Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea: Selected Essays and Addresses, 1906-1927 9781557535900, 9781612491783, 9781612491943

The Austrian writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) was one of the great modernists in the German language, but his im

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Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea: Selected Essays and Addresses, 1906-1927
 9781557535900, 9781612491783, 9781612491943

Table of contents :
Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
Foreword
Preface
Introduction
1. The Poet and Our Time (1906)
2. Boycott of Foreign Languages? (1914)
3. The affirmation of austria (1914)
4. Our Foreign Words (1914)
5. We Austrians and Germany (1915)
6. Grillparzer’s Political Legacy (1915)
7. Austria in the Mirror of Its Literature (1916)
8. The Idea of Europe (1916)
9. The Austrian Idea (1917)
10. The Prussian and the Austrian (1917)
11. Adam Müller’s Twelve Lectures on Eloquence (1920)
12. Three Small Observations (1921)
13. K. E. Neumann’s Translation of the Holy Writings of the Buddhists (1921)
14. View of the Spiritual Condition of Europe (1922)
15. New German Contributions (1921)
16. Czech and Slovak Folk Songs (1922)
17. Address on Grillparzer (1922)
18. Stifter’s Indian Summer (1924)
19. The Written Word as the Spiritual Space of the Nation (1927)
20. The Value and Dignity of the German Language (1927)
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

Central European Studies Charles W. Ingrao, senior editor Gary B. Cohen, editor Franz Szabo, editor

Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea Selected Essays and Addresses, 1906–1927

Translated and Edited by David S. Luft

Purdue University Press West Lafayette, Indiana

Copyright 2011 by Purdue University. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hofmannsthal, Hugo von, 1874-1929. [Selections. English. 2011] Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian idea : selected essays and addresses, 1906-1927 / translated and edited by David S. Luft. p. cm. -- (Central European studies) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-55753-590-0 1. Hofmannsthal, Hugo von, 1874-1929--Translations into English. 2. Hofmannsthal, Hugo von, 1874-1929--Political and social views--Sources. I. Luft, David S. II. Title. PT2617.O47A2 2011 838’.912--dc22 2010044563

◆ Publication of this book has been made possible through the generous support of the Horning Foundation.



Willard Haas und Edgar Beckham gewidmet

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Contents Foreword

ix

Preface

xi

Introduction

1

1. The Poet and Our Time (1906)

33

2. Boycott of Foreign Languages? (1914)

53

7KH$I¾UPDWLRQRI$XVWULD 

57

4. Our Foreign Words (1914)

61

5. We Austrians and Germany (1915)

67

6. Grillparzer’s Political Legacy (1915)

73

7. Austria in the Mirror of Its Literature (1916)

79

8. The Idea of Europe (1916)

89

9. The Austrian Idea (1917)

99

10. The Prussian and the Austrian (1917)

103

11. Adam Müller’s Twelve Lectures on Eloquence (1920)

107

12. Three Small Observations (1921)

111

13. K. E. Neumann’s Translation of the Holy Writings of the Buddhists (1921)

121

14. View of the Spiritual Condition of Europe (1922)

127

15. New German Contributions (1921)

131

16. Czech and Slovak Folk Songs (1922)

135

17. Address on Grillparzer (1922)

139

18. Stifter’s Indian Summer (1924) 19. The Written Word as the Spiritual Space of the Nation (1927)

151 157

20. The Value and Dignity of the German Language (1927)

171

Bibliography

177

Index

181

Foreword It is a great pleasure for the editors of Central European Studies to be able to SXEOLVKWKLVYROXPHLQWKHVHULHV,WLQFOXGHVWKHPRVWVLJQL¾FDQWDQGLQWHUHVWLQJ of the great Austrian writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s essays on Austria, the relationship of Austria to Germany and of Austria and Germany to the rest of Europe. Only a few of these pieces have ever been published in English before. David S. Luft, a highly accomplished scholar of modern Austrian and Central European intellectual and cultural history, has selected, translated, and annotated the essays. He has also provided a thoughtful and lucid introduction to WKHLUVLJQL¾FDQFHDQGWKHLUSODFHLQWKHODUJHUERG\RI+RIPDQQVWKDOµVZRUN7KH translations present the essays in idiomatic modern English, which still captures much of the beautiful literary style of the German original. :HWKLQNRI+RIPDQQVWKDODVDPDVWHUIXODXWKRURISRHWU\VWRULHVSOD\VDQG opera libretti; but he was also a dedicated essayist who wrote on a considerable range of topics. It is lamentable that only a small portion of those essays has been translated into English up to now. Those included in this volume remind us that Hofmannsthal retained a strong engagement in the cultural and social issues of the world in which he lived, even if much about the political life of his day frustrated him. His engagement in contemporary affairs grew particularly strong during World War I, when he served as something of a cultural ambassador for Austria and gave public lectures in many places. The essays presented here, however, focus on the Austrian idea, and what Hofmannsthal saw as the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual role of Austria in European history and its mediating role between Germany, particularly modern Germany and its nationalism, and the (XURSHDQSHRSOHVWRWKHHDVW,QWKHVHHVVD\VZH¾QGPDQ\RI+RIPDQQVWKDOµV same concerns about language, culture, and aesthetics, which are familiar from KLV OLWHUDU\ ZRUNV UHIUDFWHG WKURXJK WKH SULVP RI KLV VHDUFKLQJ UH¿HFWLRQV RQ Austria’s role in Europe, both past and present. Both those readers interested in +RIPDQQVWKDOµVOLWHUDU\ZRUNVDQGWKRVHZLWKEURDGHULQWHUHVWVLQHDUO\WZHQWLHWK FHQWXU\ (XURSHDQ FXOWXUDOKLVWRU\ ZLOO ¾QGPXFKWRSRQGHUDQGVDYRULQWKHVH wonderful essays. —Gary B. Cohen Series Editor

ix

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Preface , EHFDPH LQWHUHVWHG LQ +XJR YRQ +RIPDQQVWKDO LQ UHFHQW \HDUV DIWHU ZRUNLQJ for much of my scholarly life on another twentieth-century writer, Robert Musil. In an unusually creative generation of Austrian novelists, poets, and essayists, Hofmannsthal and Musil were perhaps the most distinguished essayists, but in FHUWDLQUHVSHFWVP\ZRUNRQ0XVLOKDGGLVWDQFHGPHIURP+RIPDQQVWKDOLQSDUW because Musil was more at home with modern science and technology. And, for the most part, I saw Hofmannsthal, as others did, primarily as a poet and playZULJKW,QGHHGZKHQ,ZDVZRUNLQJRQ0XVLO+RIPDQQVWKDOµVHVVD\VZHUHVWLOO QRWZLGHO\NQRZQDQGDSSUHFLDWHG0RUHUHFHQWO\+RIPDQQVWKDOµVDSSHDOWRPH was that more than any other person he contributed to our understanding of the GLVWLQFWLYHHWKRVRI$XVWULDQFXOWXUH$V,ZRUNHGRQDERRNDERXW$XVWULDQLQtellectual history, The Austrian Tradition in German Culture, it became clear to me that countless widely held views of Austrian culture and intellectual life had GHULYHGIURP+RIPDQQVWKDORIWHQZLWKOLWWOHH[SOLFLWUHIHUHQFHRUFODUL¾FDWLRQ In some regards, we may say that Hofmannsthal invented the Austrian tradition, in much the same way that national traditions were invented around the world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But another dimension of HofPDQQVWKDOµVZRUNLVLPSRUWDQWWRPH+HZDVRQHRIWKHJUHDW*HUPDQZULWHUVRI the twentieth century, and he located himself very much in the tradition of German literature, despite his advocacy of what was distinctive in the contribution RI$XVWULDQVWRWKHEURDGH[SHULHQFHRI*HUPDQVSHDNLQJSHRSOH+HZDVDOVR concerned with characterizing what was distinctively Austrian, and we might say that “Austria” was the form of his conservatism. Hofmannsthal was more centrally concerned than Musil with rescuing what was of value in the tradition—and conservative in this sense. But at the same time he was very similar to Musil in his commitment to Europe and in his deep sense of irony—qualities that were decisively shaped for both writers by the First World War. Hofmannsthal’s own attempt to come to terms with the challenges of life in the modern world has a VLJQL¾FDQFHWKDWJRHVEH\RQGWKHIDWHRIWKH+DEVEXUJ0RQDUFK\DQGEHORQJVWR modern European literature and culture more broadly. I began this translation edition while I was still at the University of CaliforQLD6DQ'LHJRDQG,ZDQWWRWKDQN8&6'µV&RPPLWWHHRQ5HVHDUFKIRUWKHLU VXSSRUWIRUP\ZRUN6LQFH,FDPHWR2UHJRQ6WDWH8QLYHUVLW\LQWKHIDOORI , KDYH EHQH¾WHG IURP WKH JHQHURXV VXSSRUW RI WKH +RUQLQJ (QGRZPHQW LQ WKH xi

Humanities. Several of my friends in German and Comparative Literature enFRXUDJHGPHWRXQGHUWDNHWKLVSURMHFWDWWKHRXWVHW%XUWRQ3LNH.DWKHULQH$UHQV 5HJLQD.HFKW0LFKDHO+HLPDQG&\QWKLD:DON,QWKHHDUO\VWDJHVRIP\WUDQVlating, three friends were especially helpful with their comments on the opening HVVD\ .ULVWLQ 5HELHQ -RH %XVE\ DQG 'RQ :DOODFH 7KUHH QDWLYH VSHDNHUV RI *HUPDQZRUNHGIRUPHDVUHVHDUFKDVVLVWDQWVDWGLIIHUHQWVWDJHVLQWKHSURMHFW $QQH6FKHQGHUOHLQ7KRPDV.RHQLJDQG'LHWHU0DQGHUVFKHLG KLPVHOIDSURIHVsional translator) offered helpful perspectives on particularly opaque passages LQ+RIPDQQVWKDOµV*HUPDQ.DUD5LW]KHLPHUDQG.ULVWLQ5HELHQERWKSURYLGHG thoughtful, provocative readings of my introduction, alerting me to the perspecWLYHVRIVFKRODUVLQQHDUE\¾HOGV,DOVRZDQWWRWKDQNP\HGLWRU*DU\&RKHQDQG WKHWZRUHDGHUVIRU3XUGXH8QLYHUVLW\3UHVV)UDQN7URPPOHUDQGDQDQRQ\PRXV UHDGHU,HVSHFLDOO\ZDQWWRWKDQN0DVRQ7DWWHUVDOOZKRVHGHFLVLRQWROHDYHWKH University of British Columbia to complete his doctorate with me in Corvallis contributed so much to my own experience at Oregon State University and to P\ZRUNRQ+RIPDQQVWKDO,WKDVEHHQDSOHDVXUHWRKDYHKLPDVP\UHVHDUFKDVVLVWDQWZKLOH,ZDVZRUNLQJRQWKLVSURMHFWDQG,KDYHDSSUHFLDWHGKLVWKRXJKWIXO LQVLJKWVDQGZLVHHGLWLQJ,KDYHEHQH¾WHGIURPDOORIWKLVFRXQVHOEXWKHUHPRUH WKDQLQDQ\ZRUNWKHPLVWDNHVDUHHQWLUHO\PLQH,GHGLFDWHWKLVERRNWRWKHWZR teachers who guided me so wisely in the early stages of learning German. —David S. Luft August 2010 Corvallis

