OK, I’m done. I will no longer be suckered into buying unheralded classics from various points in the 20th century that happened to be suffering in obscurity until, just now, a small press managed the painstaking task of reviving it and translating it into english.
The inside flap of The Creator says
Mentioned in his day in the same breath as Kafka, Mynona, aka Salomo Friedlaender was a–
Let’s stop here for a second with this wonderfully ambiguous sentence. Mentioned in the same breath as Kafka? I’m sure such breaths were:
Salomo Friedlaender and Franz Kafka are both writers.
Salomo Friedlaender is not nearly as good a writer as Franz Kafka.
Anyway, on with the blurb:
Mynona, aka Salomo Friedlaender was a perfectly functioning split personality: a serious philosopher by day and a literary absurdist by night.
A serious 19th century German philosopher who wrote satirical fantasy tales by night? Sounds fun! But this Jekyll &Hyde description is pure fraud. The Creator is barely fiction — it’s just a short tale to promote the philosophy of a Kant disciple named Ernst Marcus. To wit, here’s a monologue from one of the professor characters in the story:
Consider the work of the Kantian Ernst Marcus! This estimable epistemological theorist proves with convincing acuity that sensory perception does not only ensue as a consequence of the inward-directed affect of external objects on our brain, but also emanates with equal force from the brain outward toward those objects. An ethereal sensory stream surges from our body, our brain, and in particular, from our optical nerve center, outward into the world around us, all the way to the Sun, thus also to the reflected Sun in the mirror.
So our brains are beaming sensory perception back at the sun. Okay. This could be an interesting philosophy to explore in a novella. But here it is not.
The actual plot has a solitary man meet a much younger woman and start dreaming of each other and this turns out to involve some mad-scientist-like old man (the woman’s uncle/father) who espouses the above philosophy, and has a magic mirror ready to demonstrate it (poorly). It’s boring, not particularly well written, and without charm. Then the story repeats. The Creator wraps up and there’s a second short story following it that tells almost exactly the same story. Younger woman, misunderstood man, old man with a magic mirror. Kant/Ernst Marcus monologue. Both stories have the exact same conclusion — man and woman merge into some pure non-sexual angelic being. It’s baffling.