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

Gustav René Hocke

The Biographer of the Grotesque

Gustav René found his early years in the little town, which was under Allied occupation, a bleak and depressing time. Reviled in Belgium as a sale Boche (dirty Hun), he was now derided by the children of Viersen as a dreckiger Franzos (dirty Frog).
Impressed by English dandyism, young Gustav René adopted an elegantly cosmopolitan manner. This was at odds with his family’s increasingly straitened financial circumstances, because Josef Hocke did not remain unaffected by the Great Depression. At the age of twenty-one, Gustav René embarked on the study of literature in Berlin, where he was chiefly influenced by the work of Ernst Robert Curtius, the eminent Romanist. He obtained a scholarship that enabled him to spend a considerable time in Paris while working on his dissertation, Lukrez in Frankreich (Lucretius in France),
for which he gained his doctorate in 1934.