Gustav Meyrink

  • Born: (Vienna, Austria-Hungary)
  • Died: (Starnberg, Bavaria, Germany)

Gustav Meyrink was the pseudonym of Gustav Meyer, an Austrian author, novelist, dramatist, translator, and banker, most famous for his novel Der Golem ("The Golem"). He has been described as the "most respected German language writer in the field of supernatural fiction".

In 1915 the first and most famous of Meyrink's novels, The Golem, was published, though its drafts may be traced back to 1908. The novel is based on the Jewish legend about a Rabbi who made a living being known as a golem (גולם) out of clay and animated it with a Kabbalistic spell. The novel was a great commercial success. In 1916 one more compilation of short stories, Bats, and soon a second novel, The Green Face, was published. The next year his third novel, Walpurgis Night, was written.

Meyrink was opposed to World War One, which caused him to be denounced by German nationalists; the German "Völkisch" journalist Albert Zimmermann described Meyrink as "one of the cleverest and most dangerous opponents of the German nationalist ideal. By 1920 Meyrink's financial affairs improved so that he bought a villa in Starnberg. The villa became known as "The House at the Last Lantern" after the name of the house from The Golem. There he and his family lived for the next eight years and two more works – The White Dominican and Meyrink's longest novel The Angel of the West Window – were written.


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