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Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer

by

Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“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 and Hugo von Hofmannstahl’s The Lord Chandos Letter for the New York Review Books Classics series

Synopsis:

Mixing Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock with Dostoevsky, a chilling exploration of a deviant mind.

Synopsis:

First published in 1931 and now appearing for the first time in English, Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer is a disquieting anatomy of a deviant mind in the tradition of Crime and Punishment. Letham, the treacherously unreliable narrator, is a depraved bacteriologist whose murder of his wife is, characteristically, both instinctual and premeditated. Convicted and exiled, he attempts to atone for his crimes through science, conceiving of the book we are reading as an empirical report on himself—whose ultimate purpose may be to substitute for a conscience. Yet Letham can neither understand nor master himself. His crimes are crimes of passion, and his passions remain more or less untouched by his reason—in fact they are constantly intruding on his "report," rigorous as it is intended to be. Both feverish and chilling, Georg Letham explores the limits of reason and the tensions between objectivity and subjectivity. Moving from an unnamed Central European city to arctic ice floes to a tropical island prison, this layered novel—with its often grotesquely comic tone and arresting images—invites us into the darkest chambers of the human psyche.

Synopsis:

“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 isnt 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 ships 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

About the Author

Like Kafka, a friend of his, Ernst Weiss was a German-speaking Jew from Prague. He was a physician as well as a novelist. Joel Rotenberg has translated Stefan Zweig's "Chess Story" and Hugo von Hofmannsthal's "The Lord Chandos Letter," both for the New York Review of Books series.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780980033038
Author:
Weiss, Ernst
Publisher:
Archipelago Books
Translator:
Rotenberg, Joel
Author:
Rotenberg, Joel
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Deportation
Subject:
Epidemiologists.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;medicine
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
7.5 x 6 in 22.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Biographical
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Crime
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.25 In Stock
Product details 560 pages Archipelago Books - English 9780980033038 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Mixing Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock with Dostoevsky, a chilling exploration of a deviant mind.
"Synopsis" by , First published in 1931 and now appearing for the first time in English, Georg Letham: Physician and Murderer is a disquieting anatomy of a deviant mind in the tradition of Crime and Punishment. Letham, the treacherously unreliable narrator, is a depraved bacteriologist whose murder of his wife is, characteristically, both instinctual and premeditated. Convicted and exiled, he attempts to atone for his crimes through science, conceiving of the book we are reading as an empirical report on himself—whose ultimate purpose may be to substitute for a conscience. Yet Letham can neither understand nor master himself. His crimes are crimes of passion, and his passions remain more or less untouched by his reason—in fact they are constantly intruding on his "report," rigorous as it is intended to be. Both feverish and chilling, Georg Letham explores the limits of reason and the tensions between objectivity and subjectivity. Moving from an unnamed Central European city to arctic ice floes to a tropical island prison, this layered novel—with its often grotesquely comic tone and arresting images—invites us into the darkest chambers of the human psyche.
"Synopsis" by ,

“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 isnt 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 ships 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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