Karl Kraus: Austria’s Fearless Satirist
Rajan Datar talks about the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus and the end of the Austro-Hunagrian empire with Dr. Katharina Prager, Dr. Simon Ganahl and Dr. Ari Linden
The Austrian satirical writer Karl Kraus used his forensic pen to expose the Hapsburg Empire and 20th century Vienna for its dishonesty and decay. He was the master of the punchy one liner, as well as being extremely prolific: his magazine Die Fackel ran to 922 editions, that's some 22 thousand pages, and Kraus wrote most of them.
He was also full of contradictions: he could be both progressive and reactionary, sometimes profound and sometimes petty, and while he was born into affluence he remained concerned by other people's poverty. Many of his contradictions could be equally applied to the cultural world of Vienna itself in this period of turmoil and transition. And this makes Kraus - the journalist, poet, playwright, actor, lecturer and acerbic aphorist - a uniquely scathing and illuminating guide to this important historical epoch and the city at its heart.
Rajan Datar talks about Kraus with Dr. Katharina Prager from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, Dr. Simon Ganahl from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, both in Vienna, and Germanist Dr. Ari Linden from the University of Kansas.
Photo: Karl Kraus (Imagno/Getty Images)