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Bewildering Stories

Gustav Meyrink

Bewildering Stories biography

Gustav Meyrink was the pen name of Gustav Meyer, who was born in Vienna when it was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and died in Stamberg, Bavaria. He was described by M. Frenschkowski in 2005 in Supernatural Literature of the World: An Encyclopedia (Westport CT., Greenwood Press) as “the most respected German language writer in the field of supernatural fiction.”

In 1883, his mother relocated from Vienna to Prague,i and he moved with her. The twenty years he then spent in Prague were to see him first setting up as a banker and then, after being charged with fraud in 1902, he spent two months in prison, and this time was described in probably his most famous novel, set in Prague, The Golem (1913-14).

Apart from becoming a successful writer, he was also a prolific translator into German of such writers as Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling and Lafcadio Hearn. He translated the latter’s Japanese ghost stories as Japanische Geistergeschichten.

The story Der Opal (The Opal) appears in a collection of his tales featuring 24 of them, Die heimtückische Champignons und andere Geschichten (The Poisonous Mushrooms and Other Stories). (The usual meaning of ‘heimtückisch’ in German is ‘malicious’, but I have taken it in this context to mean ‘poisonous’.)

Copyright © 2020 by Michael Wooff

Bewildering Stories bibliography

Prose Fiction
The Opal

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