Oscar A. H. Schmitz nowadays is a relatively unknown author in his homeland, Germany. Even though Thomas Mann thought well of his writings it wasn’t enough to keep him in the public interest.
Oscar was born on 16 April 1873 in Homburg. First child of four in a relatively well to do upper middle class family. His education was quite varied throughout his early life and when his father died he literally quit all education and began leading a rather bohemian lifestyle.
In 1897 he was attracted to Paris where he fell headlong into the fin-de-siecle period. Here he was to come under the full sway of Decadence which influenced his writing in that time period.
The main works I focus on for this period is an earlier book of poems called Orpheaus (1898), Hashish (1902). So far I have only been able to read the latter and haven’t been able to even find the former. I would highly recommend Hashish it is an incredible well written bunch of stories. In fact, it is also the first significant book falling under drug literature to come out in German. It is also probably the only real work of his that is widely even known. You can read my review of Hashish here.
Further he wrote a great deal of plays, novels and a travel book. Also he wrote on politics, astrology, yoga, and Jungian psychology.
He was very well connected when you look back on his acquaintances, Countess zu Reventlow, Ludwig Klages, Franz Hessel, Karl Wolfskehl, Stefan George to name a few. He also knew and assisted in getting published Gustav Meyrink, starting his career. His most known novel The Golem (Dedalus European Classics), I have read it and wow what a great story. You can read my review of the Golem here at this link.
During WWI he was a war correspondent on the Western Front.
He later died in 1931 from Liver disease.
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