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“RADIANTLY SPLATTERED”

MELCHIOR VISCHER’S SECOND THROUGH BRAIN

“The first Dada novel,” translated by David Vichnar & Tim König. ISBN 978-0-9931955-1-8. Paperback. 220pp. Publication date: November 2015. Equus Press: London. Price: € 8.00 (not including postage). Order from Amazon: US / UK

Only randomly does one peek into life. Perhaps my life was just a life lived in-between experiencing. Perhaps I haven’t lived a life at all, perhaps it was a life of another, or that which no-one’s ever lived.

 

PART ONE

He was only twenty-seven when he wrote this postscript to his third and most autobiographical novel, Der Hase – a strangely prophetic/proleptic formula that the eighty-odd years his own life eventually amounted to were supposed to exemplify. Not that he could’ve had any reason to suspect at this stage the future downward spiral into anonymity and non-existence those years would indeed become. For in 1922, Melchior Vischer was gaining acclaim as the pioneering representative of the dada movement in Prague, which was to materialise a year later in the honourable mention from the committee of the highly prestigious Kleist Prize. His early publications had received excellent reviews, and his fame as a writer was further enhanced by his reputation as a newspaperman and essayist, being an early champion of Franz Kafka, Franz Werfel, and Robert Musil, with each of whom he maintained contact. Although only slightly younger than these more famous Prague-German authors, Vischer was to outlive them all by more than three decades, the only one to survive the Second World War. But longevity came at a price: his death in Berlin, in 1975, concluded decades of obscurity; an obscurity as complete as it was mysterious – the product, variously, of a failed artistic vision and what in the end was his highly elusive, taciturn personality. Vischer’s obscurity became so complete, in fact, that when a year after his death his juvenilia of the early 1920s was being reprinted for the very first time, the publisher was unable to trace the copyright holders.

 

“A LIFE OF ANOTHER”: EMIL FISCHER & MELCHIOR VISCHER

Born Emil Walter Kurt Fischer, Melchior Vischer (1895-1975)[1] – as he came to be known – was the son of an apothecary in Teplice, a spa town in the Sudeten region of North-West Bohemia; the venue, in 1812, of the only recorded meeting between Goethe and Beethoven. He was just old enough to complete his secondary education at a Prague grammar school before the outbreak of World War I – into which he was promptly enrolled, serving as a lieutenant in a Hungarian infantry regiment stationed in Galicia. His wartime experiences would later be worked into his novel Der Hase.

The end of the First World War found Vischer in Prague, recovering from a neck-injury received on the front. After recuperating he enrolled in courses in German literature, art history, philosophy and mathematics at Charles University and took a position at the newly formed Prager Presse as a theatre-critic. It was in this post that he met the actress Eva Segaljewitsch, of a Jewish origin, whom he soon married. And it was also during this period that Vischer made his notable debut on the international literary scene, with the publication, in 1920, of Sekunde durch Hirn (Second through Brain), promoted as the first “Dada novel” (“insofar,” as Vischer himself wrote in a letter from January of that year, “as one can still use the silly word ‘novel’ at all”[2]).

From his mid- to late-twenties, Vischer’s star continued to rise, publishing a further three novels and a variety of novellas and short stories,[3] all of which garnered high praise within Prague German literary circles. The critics Johannes Urzidil and Ernst Weiß described Vischer’s Second through Brain as the literary equivalent of a Cézanne’s canvass – an exploration of spatial form by the temporal means of narrative. Here is the Brno-born Ernst Weiß, reviewing Second for Das Tage-Buch:

In every line of this extraordinary work there’s the effortless gift of grace: poetry […]. A second through brain, a dream-second through the brain of a man deliriously falling, the metamorphoses of Venus, the thousand faces of the earth spirit, heads and their contraries experienced at a thousand-mile tempo, sucked away by an overpowering drive for being […]. Dada is a form, Dada itself is a form for a poet.[4]

Reviews such as this one made it seem Melchior Vischer had well and truly arrived.

