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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

The Creator

by
Mynona


general information | our review | links | about the author

To purchase The Creator



Title: The Creator
Author: Mynona
Genre: Novel
Written: 1920 (Eng. 2014)
Length: 157 pages
Original in: German
Availability: The Creator - US
The Creator - UK
The Creator - Canada
in Der Schöpfer - Deutschland
  • A Fantasy
  • German title: Der Schöpfer
  • Also includes the story The Wearisome Wedding Night
  • Translated and with an Introduction by Peter Wortsman
  • With Illustrations by Alfred Kubin
  • Afterword by Detlef Thiel

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Our Assessment:

B+ : appealing Faustian-philosophical tales

See our review for fuller assessment.




The complete review's Review:

       The Creator is narrated by Gumprecht Weiss, a man in his forties of solitary existence who devotes himself to reading and writing -- but only: "for their own sake, publishing nothing". He's forsaken most human contact, and his landlady worries that: "the lack of a feminine element in a man's life surely takes it toll". He's also rather a night-owl, mentally and physically ambling late through night.
       The story opens with an unsettling, lucid night-vision he has -- a feminine element that seems all too real, but which Weiss realizes must have a been a dream. Weiss is a man of vivid imagination, and claims to sometimes be cognizant of the fact that he is in a dream when he is dreaming, and he is fascinated by this world at: "the border between sleep and wakefulness".
       Mynona studied and wrote extensively on philosophy (including an unlikely 'Kant for Kids'-book), and The Creator is a philosophical-speculative novel, as his narrator explores subjective and objective worlds and the roles we can play in them. Yet it is also about the creative act of writing: as a writer -- a fundamental sort of creator -- here, Weiss (like Mynona) should be in complete control of his creation -- and yet Weiss argues:

     The more inspired a writer, the more independent are his creations of his will. This is a paradox. It is precisely the true creator who creates truly objectively
       Of course the danger is that things can get out of hand with all that independence, and you don't know where your characters/creations will take you .....
       On one of his nightly expeditions Weiss again encounters the vision from his dream. It is a girl named Elvira, who doesn't seem at all surprised to see him, and who brings him back to that: "juncture, the bridge, the tunnel between the two countervailing realms" -- objective and subjective, waking and dreaming, realities.
       There's more to Elvira -- or rather, there's someone behind her: Baron von Böckel -- "part hypnotist, part cabalist, a proponent of magnetism, and theosophist, little bit of everything". He's also a man experimenting with reality and its borderworlds, with rather a different way of seeing things, and he brings Weiss into his wild little (almost alternate-)world -- both then getting rather more than they bargained for.
       The Baron offers a neat demonstration of philosophical theory in practice -- feasible in fiction in a way it isn't otherwise -- and Mynona nicely shows:
The world is nothing but the mirror of our own subjectivity.
       Such philosophy has its consequences, however -- most notably in endowing each of us, if we can harness our own subjectivity, with the power of all-mighty creator, able to shape and control the world entirely as we wish (like the writer who can do with his characters as he wishes) -- or so we'd like to think. In a story that has already repeatedly echoed (and quoted) Goethe's Faust it comes as no surprise that Weiss gets in rather over his head and that matters get taken to extremes. Philosophy made very, very real: it's cleverly done, and quite entertaining.
       A short grotesque, The Wearisome Wedding Night, is also included in this volume. Here too philosophy is made real, in a different sort of meeting of minds (or rather, a bit more than minds), in nicely grotesque fashion.
       Peter Wortsman's Introduction and Detlef Thiel's Afterword helpfully introduce the long-forgotten "Mynona' (Salomo Friedlaender) and offer some useful background for the texts. The original illustrations are also included -- they're by Alfred Kubin, which is exactly right for the story and for the period.
       A neat little rediscovery.

- M.A.Orthofer, 11 November 2014

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Links:

The Creator: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       German author Salomo Friedlaender (1871-1946) wrote under the pseudonym 'Mynona' (the German for 'anonymous', written backwards).

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© 2014 the complete review

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