Konrad Bayer


Out of print.

Translated by Walter Billeter.

“His desires were limitless, he wanted to fly, to make himself invisible, he wanted to be able to do everything.” — Gerhard Rühm

the head of vitus bering, the second major publication of the Austrian writer Konrad Bayer (1932-1964), was also the last to appear in his lifetime, and is considered the most important work to originate from the Vienna Group during the time when it was active in the early 1960s. Gerhard Rühm and H. C. Artmann, two colleagues during this period, describe the book variously as Bayer’s “pinnacle” and “a magnificent book. Bayer’s true biography, composed with poetry and elegance.” But Bayer’s own description is more telling: “perhaps a trepanation”.

Constructed from a montage of events, images, facts and allusions that “unite and coordinate the past and future to one point,” Bayer turns the historical adventure of the ship’s captain Vitus Bering, who attempted to discover whether America was linked to Asia, into a metaphor for inner voyage and ultimate liberation “from opinions and thoughts”. Against the backdrop of a chilling reality “outside” in which the logic of a mechanical universe is beginning to run riot, and all subjective distance washed away, the reader is drawn into a vortex of unnerving paradoxes, a calculating machine of sublime horrors — “the birth pangs of initiation”.

Atlas Press, the trade edition version of The Printed Head III, number 7.


1994, ISBN: 0-947757-83-X, 64pp, paperback.
SKU: 0-947757-83-X Categories: ,

Additional information

Weight .16 kg
Dimensions 13.5 × 21 cm