Kaul, Fedor

Tagged: Author

(circa 1901-1960) German-born film critic and author, active in 1920s Germany, in UK from 1932. His sf novel, Die Welt ohne Gedächtnis (trans Winifred Ray as Contagion to this World 1933), begins conventionally enough with a deformed Scientist, thwarted in love, determining to revenge himself on the world by releasing dangerous bacteria he has developed; these turn out to have a memory-erasing effect on humans (see Memory Edit). The scientist's love-affair forgotten, the novel becomes a Post-Holocaust vision in which the remnants of mankind mutate into a roving race of giants in harmony with Nature. The scientist grows old and – remarkably – dies forgiven. Leben aus zweiter Hand (trans Winifred Ray as Maniu 1935) is a fantasy about clairvoyance. A Modern Monte Cristo (trans 1938) was unlikely to have seen print in German, as Rulo – the totalitarian ruler of an unnamed country at the heart of Europe responsible for acts of genocide directed against the minority Ingolians – is clearly meant to be understood as Hitler; the plot follows Alexandre Dumas's original very closely, with the exception of a series of fantasticated Inventions used by the betrayed hero (who is Ingolian) to oppose Rulo as World War Two looms.

Kaul remains an enigmatic figure. German colleagues of this encyclopedia, Wolfgang Both and Klaus Geus, have established that a Fedor Kaul wrote a juridical PhD in 1924 for the University of Breslau, but that except for a 1930 pamphlet on card games he seemed not to have published any books in Germany or other German-speaking countries. No German editions of the fiction described above and listed below have been traced; as Kaul was Jewish, and in the UK from 1932, none may exist. [JC]

Fedor Erich Kaul

born circa 1901

died London: 12 August 1960

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