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The Quest for Dr. U cover image The Quest for Dr. U

H. C. Artmann

Translated by Malcolm Green & Derek Wynand.
ISBN 0 947757 56 2
116pp 21 x 13·5cm
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Artmann, born in 1921, was one of the most remarkable experimental writers of his generation. An Austrian, in the 1950s he was the co-founder of The Vienna Group with Rühm, Bayer, Wiener and Achleitner. The group’s black romanticism allied with a linguistic scepticism partly derived from Wittgenstein had a great influence on German letters. The Quest for Dr. U is like all Artmann’s works: protean, spanning and subverting all genres (detective fiction, romantic novels, heroic poetry, dada related experiment). Its hero pursues the ghastly Dr. Unspeakable, an ultimate villain, across continents, through situations alternately bizarre and commonplace, always enmeshed in ways of writing text. Dr. U remains a mystery, perhaps he is “not I”: a wonderful modernist novel, humorous and entertaining to boot.

Artmann is certainly one of Austria’s premier writers, and this imaginative romp through the mysteries of identity is highly recommended for collectors of experimental fiction. - Library Journal.

...a tour de force of sheer virtuosity ... a late flowering of the Austrian baroque, distinctly decadent, as Artmann is well aware, brilliantly brought off, with an elegant inventiveness peculiar to this extraordinary writer. - Michael Hamburger in The Times Literary Supplement.


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