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).

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

References in periodicals archive ?
"Trois poetes face a la crise de la tradition au tournant du siecle (1890-1929): Hugo Von Hoffmannsthal, Paul Valery, Rainer Maria Rilke".
Strauss' opera, with a superior libretto by Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, mixes earthy comedy and sophisticated psychology, never more audaciously than in this remarkable opening act, in which bawdy humor glides mysteriously and suddenly into one of the most emotionally and intellectually acute scenes in the operatic canon.
?Como no asociar a determinados artistas y escritores con un cafe determinado: a Bahr, Hoffmannsthal, Schnitzler y Kraus con el Griensteidl; a Altenberg, Trakl, Trotzki y Zweig con el Central, o a Klimt, Schiele, Musil, Roth y Broch con el Museum, o dicho con su hombre literario, cafe Nihilismus?
In the past Freud, Wittgenstein, Schnitzler, Karl Kraus, Wagner, Hoffmannsthal, Schoenberg and many other philosophers, writers, musicians came daily to the cafes to discuss their ideas.
Volkov discusses the role that this and other early published writing played in connecting Rathenau with Maximilian Harden, publisher of Die Zukunft and himself a convertedjew, who would introduce Rathenau to an elite cultural circle that included Gerhard Hauptmann, Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, Harry Kessler, Max Reinhardt, Frank Wedekind, and Stefan Zweig.