Karl Kraus

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kraus, Karl


Born Apr. 28, 1874, in Gitschin, now Jičín, Czechoslovakia; died June 12, 1936, in Vienna. Austrian writer, publicist, and philologist.

In 1897, Kraus wrote a satirical lampoon, “Destroyed Literature,” against the Viennese decadents. He published and edited the journal Die Fackel (1899–1936), in which he carried on polemics with bourgeois philosophical, political, and aesthetic ideas. He published many essays and articles on literature and language and collections of satirical feuilletons and aphorisms about international and Austrian life. His major work was the philosophical antiwar drama The Last Days of Mankind (1918–19). In his lampoon “The Invincible Ones” (1928), Kraus glorified the Viennese workers who, in the summer of 1927, stormed a reactionary law court. Kraus’ verse, written in the spirit of Goethe’s philosophical lyric poetry, often approached the impressionist poetry of C. Morgenstern and D. von Liliencron. His style is filled with metaphors and contrasts.


Werke, vols. [1–9]. Munich, 1955–61.


Iggers, W. A. Karl Kraus: A Viennese Critic of the Twentieth Century. The Hague, 1967. (Bibliography, pp. 230–45.)
Engelmann, P. Dem Andenken an Karl Kraus. Vienna [1967].
Kuhn, C. Karl Kraus als Lyriker. Paris, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The final Ewig-Weibliche quote comes from an aphoristic sketch Altenberg published in Die Fackel in response to one of Frank Wedekind's "Lulu" plays, Erdgeist (x895).
The pale figure of death appears with a torch: "Und manchmal da drehet / Die Fackel er um" [And then sometimes he turns / The torch upside down] (Eichendorff ,Werke, Vol.
In these pages, Mahler-Werfel presents the whole panoply of Viennese cultural life: her stepfather, the painter Carl Moll and the world of the Secession, Karl Kraus (whose first edition of Die Fackel she both praises and criticizes), Peter Altenberg, the salon of Bertha Zuckerkandl, theater director Max Burckhard, and the Wagnerian tenor Erik Schmedes, who, in a passage on page 100, memorably confirms her perception of the essential vanity of singers.
Yet as author-editor of the journal Die Fackel (1899-1936) his career was in part defined by the gulf between the public's perception of a malicious journalist presumptuously confronting issues and personalities, and his self-perception as a morally aloof artist equipped to refine satirical negation into literary masterpieces.
Author and publisher, for almost forty years, of Die Fackel (The Beacon), which he described as an "anti-paper," Kraus freely exercised the journalistic prerogative of malice, but he did so with comprehensive, unforgiving intelligence.
In 1899 Kraus founded the literary and political review Die Fackel, of which he was sole author from 1911 and which ceased publication in 1936 with the rise of Nazism in Austria.
Much of this early life is described in two autobiographical volumes, Die gerette Zunge (1977; translated as The Tongue Set Free, 1979) and Die Fackel im Ohr (1980; translated as The Torch in The Ear, 1982).
In 1914 the political disaster of war had forced the eloquent commentator to turn the planned interruption of publication of Die Fackel, of that 'Fortgang der seit Jahren stets wachsenden and intensiveren Arbeit', in favour of his book projects (F 395-97, 1914, P.
Of special importance was the work of Karl Kraus and his periodical Die Fackel, the only significant periodical in critical opposition to established values in Vienna prior to the less successful but nevertheless important smaller periodicals of the Austrian expressionists.
(47) Another possible influence is the telephone discussion of the arrangements for the funeral of Archduke Ferdinand in Scene 3 of the 'Vorspiel' to Karl Kraus's Die letzten Tage der Menschheit: Tragodie in funf Akten mit Vorspiel und Epilog (Vienna and Leipzig: Verlag 'Die Fackel', 1919), pp.