Klingsor (KLIHNG-zor), a famous forty-two-year-old painter born in 1877. He lives in Castagnetta in the Italian countryside. He loves the poetry of Li Po and, on occasion, calls himself Li Po, much as he calls his friend Hermann by the name Tu Fu. Klingsor is a heavy drinker and a womanizer. His work habits are just as intense as his carousing. The question is asked whether he is a scoundrel and profligate or a silly child. He himself feels that spirituality and sensuality are of equal value. He is aware that he lives only for the moment and that, therefore, he is not troubled by questions of mortality. Klingsor suffers from feelings presaging his impending death. Once, in a conversation, he expresses his fear that after he is gone, he and his work will be discussed in terms similar to those used for the classics. He imagines his obituary in a city newspaper to read: “outstanding painter, expressionist, great colorist, died on the sixteenth of this month.” His last completed work is a self-portrait that is abstract and expressionistic. Critics well-disposed toward his work say that the portrait shows the wild and childlike man of their age: dying European man. This man is sick of vice and decadence but at the same time wants to die and is enraptured by the knowledge of his doom, submitting to his fate, beast and sage. When Klingsor is done, he locks the painting away in an unused room.
(The entire section is 415 words.)