Homo sapiens (novel)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Homo Sapiens (1895–96; tr. 1915) is a trilogy by Polish author Stanisław Przybyszewski. The novels were originally published in German as Über Bord (1896, "Overboard"), Unterwegs (1895, "By the Way") and Im Malstrom (1895, "In the Maelstrom"). It deals with the question of deviance and sexuality, and is counted among Przybyszewski's most important and best-known works. It was well received in Germany, but withdrawn from sale by its U.S. publisher after being labelled obscene. It is associated with the decadent movement of the late 19th century.


The protagonist is a writer, Erik Falk, an émigré from Congress Poland, residing in bohemian Berlin of the early 1890s. The plot of the first novel, Uber Bord, revolves around his attempt to steal a fiancée of a friend. In the second novel, Unterwegs, Falk attempts to seduce a pious sixteen-year-old. In the last novel, Im Maelstrom, Falk has to balance his official family and a mistress, both with his children. He also becomes increasingly involved with radical socialist and anarchist circles.

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