In Poetic, Mythological, and Moral-Historical Perspective
By Oskar Panizza. Introduction by Erik Butler.
"For dry humor from a decadent nihilist, it can’t be beat.” –M. Kasper, Rain Taxi"The Pig is the Sun...." So begins Oskar Panizza’s outrageously heretical and massively erudite essay on the pig, originally published in 1900 in his journal Zurich Discussions. Moving from the Rig Veda to the Edda to Ovid, from the story of Tristan and Isolde to Nordic celebrations of Christmas, from Grimms’ fairytales to Swedish folklore to Judeo-Egyptian dietary restrictions, the author contends, through painstakingly philological argumentation, that the miraculous swine occupies a central, celestial position as the life-giving force animating the entire universe, usurping the place of God as the beginning and end of all things.
Oskar Panizza (1853–1921) was a German psychiatrist turned avant-garde author. In 1894 he published his notorious play The Love Council: "A Heavenly Tragedy in Five Acts" that depicted the spread of syphilis among humanity in 1492 through a senile god, an idiot Christ, a promiscuous Mary and a depraved Pope Alexander VI. Charged with 93 counts of blasphemy, Panizza found his instantaneous literary fame accompanied by a 12-month prison sentence. Moving to Zurich, he published a journal, Zurich Discussions, the majority of which he wrote himself under a series of pen names. After being expelled from Switzerland, he relocated to Paris until his 1899 publication of anti-Germanic verse led to his finances being seized. He spent the last 16 years of his life in a Bavarian mental institution.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
We owe [Erik Butler], and Wakefield Press, thanks for giving us a sample in English of this obscure serial. For dry humor from a Decadent nihilist, it can’t be beat.