Georg Heym (1887-1912) was a German writer and poet who is ranked among the most important representatives of early literary Expressionism. His short life was characterised by all sorts of conflicts that sprang from his highly individual and rebellious nature. His father was a state’s attorney and was as such stationed in various places in the east of Germany during Georg’s upbringing. His son consequently changed grammar schools a number of times before studying law at the Universities of Würzburg, Berlin and Jena. Georg started writing when his father, a devout Protestant, became depressed and was committed to an asylum for a year after he had witnessed an execution in his function of state’s attorney. Georg hated the study he followed, student life in general and the prospect of following in his father’s footsteps. In poems, plays and short prose pieces he found ways to express his individuality, give free rein to his imagination and mercilessly cut down everything he rebelled against in the bourgeois milieu he grew up in. A decisive moment in his development as a poet and writer was the foundation in Berlin in 1909 of the ‘Der Neue Club’, a circle of radical students and young artists that would develop into a germ cell of literary Expressionism. In 1910 he joined the club, which included Kurt Hiller, Jakob van Hoddis and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. But only two years later Heym, 24 years old, tragically drowned during a skating trip on the river Havel when he tried to rescue his friend Ernst Balcke, who had fallen through the ice.
Moloko Plus, run by Ralf Friel from Schönebeck, has published a selection of dark and stark expressionist prose pieces by Georg Heym and combined them with 13 drawings by Dutch artist Ben Schot. The resulting edition, beautifully designed by Robert Schalinski and offset printed in a limited run of 150 copies, is both elegant and ruthless. An iron fist in a velvet glove.