Karl kraus
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Karl Kraus. Satire vs. Journalism A look at Kraus’ “Last Days of Mankind” Seth Goodspeed Deutsch 346.

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Karl Kraus

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Karl kraus

Karl Kraus

Satire vs. Journalism

A look at Kraus’ “Last Days of Mankind”

Seth Goodspeed

Deutsch 346


A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer

“Here was a family constellation that was typical at the turn of the century: the sons of Central European Jewish businessmen - often self-made men, strong and self-willed, heads of patriarchally organized families - turned to literature” (Zohn 1971, 13).

“A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer.”


Karl kraus

“His parodistic and mimic talents asserted themselves at an early age; they were fed by the impulses he received at the old Burgtheater…By 1891 the young man wrote, directed, and acted in dramatic sketches. In those years, Kraus’s life…centered about the theater and coffeehouses” (Zohn 1971, 14)

“With Kraus it was always the unusually vivid imaginative powers of his mind and heart that gave birth to satire: satire arose from his faculty of experiencing the sufferings of others as an injustice done to himself. I remember how he would turn pale, how the veins in his forehead would swell, how he glazed with a look of incomprehending astonishment at the newspaper in which he now read day after day of the things more frightening than the worst carnage of the last war” Dr. Heinrich Fischer (Field, 5).


Karl kraus

“I and my public understand each other very well: it does not hear what I say, and I don’t say what it wants to hear.”


Satires that the censor can understand are justly forbidden

“Satires that the censor can understand are justly forbidden.”

  • “There are two fine things in the world: to be part of the Neue Freie Presse or to despise it” (Zohn 1971, 16).


Karl kraus

“How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read.”

  • June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated by Serbian nationalist

  • 1915, Kraus begins “Die Letzten Tage der Menschheit”


No ideas and the ability to express them that s a journalist

EIN REPORTER: Hier nimmt man am besten die Stimmung auf. Wie ein Lauffeuer, sehn sie, hatte sich am Korso die Nachricht verbreitet, wo sich die Wogen brechen. Das fröhliche Leben und Treiben, das sich sonst um diese Stunde zu entfalten pflegte, verstummte mit einem Male, Niedergeschlangenheit, das Gefühl tiefer Erschütterung,zumeist aber stille Trauer, konnte man von allen Gesichtern ablesen. Unbekannte Leute sprachen einander an, man riß sich die Extrablätter aus der Hand, es bildeten sich Gruppen-

ZWEITER REPORTER: Da möcht ich so vorschlagen: In Alleen der Ringstraße sah man Gruppenbildungen von Leuten, die das Ereignis besprachen. Wachleute zerstreuten die Gruppen und erklärten, daß sie weitere Gruppenbildungen nicht dulden würden. Hierauf bildeten sich Gruppen und das Publikum began sich zu massieren - sehn Sie, dort!

“No ideas and the ability to express them - that’s a journalist.”


The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people meaner

ERSTER KRIEGSBERICHTERSTAT-TER: Ich finde es gut,/hier stehen zu bleiben./Ich habe den Mut,/diese Schlacht zu beschreiben.

ZWEITER KRIEGSBERICHTERSTAT-TER: Ja, hier wie mir scheint/kann noch etwas geschehn./Der Punkt ist vom Feind/sehr gut eingesehn.

ERTSE: Hier liegen die Helden,/hier ist es bewegt,/und wenn wir es melden,/es Aufsehn erregt.

ZWEITE: Es imponiert ja doch allen,/ authentisch mit Bildern,/ist einer gefallen,/die Stimmung zu schildern.

ERSTE: Wir sind gern informiert/von besonderen Seiten./Was mich intressiert,/sind die Einzelheiten.

“The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people meaner.”


The real truths are those that can be invented

“The real truths are those that can be invented.”

  • ZWEITE: Sie, machen S’ zum End’/ein verklärtes Gesicht!/Ich brauch’ den Moment,/wo das Aug Ihnen bricht.

  • ERSTE: Der erzählt nichts - zu peinlich!/Der wird immer verstockter./Er hält mich wahrscheinlich/für einen Dokter!


To me all men are equal there are jackasses everywhere and i have the same contempt for them all

HERR DER HYÄNEN: Und der es einst vollbrachte,/an seinem Kreuz verschmachte,/wert, daß man ihn vergißt,/Ich tret’ an seine Stelle,/die Hölle ist die Helle!/Ich bin der Antichrist.

Der alte Pakt zerreiße!/So wahr ich Moritz heiße,/der Wurf ist uns geglückt!/Weil jener andre Hirte/sich ganz gewaltig irrte!/Ich heiße Benedikt!

CHOR DER HYÄNEN: So sei’s! So sei’s!/Wir treten mit Mut./Wir treten nicht leis./Wir trinken das Blut!

Wir treten mit Mut./Wir trinken es heiß./Wir treiben das Blut./Wir treiben den Preis!

Vergossen, vergessen,/genossen, gegessen,/wir prassen und pressen,/wir treiben den Preis!

“To me all men are equal: there are jackasses everywhere, and I have the same contempt for them all.”


Karl kraus

“National Socialism did not destroy the press; rather, the press created National Socialism - seemingly as a reaction, but actually as a fulfillment” (Zohn 1971, 23).

“When someone behaves like a beast, he says, ‘After all, one is only human.’ But when he is treated like a beast, he says, ‘After all, one is human.’”


Hate must make a man productive otherwise one might as well love

“Hate must make a man productive. Otherwise one might as well love.”

Fragen? Questions?


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