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Peter Rosei: Wer war Edgar Allan? [Who Was Edgar Allan?]

This is a very short work, barely worthy of the title of novel. The narrator is a medical student. He persuades his father to let him go to Venice, both to study art history – he has more or less given up medicine – and to learn Italian. However, his father dies and he converts his inheritance into ready money for the trip and sets off for Venice. The title, of course, somewhat gives away that this book is about his descent into drinking and drugs though the title might just as well have been Wer war Robert Louis? [Who was Robert Louis?], as he leads a somewhat schizophrenic existence, by day as a somewhat aimless but agreeable student and by night as a junkie. It is all about self-discovery, with his drug-induced stupor, the mysterious American Edgar Allan and the mysterious Contessa, and the strange city of Venice all contributing. Definitely one of his gloomy period novels.

Publishing history

First published 1977 by Residenz Verlag
No English translation