xii



INTRODUCTION



The Austrian writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874–1929) was one of the great modernists in the German language, but his importance as a major intellectual of the early twentieth century has not received adequate attention in the Englishspeaking world. Hofmannsthal’s admirers are familiar with his poetry, plays, DQG OLEUHWWL RU SHUKDSV ZLWK KLV SURVH ¾FWLRQ EXW PRVW RI KLV HVVD\V DUH VWLOO untranslated and unknown to readers of English. Yet as J. D. McClatchy has recently pointed out, Hofmannsthal’s essays “occupy nearly a third of his collected works,” and they “are in many ways the truest portrait of his mind.”1 One essay, the letter of Lord Chandos (1902), has been translated many times and is widely recognized as a crucial text for modern literature and theories of language; what LVPXFKOHVVZHOONQRZQLVWKDW+RIPDQQVWKDOµVHVVD\V¾OOVHYHUDOYROXPHV2 Even German and Austrian scholars have shown only slight interest in Hofmannsthal as an essayist. His essays had received comparatively little attention when he died in 1929, and not until more than a generation later did Germanists return to them in a serious way.3 2QHREVWDFOHWRXQGHUVWDQGLQJ+RIPDQQVWKDOµVLQWHOOHFWXDOVLJQL¾FDQFHKDV been his peculiar status as an Austrian intellectual and the degree to which AusWULDFDPHWREHFHQWUDOWRKLVPDWXUHWKRXJKW$VDPDMRU¾JXUHLQ*HUPDQOLWerature who was deeply concerned with the German nation and German culture, Hofmannsthal has often been associated with Germany, while his interest in an HPSLUHWKDWQRORQJHUH[LVWHGDIWHUKDVEHHQGLI¾FXOWWRDSSUHFLDWH,Q the English writer Edward Gordon Craig called Hofmannsthal “the most intelligent man in Germany,” a reminder both of what he meant to the English-speaking ZRUOGEHIRUHDQGRIKRZGLI¾FXOWLWZDVHYHQIRUFRQWHPSRUDULHVWRORFDWH him accurately in the Habsburg Monarchy rather than Prussia’s German Empire.4 Once the Great War began, Austrian perspectives on European politics and culture had less appeal for Anglo-American intellectuals, who were concerned with defeating Austria and creating a future world of nation-states without the Habsburg 0RQDUFK\,QGHHGWKH(QJOLVKVSHDNLQJZRUOGORVWLQWHUHVWLQ+RIPDQQVWKDODQG sympathy for Austrians just at the point when writing about Austrian and European culture became Hofmannsthal’s principal preoccupation. The First World War was the great common European experience of the early twentieth century, 1

2



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

but it is also perhaps what divides English-speaking people most from the history and culture of Germany and Austria.5 Thinking about the historical meaning of Austria was a new departure for +RIPDQQVWKDOLQEXWLWZDVYHU\PXFKFRQWLQXRXVZLWKKLVUH¿HFWLRQVRQ European culture before the war. Even after the war, his thinking about Austria RXWOLYHGWKH+DEVEXUJ0RQDUFK\DQG¿RZHGLQWRKLVXQGHUVWDQGLQJRIWKH(XURpean idea and the history of German culture since the eighteenth century. What is often overlooked in discussions of the Austrian idea is that for Hofmannsthal it is an idea and not a description of the Austrian state or Austrian national identity. For Hofmannsthal, the Austrian idea was a vision of Austria’s intellectual, spiriWXDOFXOWXUDODQGSRWHQWLDOO\SROLWLFDOVLJQL¾FDQFH3HUKDSVKLVFOHDUHVWGH¾QLWLRQ appears in his essay on the Austrian idea in 1917, at a time when he was coming to understand that the monarchy was unlikely to survive the war: “This primary and fateful gift for compromise with the East—let us say it precisely: toward compromise between the old European, Latin-German and the new European, Slavic world—this only task and raison d’être of Austria.” For Hofmannsthal, the Austrian idea is the idea of mediation, especially mediation between the Germans and the West Slavs or between Western European civilization and the cultures to the east. Hofmannsthal wrote a great variety of intellectually and emotionally rich HVVD\VEHWZHHQDQG7KHHVVD\VLQWKLVYROXPHDUHUHSUHVHQWDWLYHRI this body of work, but many others are not included here, even some of his essays on Austria, such as those on Prince Eugene and Maria Theresia.7 ,Q WKLV FROOHFWLRQ,KDYHHPSKDVL]HGHVVD\VWKDWGHDOZLWKWKH$XVWULDQLGHDDQGZLWKWKH distinctive position of German-speaking Austrians between German nationalism DQGSHRSOHVWRWKH(DVWZKHWKHULQWKH+DEVEXUJ0RQDUFK\RUEH\RQGLWEXW, have also included essays that locate his thinking about Austria in relation to the EURDGHUVLWXDWLRQRI*HUPDQDQG(XURSHDQFXOWXUH7KH¾UVWHVVD\LQWKLVYROXPH ²7KH 3RHW DQG 2XU 7LPH³   H[SUHVVHV +RIPDQQVWKDOµV YLHZ RI KLV RZQ place in European culture before the First World War and is a broad statement of his understanding of the writer’s role in modern culture, which did not change in any fundamental way even after the war. The remaining essays appeared during RUDIWHUWKHZDUZKHQ+RIPDQQVWKDOZDVLQKLVIRUWLHVRUHDUO\¾IWLHV$OWKRXJK he became more involved in the social and political life of Austria and Germany than he had been before 1914, his real concerns and contributions had to do with language, literature, and culture. From the beginning of the war, Hofmannsthal’s conception of his own nation moved between Austria and Germany, and it was nearly always closely tied to language and to the great monuments of literature, whether Austrian or broadly German.8

,QWURGXFWLRQ



3

◆◆◆ Hofmannsthal belonged to an extraordinarily creative generation of writers, artists, and musicians who lived and worked in German-speaking Central Europe. Born between 1870 and 1890, these intellectuals were closely associated with modernism in the arts. They reached maturity in the decade before the First World :DUEXWWKH\ZHUHDOVR\RXQJHQRXJKWRVHUYHDVRI¾FHUVDQGPHGLFDORUGHUOLHV GXULQJDZDUWKDWFKDQJHGDOPRVWHYHU\WKLQJDERXW(XURSHDQOLIH,UHIHUWRWKHP as the generation of 1905 to emphasize the year of the Russian Revolution and the First Moroccan Crisis, when the likelihood of European war and revolution became immediate.9 Albert Einstein’s paper on special relativity represents another powerful dimension of 1905 as a point of reference for Central European LQWHOOHFWXDOVHVSHFLDOO\IRU$XVWULDQVZKRDGPLUHG(UQVW0DFK ° )RU intellectuals in the generation of 1905, the First World War was a decisive turning point, but this was especially true for Hofmannsthal. As Ernst Robert Curtius later put it, “[t]he youth of 1905 wanted to be aesthetic; the youth of 1925 want to be political.”10 This observation also corresponded to Hofmannsthal’s own deYHORSPHQWRYHUWKHFRXUVHRIWKHVHWZHQW\\HDUVHYHQWKRXJKKLVVLJQL¾FDQFH remained primarily literary and cultural. Hofmannsthal believed, as he put it in the 1920s, that his generation of intellectuals had found themselves “in one of the most serious spiritual crises to shake Europe since the sixteenth century, if not since the thirteenth.” He continued in the same passage: “And the thought is not far off that ‘Europe,’ the word taken as a spiritual concept, has ceased to exist.”11 The sense of cultural crisis was already palpable to many intellectuals before the war, and it became apparent to almost everyone once the war began. For Hofmannsthal, as for Robert Musil (1880–1942), this sense of cultural crisis was central to the creative work of the generation that reached maturity before the war: This crisis affected all of the traditional European ideologies from Christianity to Marxism, but at its center was the liberal culture of reason, individualism, and progress—and the educated bourgeois elite which had advocated these values since the late eighteenth century. Not only was liberalism confronted by the political challenges of the mass parties, but something more diffuse with respect to the motivating power of culture seems to have been ORVWDURXQGWKHVDPHWLPH7KHODFNRID¾UPLQWHOOHFWXDOVWUXFWXUHWRLQIRUP the feelings and actions of the individual expressed itself during the early twentieth century in a period of cultural irrationalism and intense ideological FRQ¿LFW12

This was the context for Hofmannsthal’s creative work, including his essays about Austria and modern culture. Hofmannsthal was born in Vienna in 1874 to an ennobled banking family that belonged to what was known in Austria as second society, the highly