 

UNTERGANG DES ABENDLANDES

In 1923, at the apogee of his literary career, Vischer abandoned his post at the Prager Presse and departed from the city to spend four years fruitlessly wandering through Germany in pursuit of a career in the theatre. From August 1925 to July 1927, Vischer was theatre director in Baden-Baden, also taking over the theatre’s bulletin. But his attempts at reforming the theatre[5] weren’t embraced with quite as much enthusiasm as his application for a secondment to a more progressive Frankfurt theatre house. That appointment turned out even shorter, and still in 1927, Vischer finally settled in Berlin, seeking to establish himself in the German capital as a playwright – a decision he came to regret more than once. As he states in a 1929 letter to Munich-based art patron Frigga von Brockdorf Noda,

I used to be one of the first and highest-rated directors in South Germany (my last appointment being the “Schauspielhaus” in Frankfurt am Main), but two years ago I dumbly let myself be lured to Bln. [Berlin] and have been unable to gain a foothold anywhere since I stand apart from the local clique. And once you find yourself outside of the province, it’s exceedingly hard to go back ever again. […] But maybe I’ll get a lucky break soon. Indeed, these past two years I’ve been a losing streak.[6]

Did Vischer refer to Prague by “the province” and was he by this stage becoming resentful of his “provincial,” Czech/Sudeten-German origins? Serke seems to think so, typecasting the Vischer of the 1920s already as “a case in point of a writer plucked out of the Czech context so as to fit the frame of the German culture.”[7] Maybe, but in Vischer’s case, the “plucking-out” seems to have been largely self-determined.

In any case, the future seems to have held few more lucky breaks for Vischer. By the early 1930s, unable to make ends meet penning theatre reviews on the side, Vischer turned his hand to writing popular sensational novels, which he penned in tandem with his wife Eva. For some, this is where the story of Melchior Vischer ends, the rest being at best an embarrassed silence. This, for instance, is the very blurry picture painted by Siegfried Hauf, editor of the 1984 reprint of Vischer’s plays:

What prompted Melchior Vischer to move to Berlin and to live off entertainment novels co-written with his wife, remains unknown. From a letter to Anton Schnack, one can deduce he’s really well off, for he wants to pub-crawl with ASCH, as he calls him, “through the local food- and wine-bars (here in Berlin I know some posh places) […]. For the horn-brims from the art circles are only interested in their literary hogwash, the real stuff they pass by, and so not even once do they get a proper shag.” Vischer’s theatre runway reached its end. How he spent the next years can only be gleaned from biblio- and biography.[8]

Biblio- and biography agree on one point: that the name Melchior Vischer didn’t survive the 30s, for in 1940 and 1942, he reinvented himself yet again as a children’s author, publishing two “Indian” adventure books under the name Emil Fischer.

This reversion to his birth name (itself often taken for a pseudonym: his name, just as his life, having meanwhile become that “of another”) signalled a turning point in Vischer’s already chequered career, and accounts of the succeeding years vary significantly depending upon the source. As with everything, these years were overshadowed by Hitler’s war in Europe, but if one’s to believe Hartmut Geerken, editor of the 1976 reprint of Vischer’s juvenilia, there was an especial poignancy in the coincidence of Nazi Germany’s rise and impending downfall with that of Vischer the writer, whose ambitions now tended towards the historical:

The beginning of a Thousand-Year Reich and the exhaustion of Vischer’s creative accomplishments seem to overlap in time. Vischer was to become a writer of histories. Two voluminous historical biographies, on Burkhard Münnich (1938) and Jan Hus (1940), carry him, together with a few youth books, through the Third Reich.[9]

The story, if one accepts the account of Peter Engel (author of the Vischer entry in Prager Profile), becomes nothing short of tragic: 1940, the year of the establishment of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, saw the publication of Vischer’s two-volume biography of the Czech religious reformist and martyr Jan Hus, under the title Jan Hus. Sein Leben und seine Zeit (Jan Hus: His Life and Time, 1940); yet in 1941, asserts Engel, the National-Socialist administration “officially bans and pulps this book,” insisting on changes to it which Vischer apparently refuses to make.[10] Following the death from cancer three years later of his wife (whom, writes Engel, he had refused to divorce despite her being a Jew), Vischer soon re-married – a certain Margot Jorcyk, 20 years his junior but already with three children of her own, who bore him his only child, daughter Jana, in 1947.

