Gustav Meyrink was born with the name Gustav Meyer in Vienna. He was the illegitimate son of Baron Karl von Varnbüler and actress Maria Wilhelmina Adelheyd Meier. In 1915 the first and most famous of Meyrink’s novels, The Golem, was published. The novel is based on the Jewish legend of a Rabbi who made a living being known as a golem made out of clay, and animated by a Kabbalistic spell. Meyrink has been described as the “most respected German language writer in the field of supernatural fiction”.