Blaugast by Paul Leppin

paul leppin


Paul Leppin was born in Prague in 1878 he started writing in 1900 and wrote for the next forty years ,he liked to shock the bourgeois with his mischievous songs poems and books .He was part of the Jung Prag (young Prague ) a collection of artists and writers from Prague ,that included Hugo Steiner ,Oskar Weiner and Raine Maria Rilke .Kafka described him as the bard of the painfully disappearing old Prague .he died during the second world war managing to survive as a jew living in occupied Czechoslovakia .till 1944


The book follows Blaugast a middling clerk ,with an unhealthy desire for the dark streets and brothels of Prague ,this leads to a slow downward spiral for Blaugast ,he hooks up with a young prostitute Wanda she moves in with him and they begin a strange uneven relationship that throughout the book gets stranger and stranger,there is flash backs to his earlier life where we find he has always had trouble with relationships and not the best childhood ,as the book progress Blaugast health and appearance are falling apart but as this happens his sexual appetite seems to increase .

With Wanda ,though it was different. the wishful thinking of his youth ,his body’s secrets  ,seemed to find fulfillment in and abundant energy were found in her store,the infallible defense of a simple creature who combats the rebellions of the flesh with casual ease.It wa the unbroken strength of a pheasant ancestry that could handle such foolhardiness ,arrogantly managing any complication .

the opening of chapter 5 Blaugast singing the virtues of Wanda .

My view –

This was Leppin’s last book was scheduled to be published in 1938 but never saw light of day to a  in 1984 ,the english translation by twisted spoon with Cynthia A Klima at helm .the book shows the darker side of the beautiful city of Prague at the eve of world war two ,Blaugast is a weak man who succumbs to easily to temptation and become s drawn in to  downhill ride to hell ,Leppin seems to also be saying something about the present situation  he was in and maybe how easy it is for a person or country to drift into decline and succumb to the easy options .a gripping book from start to finish one of the best books i ve read set in the pre war era a perfect companion to Isherwood .

the score

a Prague rat

I choose a rat they come out at night, have a lot of sex and have come to simple decay and decline seemed perfect for this story .


June 2010


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