4



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

cultivated world of the lower nobility, and he was perhaps the most cultivated person this nineteenth-century culture produced.13 Despite his high social status, Hofmannsthal did not come from great wealth. His family’s elite social position had been established by his great-grandfather, a Jewish banker who had settled in Vienna in the late eighteenth century.14 Hofmannsthal’s grandfather married DQ,WDOLDQDQGFRQYHUWHGWR&DWKROLFLVPDQG-HZLVKFXOWXUHDQGWUDGLWLRQVHHP to have had little or no impact on Hofmannsthal as a child. As Hermann Broch °  HPSKDVL]HG LQ KLV EULOOLDQW HVVD\ Hofmannsthal and His Time, Hofmannsthal’s childhood was profoundly shaped by his father’s love for theater and the high culture of Vienna.15 And Michael Hamburger points out that Hofmannsthal was an only child who seems never to have felt the need to rebel against his parents. Even as a teenager, Hofmannsthal was already D ¾JXUH RI P\WKLF SURSRUWLRQV EHFDXVH RI KLV SUHFRFLW\ DV D SRHW +H MRLQHG WKH FLUFOH RI ZULWHUV DURXQG +HUPDQQ %DKU °  NQRZQ DV Jung Wien (Young Vienna), most of whom were considerably older than he, and he quickly achieved European stature. At the same time, Hofmannsthal’s uneasiness with ¾QGHVLqFOHDHVWKHWLFLVPZDVDOUHDG\DSSDUHQWDWOHDVWDVHDUO\DVKLVIULHQGVKLS ZLWKWKH*HUPDQSRHW6WHIDQ*HRUJH ° LQWKHHDUO\VDQGWKHLU work together on the literary journal Blätter für die Kunst. This intense friendship brought home to Hofmannsthal the sharp differences of style and values between the two men. Hofmannsthal completed his year of voluntary military service at the age of twenty in 1894 in the way that was customary for upper-middle-class intellectuDOVLQ$XVWULDDQGDOWKRXJKKHGLGQRW¾JKWDWWKHIURQWGXULQJWKH)LUVW:RUOG War, he worked for a year in the war ministry and came to feel a strong connection with the generation of intellectuals who energized the monarchy’s army after 1914. He completed his doctorate in Romance philology at the University of Vienna in 1899 and seriously considered an academic career, but he decided instead to be a writer. He married Gertrud Schlesinger in 1901, and they had three children; she had been Jewish but converted to Catholicism when they married. The couple lived in Rodaun, near Vienna, but Hofmannsthal also spent considerable time in other countries, whether as a traveler or as a lecturer—mainly in Europe but also in North Africa in 1925. His cosmopolitanism, which included his close connection as a young man to both English and French culture, was quite striking even in a generation that felt itself to be European and moved easily across national boundaries.17 This internationalism of the prewar years is an important point of reference for Hofmannsthal’s understanding of German cosmopolitanism, which continued to inform his thinking about Austria and his understanding of Europe in the 1920s. He died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1929—two days after his son Franz committed suicide. Hofmannsthal was widely celebrated as one of the great poets of his time, and one distinguished literary scholar of his

,QWURGXFWLRQ



5

generation called him a “spiritual-moral authority” of a kind that German culture had only rarely produced.18 +RIPDQQVWKDOµV UHSXWDWLRQ DV D OLWHUDU\ ¾JXUH KDV EHHQ GRPLQDWHG E\ KLV early poetry and his connection to aestheticism and symbolism, and it is primarLO\DVDOLWHUDU\¾JXUHWKDWKHLVNQRZQLQWKH(QJOLVKVSHDNLQJZRUOG)RUDORQJ time, critics and scholars emphasized his precocity as a lyric poet and his association in the 1890s with Bahr and George.19 More recently there has been greater interest in Hofmannsthal’s contributions to theater, including his collaborations ZLWK5LFKDUG6WUDXVV ° DQG0D[5HLQKDUGW ° 20 Scholars have emphasized the letter of Lord Chandos as a decisive turning point in Hofmannsthal’s work, which separated the aestheticism of his early lyric poetry from his later commitment to active, practical life and connections to the social world. 7KLV¾FWLRQDOOHWWHUSRLQWVWRWKHOLPLWVRIODQJXDJHLQJUDVSLQJREMHFWLYHUHDOLW\ ,QLW/RUG&KDQGRVH[SODLQVWRKLVIULHQG/RUG%DFRQWKDWKHH[SHULHQFHVKLPVHOI as standing outside and apart from things and that his identity does not seem stable and continuous. The language crisis described by Lord Chandos is close to the philosophical views of Fritz Mauthner (1849–1923) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951), and this skepticism about language was still apparent in Hofmannsthal’s postwar comedies, for example in Der Schwierge 7KH'LI¾FXOW Man, 1921). The sense of the inadequacy of language in the Chandos letter is, of course, more devastating for a poet whose medium is words than it would be for a painter or a musician, but the letter also points to “the recognition that language becomes meaningful only in a social context.”21,IWKH&KDQGRVOHWWHUUHSUHVHQWVD crisis of language, the view of language Hofmannsthal developed in the essays in this volume takes seriously the social context of language. Hamburger argues that throughout his life Hofmannsthal was committed to bridging “the gulf between private vision and social involvement, the language of ecstasy and the language of practical life.”22+DPEXUJHUGHVFULEHVWKLVLQWHUPVRIKLV²GLI¾FXOWWUDQVLWLRQ from the Romantic-symbolist premises to a new classicism, or from individualism to a new impersonality.”23 This new classicism shaped his view of Austria and of German culture and language more broadly. Hofmannsthal’s ideas and metaphors were important sources of inspiration for both Broch and Carl Schorske, whose commentaries on Austrian culture, especially on liberal Vienna, are familiar in the English-speaking world. Along ZLWK$UWKXU6FKQLW]OHU ° +RIPDQQVWKDOEHFDPHDFHQWUDO¾JXUHIRU Schorske’s interpretation of the crisis of liberal culture in Fin-de-siècle Vienna (1980).24 Michael Steinberg has explored more extensively Hofmannsthal’s relationship to the Salzburg Festival and cosmopolitan nationalism, an understanding of German culture that reaches back to the eighteenth century, before the emergence of a German nation-state.25 Although there is now a broad scholarly awareness of the whole of Hofmannsthal’s creative work, historians still do not fully





Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

DSSUHFLDWHWKHH[WHQWRIKLVLQ¿XHQFHRQWKLQNLQJDERXW$XVWULDRUWKHGHJUHHWR which his view goes beyond the relatively conventional ideas often attributed to KLP,WLVGLI¾FXOWWRXQGHUVWDQGHLWKHU$XVWULDQLQWHOOHFWXDOKLVWRU\RUWKH$XVWULDQ vision of it without reading Hofmannsthal—especially the essays from the last WZRGHFDGHVRIKLVOLIH,WLVQRWPHUHO\WKDW+RIPDQQVWKDOµVYLHZVVKRXOGZHLJK heavily in discussions of the Austrian idea or Austrian culture, but also that they have already left their imprint on the discussion in countless ways. The decisive context for Hofmannsthal’s understanding of Austria and the Austrian idea is the development of modern German culture since the middle of the eighteenth century. Hofmannsthal repeatedly referred to the late eighteenth century as a period of linguistic and cultural creativity, in which he included both the German classicism of Goethe and Schiller and the following generation of romantics around 1800. The emergence out of the German Enlightenment of idealism and neohumanism, from Kant and Herder to Novalis and the Schlegels, parallels in many respects the development of classical liberalism in Western (XURSHEXWWKLVLGHRORJ\RIHPDQFLSDWLRQWRRNRQDGLVWLQFWLYH¿DYRULQ*HUPDQ literature, philosophy, and music. Hofmannsthal regarded this as a period of the liberation of the modern self from traditional bonds, and much of what he wrote in his mature essays deals with the fate of this cultural legacy during the course of the nineteenth century. This century of German culture has often been seen in terms of the development of political nationalism, culminating in Bismarck’s Empire in 1871, but Hofmannsthal saw it differently. He emphasized the creativity of a German cosmopolitan culture that informed (and was informed by) all the lands of the Holy Roman Empire in the late eighteenth century, including those that did not become part of the Second Empire, that is to say Austria and Bohemia. Despite his generation’s powerful sense of cultural crisis before the war, Hofmannsthal looked toward the emergence of a new period of spiritual and cultural creativity in the early twentieth century. He believed that in Central Europe the answers of classical liberalism were no longer adequate and that creative people were looking for new forms of solidarity and connection. The degree to which the First World War transformed human history, especially in Europe, has largely been lost to Americans because of the impact of the Second World War. Moreover, it is uncomfortable for many Americans, and for English speakers generally, to hear Hofmannsthal advocate the side of the Central Powers in a war in which English-speaking countries were united against the Germans. Of course, for the most part, Hofmannsthal’s patriotism during what he regarded as a defensive war would seem quite natural from an American or British or French intellectual, and it is sobering to compare Hofmannsthal’s view of foreign languages (his wartime advocacy of French and English, for example) to the way many Americans felt about the German language during the First :RUOG:DU,Q)UDQFHDQG(QJODQGDVZHOOSDUOLDPHQWDU\LQVWLWXWLRQVZHUHFRP-

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7

SURPLVHGWRDODUJHH[WHQWDIWHUDQGLQDOO(XURSHDQFRXQWULHVWKHRI¾FHU FRUSVZHUHHQULFKHGE\DQLQIXVLRQRI\RXQJPLQGV,WLVRIWHQHPSKDVL]HGWKDW this meant the loss of a generation of leaders in combat, but it also meant new energy and intelligence in the Austrian army during the early stages of the war, and Hofmannsthal’s political involvement is evident in his essays from 1914 and 1915. Yet these essays were not simply propaganda but also aimed at greater honesty about Austrian politics; Hofmannsthal wanted to emphasize the creative possibilities that were opened up by new energies during the war and to bring out WKHVSHFL¾FDOO\$XVWULDQFRQWH[WRIWKHZDUHIIRUW There has been some attention to Hofmannsthal’s political interests during the First World War but often with an emphasis on his political activities rather than the essays themselves.27 Many scholars have been critical of Hofmannsthal’s political views, especially his support for the Austrian war effort. His Catholicism, his high social status, and his deep commitment to European high culture (as well as German high culture in particular) have distanced him from many recent commentators. A broad sense of conservative values informs most of what he wrote, and he had an eminently historical mind; as he put it in the last essay in this volume: “now a new concept of the exclusive validity of the present races DFURVVDOOWKRXJKWSXOYHUL]LQJHYHU\WKLQJWKDWVWDQGVDJDLQVWLW,WLVWKLVFRQGLtion of sensuous bondage into which the nineteenth century has led us, from which this demonic image of the present now steps forth. Only someone who has given himself up entirely to the senses, who has renounced all the means of power of the mind, is captivated by the false image of the moment, which has no past and no future.”28 Even before the war, his perceptions of modern culture could be characterized broadly as conservative, if only because he saw the world differently from the culture around him: “Our age is full of things that seem alive and are dead, and full of those that count as dead and are altogether alive. Of its phenomena, those generally assumed to be in play nearly always seem to me not WREHZKLOHWKRVHWKDWDUHVDLGWREHDEVHQWDUHKLJKO\SUHVHQWDQGLQ¿XHQWLDO³29 Hofmannsthal is perhaps best known to historians for his reference in 1927 to “the conservative revolution,” but the connection between this phrase and his literary work has never been clear.30 Crucial to the problem of understanding issues of this kind in Hofmannsthal’s mature essays are the discontinuities in overlapSLQJ¾HOGVRINQRZOHGJHWKHSROLWLFDOKLVWRU\RI*HUPDQ\IURPWR Austrian and Habsburg history, and the study of German literature, philosophy, and intellectual life in Central Europe. These discontinuities in the organization RI NQRZOHGJH FRQWULEXWH LQ WXUQ WR D VHULHV RI SUREOHPV RI GH¾QLWLRQ$XVWULD German culture, conservatism, and liberalism, as well as a range of words whose meanings crystallized in the classical period of German culture. The term “conservative revolution” is sometimes used to describe the intellectual developments of the nineteenth century from Goethe to Nietzsche, per-

