Hugo von Hofmannsthal
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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).
WORKSGesammelte Werke, vols. 1–12. Frankfurt am Main, 1947–56.
Die Gedichte und kleinen Dramen. Leipzig, 1958.
In Russian translation:
Dramy. Moscow, 1906.
REFERENCESAksel’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 .
Weber, H. H. von Hofmannsthal: Bibliographie .... Berlin, 1966.
G. S. SLOBODKIN