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Breaking Free: Karl Kraus

Novelists Jonathan Franzen and Lawrence Norfolk and literary historian Heide Kunzelmann join Philip Dodd to discuss Austrian satirist Karl Kraus and parallels with Trump's America.

American author Jonathan Franzen's interest in the Austrian satirist and journalist resulted in him publishing The Kraus Project. He joins Philip Dodd, novelist Lawrence Norfolk and literary historian, Heide Kunzelmann for a programme exploring the writing and politics of Karl Kraus (1874-1936) - whose artistic achievements include 700 one man performances of works by Brecht, Goethe, Shakespeare and others - plus performances of Offenbach's operettas, accompanied by piano and singing all the roles himself; whose magazine Die Fackel published Oskar Kokoschka, Adolf Loos, Heinrich Mann, Arnold Schönberg, August Strindberg and Oscar Wilde and whose support for other artists included assisting Frank Wedekind in staging his controversial play Pandora's Box.
In 1915 Kraus began writing a satirical play about World War One called The Last Days of Mankind which mixes dialogue drawn from contemporary documents with fantasical expressionist scenes of apocalypse. A dramatisation featuring actors Giles Havergal and Paul Schofield was broadcast by BBC Radio 3.

Part of Radio 3's Breaking Free series of programmes exploring music and culture in Vienna.

Producer: Zahid Warley

(Karl Kraus archive clip courtesy of the Austrian Mediathek).

Available now

45 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Interviewed Guest Jonathan Franzen
Presenter Philip Dodd
Interviewed Guest Lawrence Norfolk
Interviewed Guest Heide Kunzelmann
Producer Zahid Warley

Broadcast

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