Serke, aided by the daughter’s eye-witness accounts, provides an overview of the post-war years: The second marriage having quickly fallen apart, Vischer’s poverty reached hitherto unparalleled proportions, and he found himself, more than once, reduced to begging. Seeking to re-establish himself as writer, his major attempt at emerging from his self-imposed literary exile took place in 1951, in another rather bizarre episode of his sinuous life. When Johannes Becher, friend from the long-gone Expressionist days, now become the culture minister of East Germany, offered a reprint of his Jan Hus biography, Vischer didn’t hesitate to move from West Berlin to East Berlin to find out how far this particular rabbit-hole would take him. Nothing, however, came of the promise, since the communists—in Vischer’s account—demanded changes to the text identical to those apparently required by the Nazis during WW2 (and which Vischer claimed to have resisted). As a result, Vischer was back in West Berlin within six months. According to Serke’s account, this episode put paid to whatever hopes there still were for a literary career, “not only for the East, but also for the West – literary history in both parts of Germany simply shut the modernist trailblazer.”[11] Just how desperate Vischer’s situation had become was made clear in 1955, when a Frankfurt-based publisher was persuaded to offer him a reprint of the Hus biography but only with a humiliating “redaction” amounting to half of the original 814-page two-volume now condensed into a single volume of 415 pages. This, to Serke’s mind, marked the “definitive destruction of this writer, long vanished from the public consciousness.”[12]

It was at this point, three decades after abandoning Prague, that Vischer suddenly began remembering his long-gone friends from the 20s and turned to them for help. Only one of them—Urzidil, now an émigré in New York—responded to Vischer’s desperate pleas, sending Vischer some sort of allowance, this despite Vischer’s status of “a man mistrusted by many émigrés for having stayed in Nazi Germany.”[13] As the enormity of the error in forsaking and disavowing his Prague/Sudeten heritage started to dawn on him, Vischer wrote to Urzidil: “Only now have I understood: Prague is not Berlin; Berlin is exile!”[14] This again must be read in the context of their shared Prague past and Vischer’s attempt at possibly capitalising thereon. But Urzidil’s support only went so far, and didn’t last long. Once again facing poverty, and reminiscent of previous reincarnations, Vischer refashioned himself again and turned to producing a body of religious poetry – in Engel’s generous estimation, of “no match for his early output.”[15] Having thereby completed a metamorphosis from literary revolutionary to anonymous hack, after more than two decades living off social security benefit, Emil Fischer/Melchior Vischer died on 21 April 1975, in a suburb of West Berlin.

It would be easy to let the story lie there, strange and often incomprehensible as it is. Both Engel and Geerken leave it at that, avoiding the obvious gaps, blanks and contradictions entailed in Vischer’s sinuous life. Serke’s story—in several places explicitly critical of both—does at least voice the incongruities, but his explanations amount in turn to little more than an attempt to frame an historical alibi:

Whoever held writing high in the 1920s had no idea why this Melchior Vischer was suddenly writing simple entertainment novels. Whoever recalled his avant-gardist literary beginnings had no idea why he stayed in the Third Reich. Whoever observed Vischer from exile saw in him the conformist who’d escaped the Nazi publication ban only by betraying his writing. Whoever was a Third Reich Nazi had no idea why the National-Socialist elite would permit Melchior Vischer’s openly pro-Czech sentiments. And after WWII? To some extent, Germany itself turned into a dada artwork. What Hans Arp, Hugo Ball, Raoul Hausmann, Richard Huelsenbeck, Tristan Tzara, Kurt Vischer and Melchior Vischer wanted to point out, early on in the century, with their destruction of aesthetic forms, became reality. The literary prophecy of the destructive character of the bourgeois society was fulfilled.[16]  

