by Max Blecher
Even at a young age it was clear that Max Blecher was quite talented. By the time he was sixteen, he had been published by a prominent Bucharest magazine, and by nineteen he had begun medical school in Paris. While at medical school, Blecher was diagnosed with tuberculosis of the spine, or Pott’s disease, and was forced to abandon his studies. He sought treatment at various sanatoria in France, Switzerland, and Romania, but the disease was incurable. The treatment at the time was prolonged bed rest and a plaster body cast that encased Blecher for the remainder of his life. Blecher spent this decade between his diagnosis and death by writing two novels, one book of poetry, and numerous articles and translations. He also continually corresponded with some of the great writers and philosophers of the time, including Geo Bogza, André Breton, André Gide, and Martin Heidegger. His writing was deeply influenced by surrealism and rich with metaphors and dreamlike moments. Often compared to Kafka, Blecher wrote about his illness without an element of self-pity. He died at the age of twenty-eight.