Thursday, March 29, 2007

Karl Kraus Links

A detailed background essay on Karl Kraus, the Viennese satirist, by Clive James.

Kraus is another Austrian I want to read. This looks good too.

8 comments:

tom said...

how timely. your piece on Musil's aphorisms made me want to send you a link to Karl Kraus - author of quite a few excellent aphorisms (up there in the German language with Nietszche and Georg Christop Lichtenberg)

Alok said...

thanks Tom! they are all part of the same family it seems.

Antonia said...

these are goodlinks that complement each other, the first onedoes not speak so much aboiut the Fackel which the second one does. But to quote this Clive James, he is entirely right to describe Kraus as linguistic health inspector. Kraus was a complete nutcase. Lichtenberg in my opinion just as sharp, but a more loveable character. More variety also is in Lichtenberg than in Kraus. Kraus in the end was a fanatic.

Antonia said...

it must be very difficult to get good translations of Kraus. Lots of things I read in english don't work that well because all the puns get lost. All the sharpness and radicality is so much weaker.

Alok said...

Yes, I read another essay sometime back, I think it was in The Disinherited Mind by Erich Heller who said that Kraus is untranslatable because his writings are specifically about how the German language is used and abused.

this is another nice quote i found on the wikipedia:

At a time when one was generally decrying the bombardment of Shanghai by the Japanese, I met Karl Kraus struggling over one of his famous comma problems. He said something like: I know that everything is in vain when the house is burning. But I have to do this as long as it is at all possible; for if those who are obliged to look after commas had made sure they are always at the right place, then Shanghai would not be burning.

KUBLA KHAN said...

alok: one of the best essays on and about Kraus is by the philosopher Walter Benjamin. everything that benjamin wrote is great and limpid, including this essay. it is in Illuminations, edited by Arendt.
by the way, Have you read Benjamin?

Alok said...

Yes, I have read some of his essays, on kafka, proust, his personal library, on smoking hashish i think and few others too... I don't think I had heard of kraus when I last picked him up. Will check again. thanks for reminding.

Antonia said...

i agree it is a great essay. tho Benjamin was a completely different nature and one can see that. There is one big essay and a little fragment by Benjamin on Kraus. The big essay is also in volume two of the collected works...
Benjamin's essay on Proust is good too, but one can see precisely where he struggled, what his issues with Proust are and that is what is making it such a great essay.
Adorno is not too bad on Kraus either...