 

MELCHIOR VISCHER/EMIL FISCHER No. 2948559

History is easily the first suspect to blame for much of the absurdist undercurrent in this story, but passing the buck to it would just be so much sentimental whitewash, as Christian Jäger’s recent and highly detailed Minoritäre Literatur demonstrates. Rereading Vischer’s biographies from 1938 and 1940, alongside a trove of archival material (made available at the Berlin Bundesarchiv only after the re-unification of Germany), Jäger arrives at a very different story.

It begins on 1 May 1933, when Vischer applies to become “a member of NSDAP” (the Nazi Party) and is subsequently registered at “the Starnberg party office under member number 2948559.”[17] This decision, Jäger shows, is no temporary lapse of reason or merely self-protective measure, for in his relationship with Nazism, Vischer’s quite proactive. In the autumn of the previous year, Vischer had written a letter to Hans Hinkel, ex-member of the German Reichstag, in which he expressed a desire “to participate in the reconstruction [of the Prussian theatre-stage], for since 1928 the idea of National Socialism has been near and dear to me.”[18] Coincidentally, still in autumn 1932, Jäger finds a certain Heinrich Riedel busy serialising, in twenty-four instalments published in the Hamburger Nachrichten and later as a book, a work entitled Sudeten-German Tragedy (Sudetendeutsche Tragödie) – essentially a vitriolic satirical attack on the (entirely fictitious, yet presented as historical) iniquities perpetrated by Czechs upon ethnic German settlers in the Sudetenland. By today’s standards, the text of Sudeten-German Tragedy (which Jäger quotes at length by way of demonstration) fits all the legal classifications of the crime of hate speech, purposefully inciting hatred between ethnic groups. The point of all this being that, beneath the name “Heinrich Riedel” on the book’s copyright page, is printed “Copyright Melchior Vischer, Starnberg 1932” – and there’s no doubt whatsoever in Jäger’s mind (for why would there be?) that “the text’s copyright holder is at the same time its author.”[19]

 

FROM MÜNNICH TO MUNICH, VON HUß MIT HAß

Jäger’s judicious rereading of Vischer’s “own” literary output shows that the ugly work of “Riedel’s” Tragedy is continued in the two major biographies Vischer published in the late 1930s. In autumn 1938, Vischer published a monumental biography of Burkhard Christoph von Münnich, the 18th-century field marshal and military reformer who served Tsarina Anna of Russian, under the title Münnich. Ingenieur / Feldherr / Hochverräter (Münnich: Engineer / Commander / High Traitor).

Vischer’s biography hinges on a “case study” of the clash between German militarism (exemplified by Münnich) and Russian “backwardness,” “cowardice,” and downright “insanity,” ultimately depicting “military putsch and military dictatorship as ethical commands” and “the soldierly Führer-state as the last hope.”[20] The entire work effectively serves to vindicate the expansive war politics of Drang nach Osten even before it actually came into practice. Little wonder, then, that the Office for Literature Services, through a statement made by the Cultural-Political Archive of the Reich’s Culture Ministry, found the manuscript “of very good quality and recommendable.”[21] Shortly after the publication of the Münnich biography, the October 1938 annexation of the Sudetenland thus came not only “as the fulfilment of the goal wished for and written out in 1932,”[22] but as further incentive for Vischer’s project of skewed historiography.

His second biography, on the “life and time” of Jan Hus, again turns out (in Jäger’s extensive quotation and historical contextualisation) to be yet another piece of rabid Czechophobic propaganda. The fact that Jan Hus was born during the rule of Charles IV, who also happened to be the Holy Roman Emperor (thus ruling over parts of Germany as well), appears to have been license enough for Vischer to turn him into a “Sudeten German […] who carries out the genetic programme of his bloodline.”[23] Hus, who only wrote in Latin and/or Czech (a language Vischer himself never had any decent command of) and on some highly learned and abstract subjects, is de-intellectualised and “Germanised” into an anarchic, folkloric instigator of popular uprisings, very much in the vein of the later Thomas Münzer.

