Dicta and Contradicta
From the decadent turn of the century to the Third Reich, the acerbic satirist Karl Kraus was one of the most famous -- and feared -- intellectuals ... Show synopsis From the decadent turn of the century to the Third Reich, the acerbic satirist Karl Kraus was one of the most famous -- and feared -- intellectuals in Europe. Through the polemical and satirical magazine Die Fackel (The torch), which he founded in 1899, Kraus launched wicked but unrelentingly witty attacks on literary and media corruption, sexual repression and militarism, and the social hypocrisy of fin-de-siecle Vienna. Kraus's barbed aphorisms were an essential part of his running commentary on Viennese culture. These miniature gems, as sharp as diamonds, demonstrate Kraus's highly cultivated wit and his unerring eye for human weakness, flaccidity, and hypocrisy. Kraus shies away from nothing; the salient issues of the day are lined up side by side, as before a firing squad, with such perennial concerns as sexuality, religion, politics, art, war, and literature. By turns antagonistic, pacifistic, realistic, and maddeningly misogynistic, Kraus's aphorisms provide the sting that precedes healing. In this new translation, Jonathan McVity master-fully renders Kraus's multilayered meanings, preserving the clever wordplay of the German in readable colloquial English. He also provides an introductory essay on Kraus's life and milieu and annotations that clarify many of the literary and sociohistorical allusions in the aphorisms.