8



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

haps more aptly characterized by Erich Heller in terms of the disinherited mind.31 By the early twentieth century, intellectuals in this tradition were conscious of a crisis of European culture rooted in the decline of Christianity, classicism, and liberalism—and the new challenges related to modern science and technology; this sense of cultural crisis was broadly European, from Russia to Great Britain, EXWLWZDVPRVWGHYHORSHGLQ&HQWUDO(XURSH,QWKHVWKLVEURDGLQWHOOHFWXDO tradition was sometimes referred to as the conservative revolution, although the term was vague and had not been used before the war. This usage is different from the political conservatism of the German Empire and the Weimar Republic, DOWKRXJKUHODWHGWRLW,QDGGLWLRQWKHWHUP²FRQVHUYDWLYH³LQ&HQWUDO(XURSHDQ SROLWLFVPHDQWVRPHWKLQJYHU\GLIIHUHQWIURP$PHULFDQXVDJHWRGD\,QGHHGSRlitical conservatism in the United States during the past century was, in many respects, close to the classical European liberalism of the nineteenth century, ZKLFK HPSKDVL]HG IUHHGRP IURP SROLWLFDO HFRQRPLF DQG UHOLJLRXV FRQWURO ,W was this political tradition that was in crisis in late nineteenth-century Germany, Austria, and Europe as a whole. The word “conservative” is thus not a very helpful point of reference for understanding Hofmannsthal today unless we are clear about its intellectual context. Hofmannsthal represents a distinctive response to a broadly European crisis of culture, which he conceived in an Austrian form that was linked both to German culture and to Europe as a whole.

◆◆◆ Central to the essays in this volume is the emergence during the war of Hofmannsthal’s understanding of Austria and its relationship to German culture. By RUWKHVHWKHPHVKDGEHJXQWREOHQGLQWRKLVXQGHUVWDQGLQJRI(XURSH and the tasks of recovering from the destruction of the war. But Hofmannsthal’s ODQJXDJHLVGLI¾FXOWIRUFRQWHPSRUDU\UHDGHUVWRIROORZEHFDXVHKLVDVVXPSWLRQV are so different from today’s. A century later, when the word “German” ordinarily refers to citizens of the Bundesrepublik, and when Austria’s reality as a separate country is at most at the fringe of popular consciousness, it can be almost impossible to follow Hofmannsthal’s sense in 1914 or during the 1920s. Even for peoSOHLQ*HUPDQ\GXULQJWKH)LUVW:RUOG:DUWKHQHLJKERUWRWKHVRXWKZDVGLI¾FXOW to see clearly. Speaking in Berlin in the early months of the war, Hofmannsthal offered one of his most memorable characterizations of the relationship between Germany and Austria: “Even in today’s very serious context, it may be said that among the countries of the world Austria is for Germans one of the least known or most poorly understood. Austria lies so close to Germany, and because of this it is overlooked.”32 Hofmannsthal made this point at a time when “Austria” was the word often used to refer to an Empire about the same size as the German Empire—when the two were allied against much of the rest of the world. ,KDYHDOUHDG\WRXFKHGRQWKHSRLQWWKDWIRU+RIPDQQVWKDOWKH$XVWULDQLGHD was an abstraction—and not a description of an actual Austrian state. But there

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9

LVDQDGGLWLRQDOGLI¾FXOW\+RIPDQQVWKDODOVRXVHGWKHZRUG²$XVWULD³WRUHIHU to a region, or territory, and his usage in this regard will be unfamiliar even to many historians. The Austria he nearly always had in mind was not the entire Habsburg Monarchy but rather what emerged as the core of the monarchy after WKH$XVWULDQDQG%RKHPLDQ&URZQODQGV)RUWKHPRVWSDUW+RIPDQQVWKDO distinguished Austria from Hungary and even from the Polish territory in Galicia, which had been included constitutionally in the western (or Cisleithanian) part RIWKH'XDO0RQDUFK\LQ+HDUJXHGWKDW%RKHPLDDQG0RUDYLDEHORQJHG with Austria in a continuous historical unity in the same way that Tyrol or Styria were parts of Austria.33 Hofmannsthal is frequently cited in discussions comparing Austria and Germany, especially for comparisons between Bismarck’s Germany and the Dual Monarchy of the late nineteenth century. Hofmannsthal’s view of Austria has also been associated with the Baroque and with the Habsburg Monarchy as a whole or read as a state ideology for the new Austrian republic, focused on theatricality and representation. What is not always appreciated about Hofmannsthal’s views on this question is that he ordinarily used the word “German” in its broadest sense, whether in reference to the Holy Roman Empire and the German Confederation or to the cosmopolitan culture of the late eighteenth century.34 What emerges in these essays is an understanding of Austria that refers neither to the Habsburg Monarchy as a whole nor simply to the German hereditary lands of Alpine Austria. ,Q²$XVWULDLQWKH0LUURURI,WV/LWHUDWXUH³RI+RIPDQQVWKDOFRQVLGHUHG the application of the concept of the nation to Austria at a time when it was closer WKDQHYHUWR,PSHULDO*HUPDQ\,QGHHGLQDPLOLWDU\VHQVHLWKDGODUJHO\EHHQDEVRUEHG7KLVYHU\GLUHFWDFFRXQWRIWKH$XVWULDQQDWLRQLVVLJQL¾FDQWQRWRQO\IRU its resistance to conventional discussions of German nationalism, but also for the way Hofmannsthal circumscribed the Austrian nation.35²3HUKDSV\RX¾QGWKHXVH RI´QDWLRQDOSDWKRVµLQUHODWLRQWR$XVWULDWREHDW¾UVWJODQFHDVWUDQJHDVVXPSWLRQJLYHQWKH¿XLGERUGHUVLQ$XVWULD7KHFRQVWDQWRIZKLFK,VSHDNLQFOXGHV QRWRQO\*HUPDQ$XVWULDEXWDWOHDVWWKH¾UPFRUHRIWKHKHUHGLWDU\ODQGVZLWK Bohemia.” He continues: ,I,DSSO\KHUHWKLVSXUHO\VSLULWXDORUPRUDOFRQFHSWRIWKHQDWLRQWR$XVWULD,VHHPWRZDQWWRDVVHUWDSURYLQFLDOLVPDQH[DJJHUDWHGSDUWLFXODULVP :KHQHYHU\WKLQJLQWKHZRUOGSUHVVHVWRZDUGFRQQHFWLRQ,VHHPWRZDQWWR separate; when the concept of a Mitteleuropa [Central Europe]37 wants to be WUHDWHGZLWKWKHJUHDWHVWOLEHUDOLW\,VHHPUHDFWLRQDU\DQGSDUWLFXODULVWLF ,FRQIXVHIRU\RXWKHKDUPRQ\RI\RXUIHHOLQJVDQGLQVWLWXWHDGXDOLVPWKHUH ZKHUH\RXZDQWWR¾QGLQWKHXQLW\RIODQJXDJHWKDWUHPDLQLQJXQLW\ZLWK the great German people, as it is for the most part embodied in the German QDWLRQDOVWDWH7RVXSSRUWWKLVYLHZ,PD\FDOOWRP\DLGQROHVVDQDGYR-

10



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

cate than Bismarck, who expresses this view in his Thoughts and Memories: ²WKHVSHFL¾FHVVHQFHRI*HUPDQQDWLRQDOIHHOLQJPDQLIHVWVLWVHOILQWKDWLWEHFRPHVHIIHFWLYHRQO\WKURXJKWKHHVVHQFHRIWKHVSHFL¾FQDWLRQDOLWLHVZKLFK have constructed themselves on the basis of the dynastic families,” and again in Thoughts and Memories: “The German Empire rests on the dualism of national motives.”38

The dualistic nature of the German spiritual/national essence meant to Hofmannsthal that a German was also a Prussian or a Bavarian or an Austrian— whether before or after there was a nation-state called Germany or the German Empire. We must know how to preserve in ourselves this dualism of the emotions— our belonging to Austria and our cultural belonging to Germanness as a whole—in the midst of a terrible and critical cultural and political situation. ,VHHQRGDQJHULQWKLVIRUWKH*HUPDQVSLULWXDOHVVHQFHLQZKLFKZHSDUWLFLpate is, in its great richness, in its characteristically fateful nature, constructed on dualism. The danger, on the contrary, is that the Austrian understanding of the German essence will be backed into a corner by the German essence, that because of our lack of energy to create a further synthesis we will settle for a rigid formula to summarize and integrate apparently very great differences, ZKLFKLVWR%LVPDUFNLDQLVPDV$OH[DQGULDQLVPLVWRJHQXLQHFODVVLFLVP,W is not a matter of making concepts ever simpler and more concrete but of comprehending in them as much as possible of the highest life-content of a community.39

+RIPDQQVWKDOGLGQRWDFFHSWWKHQRWLRQWKDWWKH:LOKHOPLQH(PSLUHVKRXOGGH¾QH what was German and simply assimilate Austria, as advocates of a grossdeutsch VROXWLRQVRPHWLPHVDVVXPHG,QVWHDGKHEHOLHYHGWKDW$XVWULDQLGHQWLW\KDGNHSW alive a larger sense of Germany that KDGEHHQORVWDIWHU²,IZHVWDQGQH[W to Germany in this war and after it, only then does the world see once again Germany’s other face.”40 The history Hofmannsthal recounts in “Austria in the 0LUURURI,WV/LWHUDWXUH³LVQRWFRQFHUQHGVLPSO\ZLWK$XVWULDDVWKHWLWOHLPSOLHV instead, it describes a larger sense of German culture since the Middle Ages, and WKHDUJXPHQWVRPHWLPHVLGHQWL¾HVWKLV*HUPDQFRVPRSROLWDQLVPZLWK$XVWULD The key to the Austrian idea for Hofmannsthal was not so much the multinationalism of the empire as a whole but rather the German coming-to-terms with difference and mediating this understanding to the rest of Western Europe. Hofmannsthal’s Austrian idea is the ideal of cultural and linguistic translation, and this is central to the importance of language in his mature view. For him the role of Austrians (and of Germans more broadly) was to carry other cultures across to the rest of Europe, to mediate, to translate. That German essence, which once conquered the world; which penetrated both East and West; which sent its architects, its businessmen, its scholars, its

