Really, Müller-Lengsfeldt, an art teacher from Berlin, would like to concentrate exclusively on Ancient Rome and the work of Johann Winckelmann, the famous researcher into Antiquity. Unfortunately, however, an attractive female travel guide called Regina Ziegler is tenaciously pursued by Müller-Lengsfeldt's rival, Schmeer, and an ominous peregrine falcon keeps on appearing, as baffling and enigmatic as the nocturnal activities outside his hotel room. And through it all is the mystery of the figure around whom his thoughts unceasingly revolve: why did Winckelmann leave the city of his dreams in such a hurry in April 1768? Was his hurried departure connected with his gruesome murder two months later in Trieste? The more Müller-Lengsfeldt ponders on Winckel-mann - a contradictory figure with a mysterious double life - and his state of mind, the more restless and confused he becomes. He sets out to follow his role model on a journey into the unknown whose destination is as doubtful as the possibility of return.
»Lange’s ›Die Bildungsreise‹ is composed like a game of intellectual roulette. Red or black? Chance or metaphysics? The reader is exposed to this tormenting uncertainty. As in roulette, there is an acute danger of becoming addicted that is manifested in a ceaseless compulsion to go on reading.«Mannheimer Morgen