“Georg Trakl, poet and Cocaine addict”.

15585838855_7455135728_bGeorg Trakl, poet in 1910.
He doesn’t know whether his behaviour was unusual, he didn’t drink but took large amounts of cocaine.
This remark is taken from the medical file of Georg Trakl and is part of a brief account of the poet’s movements and behaviour in the month or so preceding his committal for observation to a psychiatric hospital in Kraków in early October 1914.
Just six weeks earlier, towards the end of August, the 27-year-old Trakl had undertaken the 1000-kilometre train journey from Innsbruck, at the western end of the Habsburg Empire, to the far eastern crownland of Galicia, where he was to be deployed as a military pharmacist.
His frontline experience was brief but traumatic.
During the Battle of Grodek-Rawa Ruska, he was assigned sole care of ninety badly wounded soldiers sheltering in a barn, a task for which he had neither the training nor the equipment.
As he later recounted from his hospital bed in Kraków to his friend and publisher Ludwig von Ficker, when one of the wounded men had ended his own suffering by shooting himself in the head, Trakl had fled outside only to be confronted by the sight of local peasants hanging lifeless in the trees.
One evening during the westward retreat of the defeated Austro-Hungarian forces, he announced his own intention to shoot himself, but was forcefully disarmed by his comrades.
His committal followed on 6 October and he died in hospital on 3 November.
His medical file lists the cause of death, complete with exclamation mark, as “Suicid durch Cocainintoxication!”
Read more via Wild Heart Turning White: Georg Trakl and Cocaine | The Public Domain Review.

Please Leave A Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s