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Daviau, D.G. (1978). Karl Kraus in English Translation. Psychoanal. Rev., 65(1):95-108.

(1978). Psychoanalytic Review, 65(1):95-108

Special Book Review

Karl Kraus in English Translation

Review by:
Donald G. Daviau, Ph.D.

In These Great Times: A karl kraus reader. Edited by Harry Zohn. Montreal: Engendre Press, 1976. 263 pp.

Half Truths and One-And-A-Half Truths: Selected Aphorisms. Edited and translated by Harry Zohn. Montreal: Engendra Press, 1976. 128 pp.

The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus. Abridged and edited by Frederick Ungar. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., Inc., 1974. 263 pp.

No Compromise: Selected Writings of Karl Kraus. Edited by Frederick Ungar. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., Inc., 1977. 260 pp.

Karl Kraus and the Soul Doctors: A Pioneer Critic and his Criticism of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. Thomas Szasz. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976. 180 pp.

Until recently, Karl Kraus, the Austrian writer, social critic, and Vienna's satirist in residence, was considered to be an untranslatable author. Suddenly, within the space of three years, five works in English translation have appeared, and from these books collectively English-speaking readers can now begin to form some judgment of Kraus and his writings on the basis of a rendition of his own words. Although it perhaps sounds exaggerated, there is in fact a greater difference in reading Kraus in translation than is the case with most other authors. The reason lies in Kraus's extremely rich and complex style. While obviously an author's style is always important, usually the subject matter dominates, and even in the case of a remarkable stylist like Thomas Mann, the content can be acceptably rendered into another language without severe loss, as we know from the brilliant translations of H. Lowe-Porter. In Kraus, however, language itself is often the very substance of his writings.

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