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Book Title: Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer|
The author of the book: Ernst Weiss
ISBN 13: 9780980033038
Edition: Archipelago Books
Date of issue: March 1st 2010
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 16.11 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.1
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“Ernst Weiss is in fact one of the few writers who may justly be compared to Franz Kafka...The book belongs to the very most interesting that I have come across in years. . . . One is filled with impressions, excited and gripped by striking existent but unforgettably cast images, characters, and events. By the way: it is all very Austrian.”—Thomas Mann
“I wonder why Weiss isn’t better known here. A doctor as well as a writer, he knew about the body as well as the heart, and you can trust him when he describes how each can act on the other.”—Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer is a tragicomic and harrowing portrait of a morally defective mind. Written in a highly unreliable first person narrative, this unsung masterwork is an account of a crime and its aftermath: the scientist-hero (or scientist-villain) is tried, sentenced, and deported to a remote island where he is privileged to work as an epidemiologist. He seeks redemption in science, but in spite of himself he is a man of feeling. The book came out of the same fertile literary ground between the wars that produced The Man Without Qualities and The Sleepwalkers; like those modernist classics and the works of Ernst Weiss’ friend, Franz Kafka, Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer is a prescient depiction of a profoundly unsettled society.
Ernst Weiss (1882–1940), born in Brunn, Austria (now Brno, Czech Republic), spoke and wrote in German. He was a trained physician and surgeon and served as a ship’s doctor for many years. He met Kafka in Berlin in 1913, and was convinced to write full-time. Weiss, a Jew, committed suicide in Paris when the Nazis entered the city in 1940.
Joel Rotenberg translated Chess Story and The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
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Read information about the authorErnst Weiss was born in Brno, Moravia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now the Czech Republic) to the family of a prosperous Jewish cloth merchant. After his father died when he was four, he was brought up by his mother Berta, née Weinberg, who led him to art. However after completing his secondary education in Brno, Litoměřice and Hostinné, he came to Prague to study medicine. In 1908 he finished his studies in Vienna and became a surgeon. He practiced in Berne, Vienna, and Berlin but he got tuberculosis and tried to recover as a ship doctor on a trip to India and Japan in 1912. In 1913 he met Rahel Sanzara, a dancer and actress and their relationship lasted until she died of cancer in 1936. In the same year he met Franz Kafka and they became close friends. Kafka wrote in his Diaries 1914: "January 2. A lot of time well spent with Dr. Weiss". Weiss was in touch with a lot of other writers of Prague Circle such as Franz Werfel, Max Brod, and Johannes Urzidil. In 1914 Weiss returned to Austria to start a military physician career. Near the end of World War I he received a golden cross for bravery. After the war he lived in Prague, then the capital of Czechoslovakia. He gave up medical career in 1920 when he finished working in a Prague hospital. In 1921 he moved to Berlin but in 1933 he returned to Prague to care for his dying mother. He could not enter Nazi Germany and so he left for Paris in 1934. There he lived a poor life dependent on the help from authors such as Thomas Mann and Stefan Zweig. He applied for, but did not receive, a grant from the so-called American guild for German cultural freedom. He committed suicide on 14 June 1940 when German troops invaded the city.
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