Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist, Volume 2


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The Postwar Crisis and the Rise of the Swastika

Edward Timms

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In this second volume of Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist, Edward Timms takes up Kraus’s story in November 1918, when the satirist responded to the creation of the new republics with a defiant hope, invoking international law against the dual threat of reactionary politics and irresponsible media. While contemporaries like Walter Benjamin regarded Kraus as heroically isolated, this book places him within a dynamic field of cultural production. Timms highlights the court cases Kraus pursued with his lawyer Oskar Samek and the theatrical projects that earned him Brecht’s friendship.

In the final section of the book, the author refutes the legend that Kraus responded with stunned silence to Hitler’s seizure of power. His career culminated in Third Walpurgis Night, an analysis of Nazi ideology that has proved enduringly influential. Timms concludes that Kraus’s lifelong critique of the media, combining Orwell’s political radicalism with Joyce’s linguistic playfulness, incisively anticipates the propaganda techniques of our own age.

Edward Timms is Research Professor in History at the Centre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex, and a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He is the author of Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist: Culture and Catastrophe in Habsburg Vienna, published by Yale University Press.

“For years, Kraus’s work gathered dust, and he is now all but unknown in America. Very little of his work has been translated into English because of the complexity of his rich German prose. But he is undergoing something of a renaissance, thanks in no small part to Timms…” - Jack Willoughby, Barron’s

“Edward Timms meticulously interprets this major writer’s most complex period of literary, cultural, and political activity, providing what amounts to an entire cultural history of the period.”—Professor Gilbert Carr, Trinity College Dublin

"... Timms has completed his magnum opus... In delineating Kraus's world with such a masterly care, he has illuminated a whole society - the lost culture of Central Europe in general, and its centre of excellence, Vienna."---Nigel Jones, Literary Review

"...a considerable achievement...His command of his subject's subtle and allusive prose is impressive." - Joe Bord, The Jewish Chronicle

"... not only a magisterial exploration of the entire interwar period, but a monument of scrupulous yet deeply engaged scholarship."---Times Literary Supplement

"Kraus has unarguably found in Timms a knowledgeable and faithful amanuensis, a postmodern Wagner to his modern Faust."—Richard John Ascarate, H-Net Reviews
ISBN: 9780300204605
Publication Date: July 23, 2013
662 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
50 b/w illus.
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