Experiences of twentieth century history and major literary trends are reflected in the excellent but little-known writings of the Austrian-Czech physician and novelist Ernst Weiss (1882-1940). Weiss was born in Moravia and studied medicine, in Vienna and Prague. One of many of Jewish exile writers who fled the Nazi regime, Weiss committed suicide in Paris when German troops entered the city in the Summer of 1940. Weiss wrote one of the few novels about Adolf Hitler during the Fuehrer's life. This work, using an eye doctor as narrator, was an experimental tour de force. His next novel, the "Expressionist" masterpiece, Nahar, was about a female tiger who had once been human. His fiction merges influences of "Expressionism", his own medical background, literary interactions with his friends Joseph Roth, Joseph Brod and Franz Kafka, as well as a Freudian emphasis on human drives, obsessions and compulsions. This is the first comprehensive assessment in English of the life and legacy of an important, underrated voice from mid twentieth century Central Europe. Weiss had a wide body of friends and colleagues including Artur Schnitzler and Karl Kraus as well as Kafka, Brod and Roth.
He was a pioneer in modern travel writing undertaken when he was a ship's doctor in the Pacific. His work is only now coming under serious reconsideration. This monograph includes a robust bibliography and index as well as samples of the author's oeuvre.