The worst about Vischer’s biography is not that it’s factually distorted and propagandistic, but that it caricatures the unlawfully persecuted saint (and Czech national symbol) as “a leftist radical, an anarchist inciter, who not only was condemned rightfully, but even was himself to blame for his own downfall” and seeks, under the pretext of historical biography, to vindicate Nazi foreign policy. Hus’s example served Vischer to show that “a peaceful community in Central Europe will only be peaceful insofar as the Czechs come to terms with German superiority and protect it wherever possible.”[24] Finally, regarding Serke’s and Engel’s earlier point, Jäger objects that not only is there no extant evidence or testimony for the “pulping” of the book, but also, in Berlin alone, every major library owned a copy of this work. The story about the book’s suppression and destruction by the Nazis can thus be exposed as pure mythology spread by Vischer himself after the war, which—passed on from his daughter to Serke—turned into historical fact.

Added to this is Jäger’s discovery in the Berlin Bundesarchiv that Vischer’s membership application to the Nazi Writers’ Association in August 1938 refers to the decision of the “C2 Berlin District Court” which has “divorced” marriage to his Jewish wife Eva German – in complete contradiction to Engel’s and Serke’s accounts (discarded as “myths”), and a tawdry and sadly commonplace 20th-century Mitteleuropean tale becomes complete:

Even before the so-called seizure of power, he was on the Nazi path, instigating and currying favour, forecasting the future military Führer-state and abusing its enemies; he was a veritable fighter for the Thousand-Year Reich.[25]

Jäger leaves it at this, failing to provide any proof of extant divorce papers or detailing Eva German’s final years. One can imagine a scenario in which Vischer’s application may have been a red herring to the authorities, an attempt at currying favour during particularly harsh times, without actually betraying his, by all accounts, beloved first wife. But all on which Serke bases his tale of staunch support is again the daughter’s second-hand account related to her by the father, and an eye-witness account of a family friend, Maria Gräfin von Maltzan (who helped keep Vischer’s Jewish friend, Hans Hirschel, in hiding from the Nazis), according to whom Vischer was “a wonderful philosopher of life.”[26] It is Jäger, then, who is the only biographer undertaking serious research on his subject, his findings demanding, in turn, to be taken seriously.

In view of this serial metamorphosis of Melchior Vischer the Prague-based Dadaist (1920) into Heinrich Riedel the anonymous hatemonger (of 1932) into No. 2948559 at the Starnberg NSDAP office (in 1933) into Emil Fischer the distortionist, populist and demagogue historian (1940), the tale of Vischer’s post-war reticence and self-imposed exile loses much of its mystery. It becomes less a story of literary historical injustice as of a culpable disavowal of past political incriminations and evaded consequences: the “life of another,” as for so many former collaborators and apologists of Nazism, offering that most banal means of escape from the perils of one’s own.

 

FROM F TO V, AND BACK, OR WHAT’S IN A NAME

But how exactly did Emil Fischer turn into Melchior Vischer in the first place? Why did he leave Prague at the height of his fame, just one year before the birth of Poetism, the first genuinely Czech avant-garde movement? Why, as a dada novelist of some renown, did he turn to theatre adaptations and to second-rate popular novels? And is there anything about his early-20s Prague sojourn that would help explain the subsequent U-turn in Vischer’s national(ist) and political affiliations?   

