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Finding the man in the golem: Perfection through the word in Gustav Meyrink’s “The Golem”

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  1. Introduction.
    1. The Golem according to legend.
  2. The narrators waking up as the Pernath.
    1. The Ibbur.
    2. Pernath's own personality - parallel to that of the Golem.
    3. Meyrink's use of 'verbal language' early in The Golem.
    4. Pernath's spiritual refinment.
  3. Conclusion.

The Golem, according to legend, is a man-made creature, constructed out of wax, inanimate until a written Cabalistic scripture is placed in its mouth. Without the written word, the physical form of the Golem remains a mix of primal elements; without the clay to inspire, the written prayer remains a written prayer?equally powerless. Gustav Meyrink's Golem also depends on this mix of the natural and the supernatural. The novel follows an unnamed narrator, who wakes up one morning as the gemcutter Pernath. Pernath in turn becomes, through a series of supernatural events, the legendary Golem, a monster said to haunt the Prague ghetto every thirty-three years. . If the Golem is simply a body without soul, and if in turn Pernath is that Golem, in order to become whole, the Golem must find a way to unite both the soul and the body. For Meyrink, the act of writing is in itself supernatural?as Pernath follows Meyrink's story, he becomes a more mystical creature.

[...] seemed to have been clumsily painted in water-color by the hand of a child; and represented the Hebrew letter Aleph, in the form of a man dressed in Frankish fashion, his grey peaked beard cut short, his left arm raised on high, while the other pointed downwards.? (Golem, p. 66). Pernath's appearance has been described by his friends as that of an old-fashioned French aristocrat, with his slender figure and pointed beard.? (Golem, p. so it is clear immediately that Pernath has already begun to morph into a written image. [...]


[...] Pernath is now more than simply a Hanging Man, a creature without body that exists in cards and alphabets; he is more than the Golem, a lump of flesh, mute and without speech. He has been perfected through the conflict of the written and the spoken word. He has become his own man. Bibliography Meyrink, Gustav. The Golem. Dover Publications, Inc.; Mineola: 1986 Leeper, Mark R. Golem in Literature, Film, and Stage.? 2002. http://www.geocities.com/markleeper/golem.htm Schoolfield, George C. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 81: Austrian Fiction Writers, 1875-1913. [...]


[...] The written word infiltrates Pernath's mind becomes a physical voice: had read the book now through to its end, and still held it there in my hands, as though all this time I had been fumbling in my own brain, and not inside a book at (Golem, p. 12) The Ibbur is the book that begins Pernath's process of perfection through trial and conflict. It is, in a way, the first Golem Pernath will encounter?it is both a written text, and a voice, capable of both clarity and confusion. [...]

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