Kraus, Karl

Kraus, Karl

(kärl krous), 1874–1936, Austrian essayist and poet, b. Bohemia. His satirical review the Fackel lashed out at hypocrisy, intellectual corruption, and the machine age. His voluminous works include Worte in Versen (9 vol., 1916–30, partial tr. Poems, 1930); Die letzten Tage der Menschheit (1919, tr. The Last Days of Mankind, 1974), a monumental drama of World War I; and volumes of essays, aphorisms, and epigrams.

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.

WORKS

Werke, vols. [1–9]. Munich, 1955–61.

REFERENCES

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.
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His history is told through sketches of such diverse historical figures as Adolf Fischof, Rosa Luxemburg, Nathan Bimbaum, Max Nordau, Friedrich Nietzsche, Theodor Herzl, Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig, Karl Kraus, Karl Lueger and Adolf Hitler.