“Melchior Vischer” first came into being in a letter dated 29 December, 1918, addressed to Tristan Tzara, the “dada papa,” in which Fischer/Vischer described himself as “an expressionist of the utmost left,” although hastens to add that “against Dadaism I take up no hostile attitude.”[27] Hartmut Geerken explains this curious self-appellation “Expressionist” via reference to Vischer’s early tenuous connection to the German Sturm circle:

The linguistic fixation of simultaneity and concentration and the resulting endeavour to cancel time were practised by Melchior Vischer according to word-art theories of the Sturm circle, while it isn’t known whether he had connexions of any sort with the Sturm literati and to what extent he was familiar with their works. In any case, Melchior Vischer did not count among the Sturm magazine collaborators. Nor did he apparently have any direct contact with the Dadaists.[28]

Geerken’s account needs some amending here, for the story of Vischer’s brush with dada still ranks among the best-documented chapters of his life. Dada reached Prague soon after the end of the First World War: in September 1919 a student magazine announced a dada journal to be launched by a group of young Czech poets. In March 1920, Dada’s very own Raoul Hausmann and Richard Huelsenbeck staged two dada evenings in Prague. However, the plans of forming a Prague Dada group never quite panned out: the announced dada journal never actually took off, and the group around it was in all respects ephemeral. It was only in the mid-1920s that Prague’s preoccupation with dada reached any systematic, programmatic level – and by that time, Vischer had already become a Berlin-bound nomad.

Still, unsurprisingly, Prague’s first documented reactions to dada took place in the German-speaking community. Vischer’s correspondence with Tzara points out that Prague German newspapers reported on dada as early as the summer of 1918, which for Vischer the newspaperman was a prime source of information. The new movement, he notes with surprising dejection, was greeted rather suspiciously. “First of all: one is against dada,” wrote Vischer in the first letter, from 29 Dec 1918, and detailed an atmosphere of pettiness and hostility toward Expressionism and dada on both the German and Czech sides, illustrating thereby that “Prague public clearly has no interest whatsoever” in it.[29] In a letter from March 1919, indifference grew into mockery: “In this country, it is considered good taste on the part of the journalists to sneer at dada.”[30]

Again, one has little more than Vischer’s word for it – this was a correspondence of one radical writer to another, trying to establish an alliance in a common fight against enemies of new directions. Even stranger is Vischer’s sentiment that the general public should somehow be for or interested in dada, or in other words, that dada should be the most direct path to popularity. His letters are peppered with exaggerated claims of having elicited “public uproar” and “scandal” with his own assaults upon public taste, such as must have struck an amused chord with the founder and manager of the Cabaret Voltaire. 

Side by side with these laments, Vischer bewailed lack of direct access to actual dada documents, “I’d therefore be really interested to know something more than just the names Tzara, Arp, Picabia, Janco, Giacometti, Huelsenbeck etc.,”[31] asking Tzara to kindly send his way any dispensable dada-related articles, brochures, prospects and sample magazine issues. A year later (in January 1920) Vischer wrote again, this time sending him the manuscript of his “Merzroman” aka Sekunde durch Hirn (an allusion to Kurt Schwitters’s collages), inquiring if the dada papa couldn’t be tempted to read it. Just how in/active Tzara was in responding to Vischer is brought home not only by the sheer fact that only once over the course of eight letters does Vischer thank Tzara for a reply “note.” Vischer had even enclosed a 35-cent postage stamp with his manuscript, which to Schrott’s mind “makes quite plausible the conclusion that Tzara was delaying the correspondence, as the outrageous tone of Vischer’s letters had prompted him to regard Vischer as not exactly a promising fellow traveller.”[32]      

The Vischer/Tzara correspondence, however lopsided, did yield one tangible, if also fruitless result. In the summer of 1921, Tzara set out for Czechoslovakia, hoping to gain adherents to his cause at a time when internal strife within the dada group was beginning to jeopardise the future of the entire movement (particularly vicious were conflicts between him and Hausmann). Tzara’s biographer, Marius Hentea, records his visit to Carlsbad and Prague, including a meeting with “Melchior Vischer, one of the leading Czech Dadaists” took place. Of Sekunde durch Hirn, Hentea notes that although presented as a “novel,” it had turned out to be “an example of Dadaist chance prose.” Still, “no concrete plans resulted from their meeting” and Tzara continued toward Tyrol in September.[33]

