Rudolf Kassner

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kassner, Rudolf


Born Sept. 11, 1873, in Velké Pavlovice, Moravia; died Apr. 1, 1959, in Sierre, Switzerland. Austrian writer and idealist philosopher.

Kassner studied philosophy and history in Vienna and Berlin. Between 1897 and 1913 he traveled through Europe, North Africa, India, and Russia. After that he lived mainly in Vienna (in 1938 the Nazis prohibited the publication of his works), moving to Switzerland in 1946. He was a friend of R. M. Rilke and influenced his work.

Kassner’s world view derived from the panaesthetic outlook of German romanticism and was in many ways similar to the ideas and conceptions of the irrationalist Lebensphilosophie. He advanced the principles of a universal “physiognomy”—an intuitive interpretation of forms of life and of culture apart from any system of scientific foundation. Kassner held that in the modern world physiognomy had supplanted traditional metaphysics and that the unity of the world, as perceived through physiognomy, was revealed through diverse symbolic juxtapositions and comparisons. Kassner translated into German works from classical and European literatures, including works by A. S. Pushkin, N. V. Gogol, and L. N. Tolstoy.


Sämtliche Werke, vols. 1—. Düsseldorf-Cologne, 1969—.


Schmidt, M. Autobiographie und Physiognomik. Munich, 1970. (Dissertation.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the finest tradition of writing a history of ideas, Gray traces the development of such early physiognomic approaches in the works of Schopenhauer, Ludwig Klages, Rudolf Kassner, and Oswald Spengler, among others, right down to Husserl's phenomenology, thereby revealing plenty of correspondences and mutual dependencies between the various thinkers.
Rudolf Kassner, 'Sulla and the Satyr,' Anon 1, 1970, later in Literary Imagination 3, 1, 2001; 'A Small Lump of Earth,' Arion 8, 4, 1970; 'On Goethe's Greatness and his Fortune,' Delos 5, 1970.
Rudolf Kassner and Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Criticism as Art: The Reception of Pre-Raphaelitism in fin de siecle Vienna.
Christoph Siegrist and Wolfram Groddeck present aspects of this question, Elsbeth Dangel-Pelloquin traces stereotypes and their subversion in some of Jean Paul's female characters, Inge Rippmann discusses how Furst Puckler integrates social physiognomies into his literary portrayals, and Bernhard Boschenstein reveals Rudolf Kassner's portrait studies as being informed entirely by his own interpretation of the works of those portrayed.