Hofmannsthal, Hugo von

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Hofmannsthal, Hugo von

(ho͞o`gō fən hōf`mänstäl), 1874–1929, Austrian dramatist and poet. His first verses were published when he was 16 years old, and his play The Death of Titian (1892, tr. 1913) when he was 18. His varied gifts as poet and as dramatist are shown in his librettos for Richard Strauss, including Elektra (1903), Der Rosenkavalier (1911), Ariadne auf Naxos (1912), and Arabella (1933). After World War I, he was one of the founders of the Salzburg Festival, where his plays, such as the tragedy Der Turm (1925), his adaptation of Everyman (1911, tr. 1917), are regularly produced.

Bibliography

See his Selected Writings (3 vol., 1952–63); his correspondence with Strauss (1955, tr. 1961); studies by H. Broch (1984), M. Hamburger (1970), and B. Bennett (1988).

Hofmannsthal, Hugo von

 

Born Feb. 1, 1874, in Vienna; died July 15, 1929, in Rodaun. Austrian writer and essayist. Descended from an aristocratic family.

Hofmannsthal studied law and philology in Vienna and began publishing in the 1890’s. He devoted his talent to impressionism, symbolism, and neoromanticism. Repulsion for bourgeois reality and the uninspired naturalism in literature led Hofmannsthal to the cult of beauty and pleasures (his one-act drama The Death of Titian, 1892). His collection Poems and Short Plays (1907), along with damaging attitudes, expressed the dream of a life full of value, which aestheticism or hedonism cannot provide (the play Death and the Fool, 1894; published 1899). However, in Hofmann-sthal’s free adaptations of tragedies by Sophocles and Euripides (Electra, 1904–06, and Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1906) the heroes embody cruelty and pathological sensitivity, or they are the involuntary victims of fate. In the stylized medieval-type mystery plays (Everyman, 1911, and The Great Salzburg Theater of the World, 1922) there is a deepening of the decadent ideas of pessimism and mysticism. Hofmannsthal had a hostile attitude toward the October Revolution in Russia, and he aristocratically repudiated the power of the people (the drama The Tower, 1925).

WORKS

Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1–12. Frankfurt am Main, 1947–56.
Die Gedichte und kleinen Dramen. Leipzig, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Dramy. Moscow, 1906.

REFERENCES

Aksel’rod, I. Literaturno-kriticheskie ocherki. Minsk, 1923.
Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1968.
Hammelmann, H. A. Hugo von Hofmannsthal. New Haven, Conn., 1957.
Hamburger, M. H. von Hofmannsthal. Göttingen [1964].
Weber, H. H. von Hofmannsthal: Bibliographie .... Berlin, 1966.

G. S. SLOBODKIN

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McCulloh endnotes one of Sebald's literary influences on the topic of monism, Hugo Hofmannsthal, who might also be consulted on the possibility that avowing natural trauma has similar potential to avowing structural trauma.