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Oskar Panizza

His Life and Works


Peter D.G. Brown

This is the first book to critically examine the life and literature of Oskar Panizza (1853-1921), the most audacious and irreverent of the Munich «Moderns» associated with Michael Georg Conrad in the 1890's. Although this psychiatrist from Bad Kissingen wrote volumes of poetry, fiction and polemics, Panizza is best known for his play Das Liebeskonzil (1894). His scandalous «heavenly tragedy» depicts the origin of syphilis as the vengeance of an impotent, yet vindictive, God, His retribution for the sexual excesses practiced at the Vatican Court of Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI (1495). Panizza's subsequent sentence to one year in prison on 93 counts of blasphemy sparked a major public debate about religion, literary freedom and Wilhelminian censorship, in which Theodor Fontane, Detlev von Liliencron, Thoman Mann, Kurt Tucholsky and Frank Wedekind, among others, participated.
Contents: The Early Years (1853-1894) - Jailhouse, Madhouse (1895-1921) - Life is Hell: The Poetry of Pain - From Moon to Madness: Prose Fiction - Supernatural Dogs and Bitches: The Theater of Blasphemy - «Umsunst gelebt?»