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11

generations of peasants across the Lower Rhine, across the Oder and down the Danube; which pursued and developed trade, enlightened and enriched, colonized without conquering, led without ruling, established German peasant life, German municipal law, German cathedrals, German work places— in what is it preserved then, if not in us? Where is this ancient idea of a German essence—revealed in the German Empire, but never fully embodLHG±UH¿HFWHGWRWKHJUHDWHVWGHJUHHLIQRWLQXV"+HUHLWZDVHPERGLHGRQFH and for all. That we exist and how we are, what we may lay claim to and what we still have to accomplish, how we sit here among peoples who speak other languages, and what we owe these peoples, for the sake of centuries and for the sake of the position that we assert among them by the power of our mission: that is historic, holy German inheritance.41

For Hofmannsthal, “German” referred above all to the people and the language of Central Europe, especially in the region demarcated by the Holy Roman Empire around 1500, when it was composed of a large and varying number of states. He emphasized the breaks in the German national tradition—especially the divisions caused by Länder and religions. This meant that there had never been a single state to represent the German nation and that a nationally normative literature in the French sense had never developed. Moreover, because of the complex and decentralized development of German states in relation to the Holy Roman Empire, the German word Land could mean either a country like Prussia or a province like the Tyrol. “The Prussian and the Austrian” (1917) is the best known of HofmannstKDOµVHVVD\VRQ$XVWULD,WLVRQO\DVFKHPDUDWKHUWKDQDGHYHORSHGDUJXPHQW very like Madame de Stael’s comparison of German Romanticism to the French WUDGLWLRQ,WLVLPSRUWDQWWREHDULQPLQGWKDWWKLVSLHFHLVQRWDFRPSDULVRQRIWKH German Empire with the Habsburg Monarchy, although it has been tempting to read it in this way. For Hofmannsthal, Austria and Prussia were two lands within the wider realm of German culture.42 Hofmannsthal contrasts ideal-types of Austrian and Prussian society, both of which belonged to German culture. Here he begins with what he regards as typical of the two societies and then moves schematically toward types of individuals or personalities. This is sometimes read as an idealization of Austria, and Austrians may read it as a list of familiar clichés DERXWKRZ$XVWULDQVVHHWKHPVHOYHVDQG*HUPDQV,IWKHVHFOLFKpVDUHIDPLOLDUWR Austrians today, it seems fair to say that Hofmannsthal’s schema contributed to creating these assumptions ninety years ago.43 Hofmannsthal saw what was distinctive about the Austrian nation primarily through literature and music—and in relation to the broader cosmopolitan German culture. He regarded Austrian literature as part of German literature, but he also underscored the distinctiveness of this cultural tradition. When he turned to this subject, the two writers who always came to mind for him were Franz GrillSDU]HU ° DQG$GDOEHUW6WLIWHU ° DOPRVWDVLIWKH\ZHUHKLV

12



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

contemporaries. Closely related to the literary tradition was Hofmannsthal’s view of music from Haydn to Schubert—as an expression of the Austrian people that paralleled the intellectual achievements north of the Main in the late eighteenth FHQWXU\²$XVWULD¾UVWEHFDPHVSLULWLQLWVPXVLFDQGLQWKLVIRUPLWKDVFRQTXHUHG the world.”44+HEHOLHYHGWKDWWKLVPXVLFDOWUDGLWLRQKDG¿RZHGLQWRWKHOLWHUDU\ achievements of Grillparzer and Austrian theater. For Hofmannsthal, Stifter and Grillparzer were not only among the greatest German writers of the nineteenth century, but they represented values he associated with Austria: modesty, humility, courtesy, respect for the world, and acceptance toward reality rather than romantic subjectivity. When Hofmannsthal wrote about Grillparzer and Stifter, he was nearly always also writing on his own behalf. He saw himself as unveiling DQGHODERUDWLQJDQ$XVWULDWKDWWKH\KDGDOUHDG\LGHQWL¾HG ,Q²*ULOOSDU]HUµV3ROLWLFDO/HJDF\³ZULWWHQHDUO\LQWKHZDU+RIPDQQVWKDO pointed to the connection between the distinctive style of Austrian elites and the legacy of Austrian music in the context of characterizing Grillparzer and the emotional center of his poetic work: “This clarity and presence are most beautifully realized in the Austrian people, in the upper social strata most beautifully in the women. This is the secret source of the feeling of happiness that streams forth from the music of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss and has poured itself out on the Germans and the rest of the world.”45 Hofmannsthal also emphasized the close connection of Austrian intellectuals to the land and to ordinary people, especially to the peasantry: “we can speak of a poetry of SHDVDQWVRQVDQGFRQWUDVWWKLVZLWKWKH¾OLDWLRQVRISDVWRUVµVRQVZKRKDYHJLYHQ the German people so many spiritual and intellectual treasures.” And yet, he thought of Grillparzer as a German poet, as a continuation of German classicism, especially in matters of theater, where the living theater of Vienna was central to the tradition: “There was within German culture a theater that was really living, that really came from the people, a real possibility of allowing everything social, spiritual and intellectual, sociable in the sense of gemütlich, to become form.”47,Q “Stifter’s Indian Summer” (1924), Hofmannsthal began by showing how Stifter built on the work of Goethe and the German Romantic, Jean Paul, and he resisted the opportunity to point to what was Austrian in Stifter. What he emphasized was not Stifter’s Austrianness, but a quality that Hofmannsthal aimed for in his own life: “Through his whole lifework he wants to point with a spiritual energy that may be called incomparable, inexhaustible, and unerring, to what is highest in literature.”48 For Hofmannsthal, the Austrian idea grew out of the past, and this was crucial to his historical way of thinking. He emphasized the presence of the deep past in modern life, which was a theme he returned to repeatedly in a variety of FRQWH[WV,QGHHGWKLVHPSKDVLVRQWKHFRQQHFWLRQVWRWKH5RPDQ(PSLUHDVZHOO DVWKH+RO\5RPDQ(PSLUHLVRQHRI+RIPDQQVWKDOµVPRVWIDPLOLDUDQGLQ¿XHQWLDO

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13

GHVFULSWLRQVRI$XVWULD²,WLVQRWDPDWWHURILQGLIIHUHQFHZKHWKHUZHZHUHERUQ yesterday or began as a march of the Holy Roman Empire eleven hundred years ago or as a Roman border colony two thousand years ago and have inherited our ideas, in one case from the Roman emperors, in another from Charlemagne, their successor in empire, and this in a form that never turned away from what was essential in this idea but sustained itself as something indestructible in the rushing by of ten and twenty centuries.”49 Even here Hofmannsthal was thinking primarily of the region to the west of the Leitha River, which became the basis for a larger empire. What is often overlooked is that Hofmannsthal regarded Austrian national feeling as something still to be created. He argued as early as 1915 that Austria VKRXOGEHVHHQQRWDV²ULJLGL¾HGDQG¾QLVKHG³EXWDV²VRPHWKLQJGHYHORSLQJDQG changing.”50 ,Q ²$XVWULD LQ WKH 0LUURU RI ,WV /LWHUDWXUH³ KH GHVFULEHG ZKDW KH PHDQWE\DQDWLRQDOODQJXDJH²DMXVWL¾HG$XVWULDQLVPRIDKLJKHURUGHUFRXOG GHYHORS$QDWLRQDOODQJXDJH±,PHDQE\WKLVWKHDGHTXDWHH[SUHVVLRQRIDQLQQHU attitude that arises from a self-judgment.”51 A few pages later he again described the Austrian idea as unrealized: “Only through willing and believing can the Austrian idea be understood; without the light of an idea, we will not be able to go the way that now appears before us.”52,WLVRIWHQIRUJRWWHQWKDW²7KH$XVWULDQ ,GHD³ZDVQRWPHDQWVLPSO\DVDGHVFULSWLRQRIWKHSDVWDQGGLGQRWUHIHUVLPSO\WR what became the Austrian Republic but to a broader set of possibilities that Hofmannsthal associated with the Austrian idea, cosmopolitan German culture, and a Europe that would grow beyond nationalism: “understanding the Austrian idea is the geometrical location for all possible Austrianisms, and without a breath of spiritual universalism a future Austria can neither be wished for nor believed in.”53 For Hofmannsthal, the Austrian idea was “a matter of combining the European into the German essence and bringing this no longer sharply national Germanness into balance with Slavic identity. The ideas of reconciliation, synthesis, and bridging of differences have their own forward-moving energy and spontaneity; they nourish themselves on situations not on arguments, on real experiences not phrases, whether these are nationalist, socialist, or parliamentary.”54 ,Q KLV mature essays, Hofmannsthal sometimes came close to identifying the Austrian LGHDZLWK*HUPDQ\±ZLWKWKH*HUPDQHVVHQFHDQGPLVVLRQ²,IZHVHH$XVWULD as the one part of the old German empire in which the energies of German history are living and working, the implication for the German is that Austria is not PHUHO\VRPHWKLQJWKDWVWLOOH[LVWVEXWDQXQ¾QLVKHGWDVN0XFKWKDWFRXOGQRW¾QG resolution in the new empire that was founded in 1870 and yet was a German task, inner German life . . . should and will be solved here.”55,URQLFDOO\RQHLPplication of this is that Hofmannsthal could reasonably argue today that Germany represents the Austrian idea more than Austria does. Even in the midst of the First