Although biographers remain silent on the subject, what could’ve been on the agenda at Tzara and Vischer’s meeting was the Dadaglobe project, an anthology of dada writing envisaged under the joint editorship of Tzara and Francis Picabia, among whose legion of proposed contributors one also finds Vischer’s name. And, when sending Picabia a New Year’s greeting card in 1921, Vischer does inquire after the fate of his six contributions.[34] In a letter of 12 August 1921, he was still “looking forward” to the up-and-coming Dadaglobe project, whose failure and abandonment had already been announced in Paris in June. This seems to be the last letter the two exchanged, suggesting that the failure of Dadaglobe also marked Vischer’s own conscientious rejection of dadaism.

 

 

[1] The following account is loosely based on Peter Engel’s entry on Vischer in Prager Profile: Vergessene Autoren im Schatten Kafkas, ed. Hartmut Binder (Berlin: Binder, 1991), on Hartmut Geerken’s “Afterword” to Melchior Vischer, Sekunde durch Hirn, Der Teemeister, Der Hase und andere Prosa (München: Hartmut Geerken, 1976), on Jürgen Serke’s Böhmische Dörfer – Wanderungen durch eine verlassen literarische Landschaft (Wien, Hamburg: Paul Zsolnay Verlag, 1987), and on Christian Jäger’s Minoritäre Literatur. Das Konzept der kleinen Literatur am Beispiel prager- und sudetendeutscher Werke (Wiesbaden: Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag, 2005).

[2] Melchior Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe und Gedichte, ed. Raoul Schrott (Siegen, 1988) 6.

[3] In addition to Sekunde durch Hirn (Second through Brain, 1920), the most prominent being Strolch und Kaiserin (Tramp and Empress, 1921), Der Teemeister (The Teamaster, 1921) and Der Hase (The Hare, 1922).

[4] Qtd. in Serker,  Böhmische Dörfer, 165.

[5] Vischer’s efforts chiefly focused on staging his own works and adaptations of novelties by his former Prague colleagues (Musil’s The Enthusiasts) and traditional pieces (Büchner’s Danton’s Death), starring his wife under the artistic pseudonym “Eva German.”

[6] Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe, 12, my parentheses.

[7] Serke, Böhmische Dörfe, 165.

[8] Sigrid Hauff, “Nachwort,” Melchior Vischer, Fußballspieler und Indianer. Chaplin. Zwei Schauspiele (Munich: Text & Kritik, 1984) 286.

[9] Geerken, “Nachwort,” 192.

[10] Engel, Prager Profile, 417. Serke’s account concurs on this point – cf. Böhmische Dörfer, 178.

[11] Serke, Böhmische Dörfer, 163.

[12] Serke, Böhmische Dörfer, 179.

[13] Serke, Böhmische Dörfer, 163.

[14] Qtd. in Serken, Böhmische Dörfer, 181.

[15] Engel, Prager Profile, 417.

[16] Serke, Böhmische Dörfer, 163.

[17] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 477.

[18] Qtd. in Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 477.

[19] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 478.

[20] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 485-6; 487.

[21] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 489.

[22] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 489.

[23] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 493.

[24] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 502.

[25] Jäger, Minoritäre Literatur, 503.

[26] Serke, Böhmische Dörfer, 175.

[27] Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe, 5.

[28] Geerken, “Nachwort,” 201.

[29] Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe, 4.

[30] Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe, 5.

[31] Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe, 5.

[32] Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe, 14.

[33] Marius Hentea, TaTa Dada: The Real Life and Celestial Adventures of Tristan Tzara (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2014) 171.

[34] Cf. Henri Béhar, Catherine Dufour, Dada: circuit total (Lausanne: Éditions L’Age d’Homme, 2005) 201-2; Vischer, Unveröffentlichte Briefe, 10.

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