A twentieth-century author, historian, editor, and translator, he is particularly known for his German translation of James Joyce's Ulysses. His other works include Nacht-Stücke and Die Gegenwart einer Illusion.
He studied music and composed three symphonies before dedicating himself primarily to literary pursuits.
His historical account of the Crusades included an indictment of the Catholic Church.
He was born in Minden, Germany. He died in Bamberg in 2007.
He collaborated with Arno Schmidt on a translation of the works of Edgar Allan Poe.