14



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

World War, the Austrian idea did not simply refer to a particular existing nation or state and its interests. This can be confusing, but it is crucial to his view in which both Austria and the German nation appear as mediators, interpreters, between the narrow conception of Europe based on England, France, and Northern Germany, on the one hand, and the unfamiliar world of Eastern Europe, on the other. ²$XVWULDLVWKHVSHFLDOWDVNWKDWLVSRVHGWRWKH*HUPDQVSLULWLQ(XURSH,W LVWKH¾HOGGLUHFWHGE\GHVWLQ\RIDSXUHO\VSLULWXDOLPSHULDOLVP)RULWGRHVQRW require the intervention of German political force but, to be sure, the constant LQ¿XHQFHRIWKH*HUPDQVSLULW$XVWULDPXVWEHUHFRJQL]HGDJDLQDQGDJDLQDV the German task in Europe. What is distinctive in this task must be recognized again and again. For Austria requires the incessant pouring in of the German spirit. For Austria, Germany is Europe.”57 This passage makes clear how easily Germany blurred into Europe in Hofmannsthal’s thinking. At the same time, he underscored the dangers presented to Austria by the German nation-state of 1871: ²,I*HUPDQ\JLYHVXVVRPHWKLQJOHVVWKDQLWVKLJKHVWDQGSXUHVWLWZLOOEHFRPH for us a poison.”58 ²7KH$XVWULDQ,GHD³FXOPLQDWHVZLWKDQHPSKDVLVRQWKHVLJQL¾FDQFHRIWKLV idea for Europe: “This Europe that wants to give itself new form needs an Austria: a structure of authentic elasticity but a structure nonetheless, a true organism, infused with its own inner religion, without which no binding of living powers is possible; it needs Austria in order to comprehend the polymorphous East. Central Europe [Mitteleuropa] is a concept of praxis and of the day in the highest sphere; for Europe, to the extent that Europe ought to exist now in the sphere of the highest spiritual values and decisions about the culture of millennia, Austria is indispensable.”59 For Hofmannsthal, Austria often appeared as the germ of the idea of Europe, and he thought of Germany and German culture in ways that were intimately related both to the idea of Austria and to the idea of Europe. Hofmannsthal emphasized that Austria had already begun to deal with EuroSHDQVXSUDQDWLRQDOLVVXHVLQWKHODWHQLQHWHHQWKFHQWXU\WU\LQJWR¾QGDPRGHUQ way to address them at a time when the rest of Europe (including countries like England and France, which also embodied contradictions among many nations) ZDV SUHRFFXSLHG ZLWK QDWLRQDOLVP ,Q ²7KH$XVWULDQ ,GHD³ +RIPDQQVWKDO GHscribed the Austrian effort to mediate between Western Europe and the Slavic world, which “had to experience a kind of eclipse for European consciousness during the decades 1848–1914.” While the whole world dedicated itself consistently to the national problem— which was, to be sure, for both England and France as well, also a supranational, European, more than European problem, but how cleverly hidden to WKHSRLQWRIVHOIGHFHSWLRQ±LQWKHHYHQWVRIWKH\HDUVWRZH¾UVW had to liquidate the remainder of an old supranational European politics that

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15

LVKDUGO\FRPSUHKHQVLEOHWRGD\EXWWKHQLQGHFDGHVRIGLI¾FXOWLQQHUGHYHOopment to which the world had no key, to accomplish the inner preparation for the present moment, which remained anonymous: to conceive the basic outlines of a new supranational European order that included the full comprehension and integration of the national problem.

,WZDVLQWKLVEURDGO\(XURSHDQFRQWH[WWKDW+RIPDQQVWKDOUHJDUGHG$XVWULDDQG the Austrian idea as the expression of the German essence—as a mediator between East and West. As he put it a few years later in his essay on the translator of the Buddhist Holy Writings, “we are Germans, and our language, which is indeed our spiritual destiny, has been given this characteristic: that in it as in no other, the spiritual and intellectual creations of other peoples, even those whose ZD\LVIDUIURPRXUVFDQDULVHDJDLQLQWKHLUPDJQL¾FHQFHDQGUHYHDOWKHLURZQ most distinctive essence, for which we, as the people of the middle and of mediation, are elected and ordained.” Hofmannsthal’s essay on the Austrian idea is a critique of nationalism and the teleological assumptions of the nineteenth FHQWXU\7KLVHVVD\DQG²7KH,GHDRI(XURSH³FRQVWLWXWH+RIPDQQVWKDOµVDJHQGD IRUWKHSRVWZDUHUDZKLFKKHIRUPXODWHGQHDWO\QHDUWKHHQGRI²7KH,GHDRI(Xrope”: “Whoever says ‘Austria’ says indeed: a thousand-year struggle for Europe, a thousand-year mission for Europe, thousand-year belief in Europe.” ²7KH,GHDRI(XURSH³JLYHQDVDQDGGUHVVDURXQGWKHWLPH+RIPDQQVWKDO SXEOLVKHG²7KH$XVWULDQ,GHD³SUHVHQWVDQLOOXPLQDWLQJDFFRXQWRI(XURSHµVUHlationship to the world, not simply in 1917 but in the prewar era as well. And Hofmannsthal’s arguments still have value for discussions about the European Union today. He made clear that the unity of the European idea could be reduced neither to geography nor to racial ethnicity. Particularly striking are his GH¾QLWLRQVRIFRVPRSROLWDQQDWLRQDOLVPDVH[SUHVVHGE\*HUPDQZULWHUVDURXQG 1800, who regarded “the national not as a limitation but as something immoral.” Hofmannsthal saw this German cosmopolitanism as close to the Austrian idea: a gentle, pluralistic vision of Europeans living together. He cited Novalis to make his point: “Germanness is cosmopolitanism, mixed with the most powerful individualism. No other nation can compete with us in energetic universalism.” A GH¾QLWLRQOLNHWKLVPDNHV+RIPDQQVWKDOGLI¾FXOWWRIROORZIRUSHRSOHZKRKDYH something quite different in mind when they hear the word “Germanness.” By 1917 Hofmannsthal had come to see German cosmopolitan culture around 1800 as a crucial stage in the development of the idea of Europe. For him, Europe stood for humanity, which in turn stood for God against the power state based on money and soldiers. ²7KH,GHDRI(XURSH³DOVRXQGHUVFRUHGWKHVHQVHRILURQ\WKDWKDGEHJXQWR become palpable for many Europeans even before the war: he emphasized the relativism, the despair about language, and the all-consuming sense of irony.





Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

An unspeakable relativism around it [European technology] as a dizzying, spinning atmosphere: the “moral codes” of today and long ago unveiled as relative, everything comprehended as a becoming; science, art, and morality itself placed in question. A consuming irony came over all our actions. A critique that seized on everything, even toward the inside. Doubt of the possibility of being able to grasp something of the stuff of the world with language. Language criticism as wave of despair running over the world: as the constitution of the soul that resulted because not truth but technique was WKH\LHOGRIWKHVFLHQWL¾FVSLULW

The destruction from the war brought home this sense of irony to all Europeans. ,Q  +RIPDQQVWKDO EHJDQ KLV PRGHVWO\ WLWOHG ²7KUHH 6PDOO 2EVHUYDWLRQV³ with a reminder from Novalis: “After an unsuccessful war, comedies must be written.” He went on to explain: “But real comedy places its individuals in a thousandfold interwoven relationship with the world; it sets everything in relation to everything else, and thereby everything in relation to irony.” Just this is what the war had done to Europeans of all classes and nations on multiple levels: “the irony of the contrast between the great, ideal worldviews that they had in their mouths and the jumble of intractable realities with which they had to struggle.”70 ,URQ\ZDVFUXFLDOWR+RIPDQQVWKDOµVZD\RIVHHLQJWKHZRUOGDQGWKHFRQWLQXLQJ process of postwar rehabilitation, and he believed that in terms of appreciating the ironic, comic impact of the war on Europe, Central Europeans had an advantage: “. . . it is, of course, clear that the defeated are consumed by the ironic power of events. For someone who has reached the bitter end of a matter, the blinders fall from the eyes; he gains a clear mind and comes to understand things almost like someone who is dying.”71 Hofmannsthal emphasized that a war that ends unhappily brings home “the irony that rules over all the things of the earth,” and he argued that even after twenty years Europeans might still not have moved beyond the war.72,QWKHV+RIPDQQVWKDOEHFDPHPRUHFRQFHUQHGZLWKWKH European idea and with the spiritual situation of Europe, but he saw himself especially obligated to the even more extreme situation of German culture. At the same time, his approach to German culture was fundamentally comparative and European. As Katherine Arens puts it, “Throughout his career, Hofmannsthal’s HVVD\VGRFXPHQWKLVLQWHUHVWLQ¾QGLQJLQWKDWFRPPRQ(XURSHDQFXOWXUHDVSDFH for pluralistic discussion that could transcend class and national boundaries.”73 As the war ended, Hofmannsthal’s thinking about Austria, Europe, and German cosmopolitanism informed his enthusiasm for a festival for theater and opera at Salzburg. His primary concerns with this new festival were theatrical—working with his favorite director, Max Reinhardt, and having his own work performed.74 He hoped to reach a popular audience in Salzburg, Southern Germany, and Switzerland, and he saw this region as connected to the Baroque tradition of mystery plays, court drama, puppet theater, and Jesuit school-drama. For Hof-

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17

mannsthal, the term “Baroque” was shorthand for the rich visual, theatrical, and PXVLFDOFXOWXUHRI6RXWKHUQ(XURSHHVSHFLDOO\LQ,WDO\6SDLQDQG6RXWKHUQ*HUmany. His efforts on behalf of the Salzburg Festival are sometimes associated with salvaging the Austrian empire, but his own emphases were on the South German theatrical heritage, the Baroque theater of the seventeenth century, the cosmopolitan German vision, and the European idea.75 At the heart of the Salzburg repertoire as he envisioned it were Mozart’s operas and, after that, Goethe’s FaustDORQJZLWK&DOGHUyQ6KDNHVSHDUHDQG0ROLqUH+LVDPELWLRQZDVWRFUHate a European theater that drew on the best of the Western tradition, but in a form that was revitalized for the modern stage, and he believed that the creation of a summer festival in Salzburg would strengthen “the belief in a Europeanism, ZKLFKWKHSHULRGIURPWRIXO¾OOHGDQGLOOXPLQHG³

