could own all of my favorite books in a Tartarus hardcover edition such as this, I might do nothing but read the rest of my life, starving to death in an easy chair under the light of a reading lamp. As several reviewers have pointed out, The Golem is obtuse.
It is clearly not the story of meyeink golem as dramatized in the silent movies directed by Paul Wegener. This book is much less forthright in its horror, if it can be called horrific at all. I think gushav “unsettling” is a more accurate term. The heavy mysticism and symbolism Meyrink employs simultaneously draws in and distances the reader, making for an uneven read that sets up a disturbing cadence in the reader’s mind.
This can be aggravating at times, and absolutely captivating at others.
One always feels that there’s something just around the next bend, emotionally and intellectually speaking. I wonder if Meyrink didn’t intend the book to read this way. In this way, he is much like Kafka, but on a more ethereal plane, if you will. Where Kafka creates unease with a sharp dose of uncaring bureaucracy, Meyrink plays hide and seek with shadows that may gsutav interpreted as real demons or as the slow nightmare of a collective unconsciousness. It is because of this openness to interpretation that one reading is really insufficient to judge the work.
The Golemwhile not as hallucinatory as some think those who haven’t read it or hope those who were meyrikn for an early mryrink Gothic taleis also not as incomprehensible as some reviewers complain. It is not an easy read, but, like many difficult reads, it is rewarding to wander Prague’s streets in search of Meyrink’s elusive creature. View all 8 comments.
Paul Weneger diresse i primi tre film dedicati al Golem, interpretando personalmente la Meyrikn. Il Golem nasce cinque secoli fa nel cuore di Praga magica: Loew riesce ad animare e dar vita alla creatura di argilla attraverso formule magiche e gli incide sulla fronte il nome di dio.