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I Need to Reread The Golem by Gustav Meyrink

March 21, 2011
"The appearance of the Golem," page ...

Image by Center for Jewish History, NYC via Flickr

I recently read The Golem by Gustav Meyrink and though I thoroughly enjoyed the story,  I had so many questions at the end of the book that I need to re-read it.  So my plan is to read this novel one more time and see if I become more enlightened or at least see if some of my questions are answered.

The book itself is filled with German mysticism and the lead character was in an asylum and then lost his memory and the narrator is a dreamer who is dreaming himself as the lead character.  Oh the questions this book aroused on the first reading were endless.

What I am looking for on this second reading is the foreshadowing of other events, connections between characters, and to get a better understanding of the ending.

Here is a little bit on The Golem from a draft I wrote about it, which I will revise on the second reading.

The Golem by Gustav Meyrink is considered one of the most famous supernatural novels in modern European literature.  Gustav Meyrink was an Austrian-German satirist and occult novelist and The Golem was first published in 1915.  The novel is set in Prague in the 1890s.

The setting has a hazy and dreamlike quality to it.  The narration is first person, but through an anonymous dreamer, who is experiencing the events.  The Golem works on many levels.

The plot has many intricate layers: first there is mysticism or the occult, then lunacy, then murder, and finally the damsel in distress.  Meyrink weaves the plots around one another in an uncanny way.  The story follows Athanasius Pernath a gem cutter and restorer of antiques who has no recollection of his past.  The Golem is first encountered by Pernath when it brings him a book that needs to be restored.  The Golem is the first of many aspects of mysticism and the occult that this book discusses.  Pernath’s encounter shakes him and he goes to his friends who tell him about the Golem.

“Using long-lost formulas from the Kabbala, a rabbi is said to have made an artificial man — the so-called Golem — to help ring the bells in the Synagogue and for all kinds of other menial work.  But he hadn’t made a full man, and it was animated by a sort of vegetable half-life.  What life it had, too, so the story runs, was derived from a magic charm placed behind its teeth each day, that drew down to tiself what was known as the ‘free didreal strength of the universe.”

It is a work that will require a second reading, but was worthy of its first reading.  It is a piece of literature that should be read and pondered over, as it leaves so many questions.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2011 7:35 am

    Awesome musing. A book like that for me, that gave me so many questions and none were answered, when I was younger was One Man’s Bible. I stopped reading it because it was getting to confusing and nothing I wanted to know was getting answered. I still have it on my book shelf ready to pick up again, but I just haven’t tried for a long while.

  2. March 23, 2011 5:41 pm

    That’s funny! I heard a paper about the figure of the golem and its revival in literature when I was at the conference in Madrid.

  3. rufles permalink
    May 2, 2011 3:59 pm

    solo quiero saber de que trata este interesante libro

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  1. Thoughts After A Second Reading of The Golem by Gustav Meyrink « Dragonflyy419 Attempts to Combat Boredom

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