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The World as a Labyrinth - Gustav René Hocke and the Fantastic Art Tradition

The Dancing God

Appreciations of Gustav René Hocke

It was in summer 1970, Michael Ende wrote of the day he first met Gustav René Hocke.1 My wife Ingeborg and I were sitting outside the Café Nazionale in the piazza at Genzano, drinking espressi and waiting for Gustav René Hocke, who had promised to pick us up there because the way to his house was impossible to explain on the phone. I was greatly looking forward to making the acquaintance of the man whose books had made such a deep impression on me. [...] I had often tried to picture this man. Ingeborg and I had debated what he would look like. Of one thing I was quite certain: he must be one of those exceptional, sometimes eccentric personalities known in Italy as a mostro sacro, a ‘sacred monster’ of knowledge, erudition and refinement. For some reason I had envisioned a thin-faced, ascetic-looking elderly man, tall and rather stooped, probably with a mane of white or grey hair, who, attired in an eau-de-Nil silk dressing gown, inhabited a multi-storey library and leafed through precious old tomes with nicotine-yellow fingers. [...] His house would be somewhat gloomy and neglected; possibly a small, half-dilapidated palazzo with crumbling frescos on the ceilings [...]

1 Wie ich G. R. Hocke kennen lernte, in Hommage an GRH, Viersen. Beiträge zu einer Stadt, vol. 16. Viersen 1989, pp. 113-17.