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The Green Face (Decadence from Dedalus) Paperback – 15 Sep 1992

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Dedalus Ltd (15 Sept. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946626928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946626922
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Gustav Meyrink (I868-1932) found worldwide critical and commercial acclaim with his first novel The Golem (I9I5), which prior to the Dedalus Meyrink programme has been the only work available in English. It established his reputation as the master of the occult and the grotesque.(He was the German translator of Dickens). His reputation declined in his last years but his work is now being reassessed in Germany & Austria, and he is now considered as one of the most important German language novelists of the 20th century . Dedalus is part of the European-wide movement championing Meyrink's work. A new translation of The Golem was published by Dedalus in 1995, and the first English translations of The Green Face; Walpurgisnacht, The Angel of the West Window, The White Dominican, The Opal (and other stories), were published by Dedalus during 1991-94 making all of Meyrink's major work available in English. In 2008 Dedalus published the first English language biography of Gustav Meyrink, Vivo: The Life of Gustav Meyrink by Mike Michell. In 2010 Dedalus will publish a further collection of Meyrink's short stories.

POUSSIN ET MOISE 2

Mike Mitchell is a well-regarded translator from German with a special interest in Austrian literature. He previously taught German at Stirling University. His translations for Dedalus include five novels by Gustav Meyrink, among others. His translation of Herbert Rosendorfer's Letters Back to Ancient China won the Shlegal-Tieck German Translation Prize. He lives in Scotland.


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Format: Paperback
Gustav Meyrink's "The Green Face" is an exhilarating vision of apocalypse. First published in 1916, the novel sets its action in the near future of post-war Amsterdam, a city brimming with displaced people and with a stifling atmosphere of unrelenting tension. At this critical time appears an enigmatic being named Chidher Green, the mythical Wandering Jew.

Meyrink reworks and amplifies the legend of the Wandering Jew (a being fated to walk the earth from the days of Christ till the end of time), portraying his Chidher Green as a harbinger of cataclysmic change both for the novel's protagonist, Fortunatus Hauberrisser, and for Amsterdam in general. The story begins with Hauberrisser encountering Chidher Green in a magic shop one day, oblivious to his identity. Soon after, Hauberrisser finds a peculiar chain of old memories and chance encounters erupting around him. As in a house of mirrors, this one image of a bronze-green face suddenly appears around every corner. The face becomes a sort of totem of meditative contemplation (drawing associations with Zen Buddhism). Finally, Hauberrisser and his companions reach a consensus over the phenomenon's significance: If one were to attain a spiritual state in which this face manifested internally, a unique form of transcendence would then be achieved.

When all is said and done, Fortunatus Hauberrisser does not prove to be one of Meyrink's most memorable characters. However, it is also true that his protagonists are often intended as ciphers. If this novel is Meyrink's "Book of Revelation," then Hauberrisser is certainly his Saint John, valuable largely for his role as privileged witness to the spirit world's mysteries.
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This is the longest literary philosophical work of fiction I've read - where the Golem was 70% story, this Meyrink's second novel of 1916 is only 20% story; the rest is amazing thought provoking stuff from the author's insightful mind. The story is almost miniscule, I give nothing away by saying it's as follows: Hauberisser visits a strange shop in early 1900s Amsterdam and discovers Chider Green - a mythical representation of God/'The Wandering Jew' and the fearsome Zulu warrior. He then meets a group of radical thinkers and falls in love with Eva. She is abducted and Hauderisser tries to find her. There are other characters of course; Hauderisser is a little weak being buffetted rather than driving events.

Meyrink was known as a clever, educated thinker drawing on his resources in eastern religions, the paranormal, Christianity etc. This book contains many ideas and thoughts which you'd find in any religious text. I preferred Golem because the story was better but The Green Face is deeper and probably worth a second reading.

Here are some quotes of many:
`Then, as the meadows darkened and the silvery mist rose from the ground so that the cattle seemed to be wreathed in smoke, he began to feel as if his skull were a prison cell and he himself were sitting in it looking out through his eyes on a free world for the last time'

`For a few centuries a diseased organism, so huge it eventually came to resemble a temple soaring up into the heavens, had been taken for culture; now it had collapsed laying bare the decay within'

`Nowadays everyone thinks they can organise; that's shows how wrong it must be...
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After having read the original in German, I bought this for my daughter, and I can only recommend it, as the translation is excellent.
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