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Karl Kraus Online - Measuring Kraus as a Reader




Karl Kraus (1874–1936) is famous for his satire and criticism of (Viennese) society and its language (especially in the then new print-media) and for his precise use of words. Less well-known is the fact that Kraus also like to calculate, count and list -  in Die Fackel he liked to meticulously report on his appearances as a 'reader' in almost all the major towns and cities of Central Europe.

The quantity itself is impressive. Between 1910 and 1936, Karl Kraus gave readings in more than 40 European cities. His readings were not just a minority interest, but were soon a fixed part of the cultural calendar in Central Europe. From 1918, Kraus rarely spoke less than 20 times a year and sometimes gave more than  50 'lectures' per year. He filled Vienna's Konzerhaus and even travelled by plane to make his international appearances possible. The not inconsiderable profit from these activities he sometimes gave away, and here too he kept careful accounts.

Kraus‘s activities as a reader – as an extension of his activities as the editor of Die Fackel  and as a writer – have only been subject to more intensive research since around 2007. This "role" of Kraus as a reader is at the centre of the first section of "Karl Kraus Online", a multi-media, archival "Anti-Biography". It is not an attempt to make a new biographical interpretation of a complete 'portrait' of Kraus - rather, Kraus is seen in his cultural historical networks and through the materiality of his work. In objects, data and lists, the subject Karl Kraus (according to the logic of old archival order but also through the new social media) becomes visible and researchable in diverse ways. The users decide in which ways the material comes together.

"Karl Kraus Online" is designed for people who want to get a first impression of Karl Kraus, or the cultural life of his time, as well as for researchers with concrete questions about the material or the data connected with it.

The project - a partnership between the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography - is and remains a "Work in Progress" – by 2019, two further 'roles' of Kraus ("Die Rechtsperson" and "Der Heraugeber") will go online.

Karl Kraus Online (external link)