Georg Trakl

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Georg Trakl (1887 – 1914) was born in Salzburg, Austria, and seems to have been suicidal in childhood. As an extremely young child, he threw himself first in front of a galloping horse and then in front of a train. When both of those suicide attempts failed, he tried drowning himself in a lake and was rescued only when someone noticed his hat floating away. His adolescence and adulthood were marked by bouts of serious mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, a supposed incestuous relationship with his sister, and near-constant failure. His first book, Gedichte [Poems], was published in 1913. He died a year later in a psychiatric hospital in Krakow where he was sent for observation after the human suffering occasioned by WWI, specifically the battle of Gródek, which brought him to a suicidal mental collapse. Whether his death was the result of suicide or was an accidental overdose of cocaine is still not known. His second book, Sebastian im Traum [Sebastian in Dream], was published posthumously.