The New Yorker has a profile of author Gene Wolfe. “His narrators may be prophets, or liars, or merely crazy, but somewhere in their stories they help to reveal what Wolfe most wants his readers to know: that compassion can withstand the most brutal of futures and exist on the most distant planets, and it has been part of us since ages long past.”
Posted March 31, 2014
The Gutter’s own Keith tracks the story of Rabbi Loew and the Golem–with some dips into alchemy and art–through Prague. “So how did Rabbi Loew’s name become associated with the legend of the golem? Well, it’s no surprise, really, given how much weird, wizardy stuff is already attributed to him. It seems more or less historically accurate that he spent time as an alchemist in the employ of Rudolf II. Less historically accurate: that he was able to take a pestilence spell cast against the Jews of Prague and throw it back into the face of the villainous sorcerer who first cast it, or that the rabbi constructed a magic castle to which he could teleport for important meetings with heads of state or notable magicians.”
There is an excellent gallery of photographs from Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery, too. (Also, here’s a little about the Iron Knight mentioned in the piece).