Vivo

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Overview

The illegitimate son of an aristocratic politician and an actress, Meyrink set up as a banker in Prague. At the same time achieving notoriety as a dandy and rake while also being a successful sportsman, winning prizes at rowing regattas; about to commit suicide, he chanced on a pamphlet about life after death, put his revolver away and started a lifelong interest in the occult. He unmasked false mediums and experimented with alchemy, drugs and clairvoyancy until an 'affair of honour' led him to challenge the ...
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Vivo:The Life of Gustav Meyrink

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Overview

The illegitimate son of an aristocratic politician and an actress, Meyrink set up as a banker in Prague. At the same time achieving notoriety as a dandy and rake while also being a successful sportsman, winning prizes at rowing regattas; about to commit suicide, he chanced on a pamphlet about life after death, put his revolver away and started a lifelong interest in the occult. He unmasked false mediums and experimented with alchemy, drugs and clairvoyancy until an 'affair of honour' led him to challenge the whole of the Prague officer corps, setting machinations in motion which resulted in his being wrongly imprisoned; his bank collapsed and he became a writer.
Stories collected round him, so that it is often difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Vivo: The Life of Gustav Meyrink presents the reader with both the remarkable life and the fantastic legend that was Meyrink, allowing him and those who knew him to speak in their own words wherever possible.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Mitchell, a prolific literary translator, looks at the enigmatic Gustav Meyrink (whose novels he's translated) in this vibrant biographical debut. Meyrink, a Prague native, was prominent in the late 1800s through the early 1900s, oddly enough, as a banker, mystic and satirist (best known for The Golem). Mitchell scrutinizes the man's odd life and infatuations, especially with the occult, which seems to be at the center of his first marriage's failure. Meyrink is revealed as an eccentric and sensitive individual, taking much of the material for his satire from his own troubling experience with the law, the military and the petit bourgeoisie. In this thorough biography, no angle of Meyrinks' life is left unexamined: his drug use, multiple marriages, and stint in prison (wrongly incarcerated) are discussed in depth. Mitchell's biography is both fascinating, extensive and a bit speculative; Mitchell confesses up front to "a dearth of documentary evidence" and a comparative "wealth of anecdote... much of it published after his death, and much of it recounting fantastic events." Still, Mitchell excels at his concise organization and his ability to effectively portray Meyrink through both facts ("as far as they are ascertainable") and "as he appeared to his contemporaries, especially the younger ones." This examination of a dark, begrudging and sensational individual makes a for a supremely entertaining biography. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781903517697
  • Publisher: Dedalus, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/20/2008
  • Pages: 196
  • Sales rank: 1,070,980
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

For many years an academic with a special interest in Austrian literature and culture, Mike Mitchell has been a freelance literary translator since 1995. He is one of Dedalus's editorial directors and is responsible for the Dedalus translation programme. He has published over fifty translations from German and French, including Gustav
Meyrink's five novels and The Dedalus Book of Austrian Fantasy. His translation of Rosendorfer's Letters Back to Ancient China won the 1998
Schlegel-Tieck Translation Prize and he had been shortlisted for the Oxford Weidenfeld Prize on two occasions.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Moone

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

    Fossil Fighters Equestria: Prologue

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