Munchausen and Clarissa

It is 1905 and a raging stupidity is holding sway over Europe. As an eighteen-year-old Clarissa and her family take refuge from an uninspiring Berlin on the icy shores of Lake Wannsee, the legendary Baron Munchausen makes an unexpected appearance at their door. Returning to German society after a century of absence at the ripe age of 180, the Baron has new experiences to relate and is cajoled into presenting his impressions of the World Fair in Melbourne, Australia, to a select gathering of Berlin celebrities. Over the course of a week, the sprightly Baron arrives nightly by sleighmobile to combat the dreary days with a series of fantastical visions and theories, each eclipsing the previous one: he discusses mobile architecture, the role of technology in the arts, the need for sculpture and painting to ignore nature in their quest to discover new planetary organs and senses, the new household miracles of vacuum tubes for cleaning and potato-peeling machines, the repressive function of sexuality, and the need for progressive taxation. His tales of Melbourne eventually take his audience from a Deep Sea Restaurant in the ocean depths to the dwellings of mineral giants in mountain caverns before culminating in a spiritual voyage to outer space among sausage moons and sun-skins.


[publisher's note]

Published by Wakefield Press, 2020

Price: 15€

SCHEERBART, Paul - Munchausen and Clarissa