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Karl Kraus

From Academic Kids

Karl Kraus (April 28, 1874 - June 12, 1936) was an eminent Austrian writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright, and poet. He is generally considered one of the foremost German-language satirists of the 20th century.

Kraus was born into a Jewish family of Jacob Kraus, a papermaker, and his wife Ernestine, née Kantor, in Jičín, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). The family moved to Vienna, Austria in 1877. Kraus enrolled as a law student at the University of Vienna, where he also studied philosophy and German literature (1894-1896).

In 1896 he left university without a diploma to begin work as an actor, stage-director and performer, joining the Jung Wien (Young Vienna) group, which included Peter Altenberg, Leopold Andrian, Hermann Bahr, Richard Beer-Hofmann, Felix Dörmann, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and Felix Salten. In 1897, however, Kraus broke from this group with a biting satire Die demolirte Literatur [Demolished Literature], and was named Vienna correspondent for the newspaper Breslauer Zeitung. One year later, as an uncompromising advocate of Jewish assimilation, he attacked the Zionist Theodor Herzl with his polemic Eine Krone für Zion [A Crown for Zion] (1898).

On April 1, 1899, he renounced Judaism and in the same year founded his own newspaper, Die Fackel ("The Torch"), which he continued to direct, publish, and write until his death, and from which he launched his attacks on hypocrisy, psychoanalysis, corruption of the Habsburg empire, nationalism of the pan-German movement, laissez-faire economic policies, and numerous other bêtes noires. In its first decade, contributors included many well-known writers and artists such as Peter Altenberg, Richard Dehmel, Egon Friedell, Oskar Kokoschka, Else Lasker-Schüler, Adolf Loos, Heinrich Mann, Arnold Schönberg, August Strindberg, Georg Trakl, Frank Wedekind, Franz Werfel, and Oscar Wilde. After 1911, however, Kraus was sole author except for a few pieces by Strindberg.

In addition to his writings, Kraus gave numerous public readings during his career - between 1892 and 1936 he put on approximately 700 one-man performances, reading from the dramas of Bertolt Brecht, Gerhart Hauptmann, Johann Nestroy, Goethe, and Shakespeare, and also performing Offenbach's operettas, accompanied by piano and singing all the roles himself. He irritated Sigmund Freud, who in 1910 wrote to a friend 'he is a mad half-wit'.

Kraus never married, but from 1913 until his death, he had a close relationship with the Baroness Sidonie Nádherný von Borutin (1885-1950). In 1911 he was baptized as a Catholic, but in 1923 he left the Catholic Church.


Selected works

  • Die demolierte Literatur [Demolished Literature] (1897)
  • Eine Krone für Zion" [A Crown for Zion] (1898)
  • Sittlichkeit und Kriminalität [Morality and Crimical Justice] (1908)
  • Sprüche und Widersprüche [Sayings and Contradictions] (1909)
  • Die chinesische Mauer (1910)
  • Pro domo et mundo [For Home and for the World] (1912)
  • Nestroy und die Nachtwelt (1913)
  • Worte in Versen (1916-30)
  • Die letzten Tage der Menschheit (1918)
  • Weltgericht (1919)
  • Nachts [At Night] (1919)
  • Untergang der Welt durch schwarze Magie [The End of the World Through Black Magic](1922)
  • Literatur (1921)
  • Traumstück (1922)
  • Die letzten Tage der Menschheit: Tragädie in fünf Akten mit Vorspiel und Epilog [The Last Days of Mankind: Tragedy in Five Acts with Preamble and Epilogue] (1922)
  • Wolkenkuckucksheim (1923)
  • Traumtheater (1924)
  • Die Unüberwindlichen (1927)
  • Epigramme (1927)
  • Die Unüberwindlichen (1928)
  • Literatur und Lüge (1929)
  • Shakespeares Sonette (1933)
  • Die Sprache (posthumous, 1937)
  • Die dritte Walpurgisnacht [The Third Night of St. Walpurgis] (posthumous, 1952)

Some work has been re-issued in recent years:


References

  • Karl Kraus by L. Liegler (1921)
  • Karl Kraus by R. von Schaukaul (1933)
  • Karl Kraus in Sebstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten by P. Schick (1965)
  • The Last Days of Mankind: Karl Kraus and His Vienna by Frank Field (1967)
  • Karl Kraus by W.A. Iggers (1967)
  • Karl Kraus by H. Zohn (1971)
  • Wittgenstein's Vienna by A. Janik and S. Toulmin (1973)
  • Karl Kraus and the Soul Doctors by T.S. Szasz (1976)
  • Masks of the Prophet: The Theatrical World of Karl Kraus by Kari Grimstad (1981)
  • McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama, vol. 3, ed. by Stanley Hochman (1984)
  • Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist by Edward Timms (1986)
  • The Paper Ghetto: Karl Kraus and Anti-Semitism by John Theobald (1996)
  • Karl Kraus and the Critics by Harry Zohn (1997)
  • Karl Kraus, Apocalyptic Satirist by Edward Timms (2005)


External Links:


cs:Karl Kraus

de:Karl Kraus eo:Karl KRAUS hr:Karl Kraus ja:カール・クラウス (作家)

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