◆◆◆ During and after the war Hofmannsthal pointed to the problems that the German language had encountered in the previous one hundred years, problems that expressed themselves in the prosecution of the war and in the crises of the postwar era. “We stand, as ever again in the intellectual life of this mysterious nation, the German nation, before a truncated tradition: the peoples of Western Europe, with their unbroken tradition, are superior and victorious by comparison.”77 But he also hoped for a cultural and linguistic recovery of the kind that had happened a century earlier. Early in the war he put it this way: “if spiritual words of the highest kind again assume an unexpected sublime tension comparable to the tension that they possessed around the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries, then we may add to the most tremendous experience in which we already stand WKHH[SHULHQFHRIWKHHPHUJHQFHLQDPRVWPDJQL¾FHQWVHQVHRIDQHZHSRFKRI the German language.”78 The theme of language, already highlighted in two of the early wartime essays, became steadily more prominent in Hofmannsthal’s thought during the postwar era. The essays of the 1920s completed his passage beyond the language crisis of 1902 to his mature view that “language is everything.”79 “Language is the great realm of the dead, unfathomably deep; therefore, we receive from it the highest life. Our timeless destiny is in it and the higher authority of the people’s community over everything individual.”80 For Hofmannsthal, language provided the decisive way to think about the nation and about culture, and he argued this view for the Czech language as well. “We stride directly into the people by means of language; we can feel that.”81 He came to the conclusion that language was more effective than culture as a way to analyze the nation and human affairs: “To FKDQJHWKHWRQHRIDQDWLRQWRLQ¿XHQFHWKHODQJXDJHRIDQDWLRQPHDQVKRZHYHU nothing other than reshaping its culture; for anyone who substitutes ‘language’ IRUFXOWXUHVLPSO\UHSODFHVDQH[KDXVWHGDQGWKHUHIRUHSRZHUOHVVDQGDUWL¾FLDO word with a purer and, therefore, more effective essence and noun.”82 ,QGHHG

18



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

Hofmannsthal did not share the fascination of many conservative intellectuals with the word Kultur: “What curses the single word Cultur, even in the barbarous spelling Kultur, has brought to German identity, both inwardly and outwardly, when it was prostituted in thousands of places, pretension and thoughtlessness at once.”83 His conservative style is evident in the attitude he recommended to German-speaking intellectuals in 1922 during a period of intense nationalism: “that of a ‘modest respect’ toward the European intellectual world, present and past in one, and an upright self-respect without any sense of superiority, however fate may have treated us otherwise.”84 Hofmannsthal’s thinking about language was closely tied to his understanding of conservative renovation and a new classicism. Although he felt a powerful connection to the origins of modern German culture and language in the late HLJKWHHQWKFHQWXU\KHZDVDOVRGHHSO\DQGGLUHFWO\LQ¿XHQFHGE\RWKHU(XURSHDQ FXOWXUHVHVSHFLDOO\(QJOLVK)UHQFKDQG,WDOLDQDVZHOO/DWLQDQG*UHHN7KLV heritage was a constant point of reference for him, and he often thought of it in terms of classicism. As he became more interested in Eastern cultures, he developed the concept of a new classicism in which the Western heritage would be enriched and enlivened by Eastern religions and literatures.85 Hofmannsthal was committed to preserving the intellectual and spiritual heritage of Europeans, and he was sensitive to the power of language and the way it connects the individual, HVSHFLDOO\WKHZULWHUWRWKHOLIHRIWKHQDWLRQ,QKLVHVVD\RQ1HXPDQQµVWUDQVODtion of the holy writings of Buddha, Hofmannsthal offered one of his most striking characterizations of the cultural crisis of the postwar era, which is also a clear GH¾QLWLRQRIWKHQHZFODVVLFLVPKHKDVLQPLQG²7KHFXOWXUHWKDWFDUULHVXVDQG on which, as if on the planks of an old ship, the most violent and sustained storm LQDPLOOHQQLXPQRZVKDNHVXVLVDQFKRUHGLQWKH¾UPJURXQGRIWKHDQFLHQWV %XWHYHQWKHVH¾UPIRXQGDWLRQVDUHQRWKLQJULJLGDQGQRWKLQJGHDGEXWUDWKHU living. We will only continue to exist insofar as we create a new classicism; and a new classicism arises for us when we regard Greek classicism, those writers on whom our spiritual existence rests, with fresh eyes, from the perspective of the great Orient.” One of Hofmannsthal’s principal concerns in the 1920s was the way in which the German language had developed differently and in a less centralized way than (QJOLVKDQG)UHQFK,Q²7KH9DOXHDQG'LJQLW\RIWKH*HUPDQ/DQJXDJH³   he argued that because of this French and English were better suited to practical life, whether commercial or political. The middle languages of the others have a smooth construction in which the individual word does not stand out too forcefully or harshly. What must reach the listener’s ear is not the word with its own magical power but rather the connectedness, what is understood along with each word, the mimetic HOHPHQWRIVSHHFK:KDWVKRXOGEHSHUFHSWLEOHDW¾UVWLVQRWVRPXFKWKHLQGL-

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19

vidual who speaks but rather the sociable element in which both the speaker and the one spoken to know they share; not so much to distinguish a person from the individual who is across from him, not the individual claim, which easily provokes resistance, but the complex web according to which each person stands in certain typical relationships to the groupings in the whole society, its institutions and enterprises. Not so much what he is in himself should express itself in his language, as that which he represents.87

Hofmannsthal’s comparison of German and French national traditions is by no PHDQV¿DWWHULQJIRUWKH*HUPDQWUDGLWLRQ+H¾QGVLQWKH)UHQFKDKHDOWK\FRQgruence between spiritual and political life, but he sees nothing of this connectedness (even between generations) in the German tradition, indeed hardly even self-knowledge. He argues that the healthy situation of French culture allowed intellectuals to represent the norm and the national tradition, whereas the German intellectual had to devote himself to breaking free from the norm. “The Written Word as the Spiritual Space of the Nation” (1927) is Hofmannsthal’s account of the German nation; it is concerned with the spiritual dimension of the nation and closely connected in theme to “The Value and Dignity of the German Language.”88 Hofmannsthal was trying to understand the strands of German intellectual history that linked the eighteenth century to the twentieth, and he argued once again that the divided nature of the German language created special problems for German politics. $YHU\GLI¾FXOWGDUNDQGGDQJHURXVWLPHKDVFRPHXSRQXV7REHVXUHLW has come over the whole of Europe, but none of the other peoples has so many joints in its armor through which what is dangerous can penetrate and bore into the heart. Whereas the true life of the nations lies ever again in the repeated effort to bring all its members together, we—already divided in two E\UHOLJLRQ±DOVRVDZ¾UVWDWWKHHQGRIWKHHLJKWHHQWKFHQWXU\HYHU\WKLQJ traditional, morally and spiritually binding suddenly broken apart by the new, the individual-intellectual, the irresponsible.89

“The Written Word as the Spiritual Space of the Nation” is an original and quite unusual kind of essay about German intellectual history, and it is a major statement of Hofmannsthal’s postwar views, much as “The Poet and Our Time” had VXPPDUL]HGKLVYLHZVEHIRUHWKHZDU+RIPDQQVWKDOJLYHVWZRGH¾QLWLRQVRIWKH key word in his title, Schrifttum, as he sometimes did with important terms. The more general sense is “written words of all kinds,” that is, “the mountain of books that no single person can any longer master today,” but he is mainly thinking of the narrower sense, that “[e]verything higher that is worthy of notice has been left behind for many centuries in writing.” He argues that even this narrower sense is not what the French have in mind when they say “literature.” For Hofmannsthal, the word Literatur brings out what is wrong with the German tradition: “[t]he XQIRUWXQDWHGLYLVLRQLQRXUSHRSOHEHWZHHQWKHHGXFDWHGDQGWKHXQHGXFDWHG³,Q

20



Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

this essay he wants to discuss something “outside” literature, “beneath it, above it, a spiritual activity that does not want to be subsumed in the concept of litHUDWXUHEXWLQFOXGHVZLWKLQLWVHOIDOOWKHFODLPVWRGH¾QHWKHVSLULWXDOOLIHRIWKH nation.”90 +RIPDQQVWKDO LGHQWL¾HV WKH FKDUDFWHULVWLF W\SH RI WKH *HUPDQ LQWHOOHFWXDO as the seeker, using Nietzsche’s term, and he contrasts this “intellectual-spiritual conscience of the nation” to the cultured bourgeoisie or educated Philistine who seemed to win the day in public life after 1871.91 He thinks of the seekers as “intellectuals who are not quite represented entirely by their work and yet are nothing but their work.”92 They represent “everything sublime, heroic, and also eternally problematic in German intellectual life,” which Nietzsche had conWUDVWHG²WRHYHU\WKLQJFRQWHQWVPXJ¿DEE\DQGHQHUYDWHGEXWLQLWVOHWKDUJ\ DUURJDQWDQGVHOIVDWLV¾HGWKHFXOWXUHG*HUPDQ3KLOLVWLQH³93 Hofmannsthal regarded the seekers, across the whole realm of German culture, as “the true and only possible German academy,” whose task was to create a new intellectualspiritual space for the German nation.94 “Like no human generation before, this generation and the next, which we already see rising up among us, knows that it stands in relation to the whole of life, and this in a stricter sense than the Romantic generations were even capable of imagining.”95 The aim of the seekers was to unite a people “that is no longer connected to culture,” that is to say, they wanted to do for German culture what the French had already been accomplishing since the sixteenth century: “the political comprehension of the spiritual and the spiritual comprehension of the political, achieving the constitution of a real nation.” What Hofmannsthal seems to have in mind here is a move beyond what he regarded as an empty individualism to a deeper sense of responsibility and connection to other people and social classes. Hofmannsthal regarded the last decades of the eighteenth century as a period RIHQWKXVLDVWLFXQDEDVKHGOLEHUDWLRQV\PEROL]HGE\¾JXUHVOLNH5RXVVHDXDQG Beethoven, who wanted to break out of the bonds of traditional society and religion to create the liberated individual, face to face with God and shaping his own GHVWLQ\,Q+RIPDQQVWKDOµVPRGHORI*HUPDQLQWHOOHFWXDOKLVWRU\HPHUJHV as a key turning point when the modern individual was suddenly left to his own devices.97 Hofmannsthal describes a transition between the liberation of the modern ego from Fichte to Freud and what Hofmannsthal sometimes referred to as a latent religiosity. The period around 1900 (although often seen as a revolutionary time) was, according to Hofmannsthal, confronted with the opposite set of problems, which he referred to with the term Gegenerlebnis, or “counter-experience.” Here the issue was emptiness, lack of connection, the absence of a meaningful VRFLDORUGHUDQGVLJQL¾FDQWKXPDQUHODWLRQVKLSV:ULWHUVRIWKHHDUO\WZHQWLHWK century were no longer preoccupied with emancipation but were searching for meaning and connection.98 Hofmannsthal’s address on Beethoven in 1920 under-

