The Last Hurrah
Professor Erwin Schönhausen-Shloka
Faculty of the Humanities, University of Freiburg
Sholka is a category of verse line developed from the Vedic Anustubh poetic meter. However, not only can Erwin’s colleagues at the University of Freiburg not establish the convoluted path this word must have taken to be so brutally addended to Schönhausen, but the man himself is thoroughly occidental. Sallow cheeks and a tall, scholarly forehead impose themselves awkwardly beneath a smoky puff of unkempt hair and angled feminine eyebrows soften the cruelty of an unnaturally straight and unpursed pair of lips. Philosophy allows no description of the eyes, their appearance pregnant with assumptions and generalisations.
Character Sheet Details
Obsession: “It’s more complicated than that”
Fear: Losing my mind
Noble: “Stands genius a deathless adornment”
Statistics & Skills
General Athletics: 40
Iron Gut: 15
General Education: 60 (Philosophy Specialisation) (Latin/Greek) (Obession Skill)
Faust Skill: 60
Read People: 25
Medicinal Potions & Salves
General archaeological equipment
The Universal Phrasebook
Party Details & Relevant interests
Person: W. B. Yeats
Object: Pencil belonging to Madeleine. This pencil is used when making notes of personal importance and has been used extensively since her death. It is currently only 2” long and shrinking.
Event: Attended a horrid high society fundraiser with Harriet Hale.
Professor Erwin Schönhausen-Shloka is a Bavarian philosopher, specialising in epistemology, theology, and ethnographic transcriptions as truth statements in Europe and the Near East. He is well known in academic and literary circles, and counts Irish and British contacts such as W. B. Yeats among his circle.
Born near Munich, he had an ordinary upbringing in a low-level aristocratic family, whose cultural pretensions, and worse, literary-philosophical ambitions, he loathed. Schönhausen-Shloka escaped the label of dilettante through a sincere investment in logical reasoning and sub/super emotive realisations, leading to his thesis submission at Freiburg in 1889. He married childhood sweetheart Madeleine Dietrich the same year.
1894 saw the Madeleine’s murder in a botched burglary in Paris, an event leading to the philosopher’s extended stay in London where many of the booming city’s artistic luminaries became long time friends. In particular his interest in Samuel Mather’s re-introduction of the semiotics of Asia Minor was an important influence – however his ‘Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’ was seen as an absurd misunderstanding of these facts, and the 1899 revolt against his leadership by Crowley was a cause for wry, if unfair amusement – amusement felt from the richly decorated confines of a German lecture hall. Schönhausen-Shloka had accepted a professorial post at his alma mater in 1898.__
By 1904 the now Professor cut an imposing, though oddly spectral figure through the stone halls of the campus auditoriums. While venerated for his incisive, even critical work in structuring Western approaches to Asian linguistic reasoning, he had done so despite a combatative, unyielding rhetorical stance and having spurned the odious and sycophantic intellecutal reliance of ‘authorities’ from the nearby Austro-Hungarian cohort, whose positions depended far more on proximity to the Emperor than publications.
This was the year Demons began to speak to him in his dreams. At first they were hard to spot, dreams being what they are, pitched and focused so narrowly on details, the surroundings blurred and amorphous. Slowly, the sleeping academic, presumably stretched out like a comatose on his pallet, began to spot the same grinning yellow faces at the edges of these blurred contexts, oddly defined and sharp. The same memory of a chittering laugh or sneer, night after night. One night in the moment of sudden lucidity that accompanies longer dreams, when wakefulness waxes subtly enough, he turned and spoke to one.
It fled into the impressionist mass of the backdrop – and the lucidity stayed. Like a drunk stumbling home his bunched viewpoint lurched into the protean mixture of whatever trivial memories made this coloured mass, the minature yellow goblin hobbling away. The effect faded eventually, though the homonculous haunted his waking life, as it would have done for you. Every night he pursued it further into the lumpen mist.
He did find it, though the details of how have been annihilated. The centre of a dream is of course verboten, otherwise they are without value. Schönhausen-Shloka describes the rest of it what followed better.
“This ability – what Plato called a faculty – is an entirely new one. Faustus lives, although he never lived, as a power that talks to things which are not. The ‘un-real’, which I have been informed by various diabolical forces, is eventually what the to-be-esteemed Martin Heidegger will make the antithesis of his world that is always in the process of becoming. These creatures tell me of Henri Bergson, also. I will not neglect what these beings offer – nor should you.”
This manifested itself in a disturbingly anti-epistemological kind of way, when Faust did appear, quite suddenly, at an unattended lecturn. A class had been mis-scheduled, and the Professor stood alone in a morning lit doorway westwards. The ‘character’, who had taken a impeccably detailed corporeal form, sent Schönhausen-Shloka back into the knotted, elm-wood seat of an undergraduate peasant.
His discourse on indescribably infernal matters cannot be repeated,
The Faustian revelation changed everything , a prolonged sabbatical allowed further ranging studies which built on his previous work in the Middle East, as he had been informed it would one day be known. The previous ten years have been spent in intensive and wide ranging personal research – yet to make it into a book – which will one day, no doubt, form a giant, baffling magnum opus.