The Kraus Project
A hundred years ago, the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus was among the most penetrating and farsighted writers in Europe. In his self-published magazine, Die Fackel, Kraus brilliantly attacked the popular media’s manipulation of reality, the dehumanizing machinery of technology and consumer capitalism, and the jingoistic rhetoric of a fading empire. But even though he had a fervent following, which included Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin, he remained something of a lonely prophet, and few people today are familiar with his work. Luckily, Jonathan Franzen is one of them.
In The Kraus Project, Franzen, whose “calm, passionate critical authority” has been praised in The New York Times Book Review, not only presents his definitive new translations of Kraus but annotates them spectacularly, with supplementary notes from the Kraus scholar Paul Reitter and the Austrian author Daniel Kehlmann. Kraus was a notoriously cantankerous and difficult writer, and in Franzen he has found his match: a novelist unafraid to voice unpopular opinions strongly, a critic capable of untangling Kraus’s often dense arguments to reveal their relevance to contemporary America.
Jonathan Franzen is the author of four novels (Freedom, The Corrections, Strong Motion, and The Twenty-Seventh City), two collections of essays (Farther Away and How to Be Alone), and a personal history (The Discomfort Zone), and the translator of Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, all published by FSG. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.
Daniel Kehlmann was born in Munich in 1975 and is the son of director Michael Kehlmann and actress Dagmar Mettler. In 1981, he and his family moved to Vienna, where he attended the Kollegium Kalksburg, a Jesuit College. He then studied philosophy and German studies at the University of Vienna. His first novel, Beerholms Vorstellung, was published in 1997. Kehlmann lectured on poetry at the universities in Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Goettingen and was honored with numerous awards, including the Candide Prize, the award of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Doderer Prize, the Kleist Prize (2006), and most recently the Welt literature award (2007). Kehlmann’s reviews and essays have been published in many magazines and newspapers, such as Der Spiegel, The Guardian, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Literaturen, and Volltext. His novel Ich und Kaminski was an international success and his novel Die Vermessung der Welt (Measuring the World), which so far has been translated into forty languages, became one of the most successful German novels of the post-war era. Daniel Kehlmann lives in Vienna and Berlin.
Karl Kraus (1874–1936) was an Austrian satirist, playwright, poet, aphorist, and journalist. From 1899 until his death, he published the literary and political review Die Fackel.
Martin Rauchbauer joined Deutsches Haus in April 2011 as the Director of the institution. He studied German Studies and Philosophy at the University of Vienna and has an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University in Bologna, Italy and Washington D.C. School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Concentration in European Studies and International Economics. He worked as a journalist for Austrian Radio and Television (ORF) and the news magazine Format before joining the Austrian Foreign Ministry (now the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs) in 2000. From 2007 until January 2011 he was the Deputy Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City. Before that he was the Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Mexico City and a defense analyst in the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Paul Reitter is associate professor in the department of Germanic languages and literatures at Ohio State University.
The Kraus Project will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in October 2013. Copies of the The Kraus Project will be sold at the event by the NYU bookstore at a 20% discount.
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The Kraus Project is a DAAD-sponsored event. Additional generous support is provided by Lufthansa.