Excerpts from Einar Schleef’s "Droge Faust Parsifal" (Drugs Faust Parsifal)

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Greg Hohman


Arguably the most important books by Einar Schleef (1944-2001) are his novel Gertrud, a monologue narrated by his fictionalized mother, his diaries, and the work excerpted here, Droge Faust Parsifal (Drugs Faust Parsifal, 1997). Schleef also wrote plays and short stories, and was a theater director, set and costume designer, actor, illustrator, painter, and photographer. His work deserves a wide readership, yet only a story and a play have been translated into English (Buchner 1982, 130-138; Vivis 1987). Drugs Faust Parsifal’s 500 pages are autobiography, theater history, dramaturgy and cultural essay in one. It won the City of Bremen Literature Prize in 1998 and was adapted for the stage in 2011 by Armin Petras. The selected passages from Drugs, which are somewhat anomalous in a book mainly about dramaturgy, concern Schleef’s personal struggles; they have historical relevance and show his linguistic dexterity, articulated in his “suffering language, a language for suffering” (Windrich 2009, 481). Both as child and adult, he is an observer of a postwar society divided against itself.

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Greg Hohman

Greg Hohman is a writer living in Chula Vista, California. His current projects are a novel To copy as in the old days, an homage to Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet and the American shopping mall, and the online multimedia New Monuments Golf Club (newmonumentsgc.com), a 2017 iteration of which was a finalist in the Opening Up Digital Fiction Competition (Arts and Humanities Research Council, U.K.). His theater work includes Legal Noise (Victory Theater, San Diego CA, 2012) and Play in the Dark (Muse Theater, San Diego CA, 2003). In 2006, he was a Djerassi Resident Artists Program honorary fellow.