First English edition, first impression, foxing to preliminary/terminal leaves and the extremities of the text-block, 2 small ownership stamps to front free endpaper, original black cloth lettered in red to spine, dust-jacket by E. McKnight Kauffer, some gentle rubbing to extremities, small closed tear to one corner, a few very minor patches of discolouration, but overall an excellent, unsophisticated example. 8vo.
Der Golem by Gustav Meyrink was first published serially between 1913 & 1914 in Germany, in Die Wiessen Blatter, before being published in book form in 1915 by Kurt Wolff Verlag, interestingly also the publishers of that other metaphysical visionary, Franz Kafka.
This weird & supernatural tale set in historic Prague brought the legend of the golem, a creature born from clay by Kabbalistic magic to serve as guardian for the Jewish people, to the attention of an international readership for the first time, particularly with this edition and the subsequent American edition (both published in 1928, the first American edition was issued from the English sheets). The Golem found mostly favourable reviews, exciting the New York Times sufficiently to comment: ‘Written with grace and an uncommon power to evoke eerie reactions by nebulous suggestion, [The Golem is] apt to give one moments of what is vulgarly known as the creeps.’ (1928). The English Book Review was somewhat less enthralled, instead finding the plot ‘irritatingly muddled at intervals’. Nevertheless, it soon became a cult classic, inspiring at least two film versions, as well as the novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer (The Golem, 1969), and a 2000AD Judge Anderson story to boot.