collage by marguerita
Reading a little about Karl Kraus, I learn that “A liberated woman,” said Karl Kraus, “is a fish that has fought its way ashore.”
Kraus was a Jew, but if he had not sought baptism in 1911 he would have faced a lot of closed doors.
He wanted those doors to be open. He wasn’t against the Austro-Hungarian social order, he merely wanted it to be less stupid, and indeed it wasn’t until quite late in the war that he began blaming the Empire for having driven its various constituent populations into a slaughterhouse.
Kraus was essentially a blogger before the fact: his basic technique was to write a couple of hundred words about something silly in the newspaper. He sometimes wrote at length, but his admirers preferred him to keep it short.
Edward Timms’s biography Karl Kraus, a two-tome desk-breaker which can be taken as the instigation of the piece I am writing now, because such a big, factually precise yet historically approximate biography brings to a focus some of the problems that Kraus’s brilliant career exemplified. Clive James.com
(Australian Literary Review, March 2007)