Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Viennese Romance by David Vogel

Viennese Romance is an early, unfinished novel by the poet, novelist and short story writer David Vogel.   

Vogel was born in Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth century and was murdered in the Holocaust.   As a writer of Hebrew on European shores, he is considered both an anomaly and a harbinger of things to come; he wrote of cosmopolitan themes in a then very parochial language, mainly confined to a small, but rising number of Jews living in Palestine. 

This novel was found hidden among Vogel’s papers.  You can find the very peculiar story of its discovery here.  The published novel is very much the work of editors, who needed to take very large liberties with an unfinished and rough manuscript. 

Not surprising, this early work features one of Vogel’s Ur-concerns, the fictional portrayal of his relationship with an older woman and her daughter.  The novel can be quite graphic in its sexual content, and moves freely from character to character.

While nowhere near a fully realized or complete work, Viennese Romance gives the Vogel reader some keen insights one of the more important Hebrew writers of the twentieth century and his vanished world.

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