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21

scored the contrast between the late eighteenth century and the postwar situation. “At that time an age like the dawn of sunrise came upon the German nation, rising up toward high noon. We would hardly know how to describe the hour that has struck in the life of the nation today.”99 Hofmannsthal believed that this process of synthesis was still not clearly understood in 1927, and it is hard for us now to challenge the idea that some kind RIQDWLRQDOUHQHZDOZDVQHHGHG+HFDPHFORVHVWWRGH¾QLQJLWLQWHUPVRIDUHWXUQ to the early sixteenth century, before the Renaissance and the Reformation, but he also seems to have regarded German classicism and the German Enlightenment as part of this process. He apparently did not intend something political with the WHUP²FRQVHUYDWLYHUHYROXWLRQ³DQGKHQHYHUGH¾QHGLWFOHDUO\²7KHSURFHVVRI ZKLFK,VSHDNLVQRWKLQJRWKHUWKDQDFRQVHUYDWLYHUHYROXWLRQRIDVFRSHWKDWLV XQNQRZQWR(XURSHDQKLVWRU\,WVJRDOLVWRIRUPDQHZ*HUPDQUHDOLW\LQZKLFK the whole nation can take part.”100 Hofmannsthal was describing a long historical process rather than advocating a sudden political transformation: “Slow and extraordinary we may surely call this process, when we consider that even the long WLPHVSDQRIGHYHORSPHQWIURPWKH¿LFNHUVRIWKHDJHRI(QOLJKWHQPHQWGRZQWR us is only a brief span in it, that it actually began as an inner counter-movement against that spiritual transformation of the sixteenth century that we are accustomed to refer to in its two aspects of Renaissance and Reformation.”101 Read in the context of Hofmannsthal’s other essays, “The Written Word” represents an effort to correct the way the Western tradition had developed since the early sixteenth century, overcoming division and restoring the lost unity of Europe, especially the division between Protestant and Catholic, which becomes apparent if we see Austria together with France and the West Slavs in contrast to Northern Europe, a sixteenth-century perspective that was very much alive to Hofmannsthal. But he also emphasized the individualism that grew out of the Renaissance and developed into classical liberalism. He seems to have been criticizing two extreme forms of individualism: the individual’s completely independent and direct relationship to God and the individual’s sense of complete autonomy and separation from any validly binding community. He believed that only when these issues were addressed within the German tradition would it be possible to unite Europe as a whole, and he saw the Austrian legacy as a fruitful tradition in this context. Scholarship on the “conservative revolution” has generally focused on the Weimar Republic (that is, post-Wilhelmine Germany) and National Socialism. Armin Mohler’s Die Konservative Revolution in Deutschland 1918–1932, which was written just after the Second World War, deals mainly with Germany rather than Austria—and with the interwar years in particular.102 But sixty years later 0RKOHUµVGH¾QLWLRQVDQGFODUL¾FDWLRQVDUHVWLOOKHOSIXO+HGHVFULEHVWKHFRQVHUvative revolution as a broadly European process of coming to terms with the cri-

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Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

sis of meaning in Western civilization, and he argues that there were two related strands in Weimar culture: National Socialism and the conservative revolution that reached back to Goethe. Mohler especially emphasized that the relationship between these two strands was still not clear even in the year and a half after Hitler became chancellor. For Mohler, Hitler was a Stalin of the conservative UHYROXWLRQ ZKLFK 0RKOHU VDZ DV PDGH XS E\ VPDOO FLUFOHV RI OLWHUDU\ ¾JXUHV whose cultural concerns were quite different from the attempt to manipulate mass politics. He argued that Hitler found some aspects of this conservative movement useful, although much of his early political violence was directed against it. Mohler singled out Hofmannsthal for crystallizing the term “conservative revolution” in 1927, even though Hofmannsthal had drawn on Thomas Mann’s usage from 1921; Mohler also noted that the term must have been in circulation before that.103 Fritz Stern’s discussion of the conservative revolution from a liberal perspective has sometimes been read by historians as identifying Hofmannsthal with the politics of cultural despair or even with National Socialism.104 Stern helped to clarify Nietzche’s relationship to Lagarde, Langbehn, and Moeller van den Bruck, all of whom contributed to a way of thinking that was an important part of the political culture that produced Hitler. His book showed how the concerns of Germanic ideology were related to other modern intellectuals, and he drew on Hofmannsthal for the key term “conservative revolution.”105 The danger is that the term “conservative revolution” can become an abstract, external context with D¾[HGPHDQLQJWKDWLVQRWFDUHIXOO\FRQQHFWHGWR+RIPDQQVWKDODQGKLVZRUN Despite Hofmannsthal’s prominence in discussions of the conservative revolution, his actual ideas are almost disappointing in relation to the concerns of German political historians. Hofmannsthal’s conservative style was neither nationalist in the conventional sense nor subjective and radical in the style of Germanic ideology. His vision of a conservative revolution at the end of “The Written Word” is the culmination of his thinking about language and the German intellectual tradition, and it connects to his hope for a renovated European tradition and a new classicism. Hofmannsthal himself might be characterized as a classical writer, not only in the sense that he remains important for us today but also in the sense that he is, like an ancient writer, almost unknown to contemporary readers even though his essays are barely a hundred years old. McClatchy emphasizes Hofmannsthal’s ambition to be “timeless,” “to be a classic,” working for a “‘relationship with the whole of existence.’”107 Hofmannsthal himself repeatedly emphasized the importance of coming to terms with reality in a way that was quite unlike the prophets RIFXOWXUDOGHVSDLU²,IZHZDQWWR¾QGRXUVHOYHVZHPXVWQRWJRGRZQLQWRWKH LQVLGHZHZLOO¾QGRXUVHOYHVRXWVLGHRXWWKHUH:HGRQRWSRVVHVVRXUVHOI

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23

LWEORZVWRXVIURPRXWVLGHLW¿HHVIURPXVIRUDORQJWLPHDQGUHWXUQVWRXVLQD breath.”108

◆◆◆ Although most of these essays will be new to readers of English, they are not GLI¾FXOWWRUHDGLQWKHZD\WKDWPRGHUQ*HUPDQRU)UHQFKZULWHUVFDQVRPHWLPHV EH,QGHHG+RIPDQQVWKDOLVDQHOHJDQWVW\OLVWFRPSDUDEOHWRHVVD\LVWVOLNH2VFDU:LOGHDQG0DWWKHZ$UQROG:KDWLVGLI¾FXOWLQ+RIPDQQVWKDOLVWKHUDQJH of metaphors and the subtlety of the ideas, as well his characteristic blend of an immersion in the German intellectual heritage since the Enlightenment with his VHQVLWLYLW\WRWKHSHFXOLDUVLWXDWLRQDQGSRVVLELOLWLHVRI$XVWULD,QHYLWDEO\PDQ\ of the words that mark the distinctiveness, and thus untranslatability, of the German tradition are crucial to Hofmannsthal’s texts, especially Bildung, Dichter, and Geist,VRPHWLPHVWUDQVODWHBildung as “education,” but this is meant in the sense of self-cultivation and the idea of shaping and forming inwardness that developed in the late eighteenth century; it can also be used in the more conventional sense of cultured. Dichter can be either “poet” or “writer” in English, and it means creative writer, whether in verse or prose. Finally, Geist and geistig are SDUWLFXODUO\LPSRUWDQWLQWKHVHHVVD\VDQGDZRUGRIFODUL¾FDWLRQPD\JLYHVRPH sense of the distinctiveness of German as a philosophical and literary language. Geist, which can be translated as either “spirit” or “mind,” was a central word for German classicism and romanticism, but it was also a confusing and contradictory word in the politics and culture of the 1920s.109 The importance of the word Geist in the German tradition is underscored dramatically by the 1897 edition of the Deutsches Wörterbuch, which devotes more than a hundred closely printed (two-columned) pages to Geist.110 Much of the ambiguity of the word seems to have been gone by the late twentieth century, EXWWRIROORZWKHVLJQL¾FDQFHRIWKLVTXHVWLRQLWPXVWEHFOHDUWKDW*HUPDQKDV perfectly good words for reason (Vernunft), understanding (Verstand or Verstehen), and intellect (Verstand or Intellekt). Intellektuell has a clear meaning, that is, emphatically intellectual, but the nuances of geistigDUHRIWHQGLI¾FXOWWRFRQvey in English, and they generally create more problems for the translator than the noun Geist.111 GeistigQHYHUPHDQVUHOLJLRXVRUFKXUFKO\LQDVSHFL¾FDQGQDUrow sense; for this the word is geistlich. But geistig can mean intellectual, mental, RUVSLULWXDORUVRPHFRPELQDWLRQRIWKHVH±RULWPD\VLPSO\EHXQVSHFL¾FLQD way that English cannot easily capture. The usage of Geist and geistig is an issue in almost everything Hofmannsthal wrote. These words are not only prominent in Hofmannsthal’s essays but also central to modern German literature.112 For many years, the best introduction to Hofmannsthal’s prose in English was the volume introduced by Hermann Broch in 1952, Selected Prose, but it FRQFHQWUDWHVSULPDULO\RQ¾FWLRQDQGLWGRHVQRWLQFOXGHPRVWRIWKHHVVD\VWKDW deal with the Austrian idea, the First World War, and Hofmannsthal’s mature

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Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

view of language.113 Recently, two other English editions have appeared: The Lord Chandos Letter and Other Writings, selected and translated by Joel Rothenberg and introduced by John Banville (New York: New York Review Books, 2005) and McClatchy’s recent volume, The Whole Difference. There are other English translations of Hofmannsthal’s essays, sometimes fragmentary and largely published during Hofmannsthal’s lifetime, but these are very selective: they concentrate on his early essays about poetry (and the English) and on the postwar essays.114 The Kritische Ausgabe Sämtliche Werke will eventually include Hofmannsthal’s essays, but it is, perhaps, an indication of the scholarly perception of Hofmannsthal’s work that the essays have been left until last in the new scholarly edition.115 Hofmannsthal is a particularly eloquent commentator on the subject of transODWLRQ)RUH[DPSOHRQWKHGLI¾FXOWLHVRIWUDQVODWLQJIRONVRQJVIURP&]HFKLQWR German, he writes, “The translator refreshes and renews his own language, not as if he were forcing the foreign into it, and yet by means of the foreign, through the impact that the foreignness of the foreign has exercised on him: for the more genuine the foreign language, the more it forces him into a corner; he sees himself confronted with naked speechlessness, for he wants to unearth what is most profound and naked in himself, that is, the popular mind that lives in him.” $VPXFKDV,ZDQWWRFRPPXQLFDWHWKHGLVWLQFWLYHQHVVWKHIRUHLJQQHVVRIWKHVH texts, my instinct has been to translate Hofmannsthal into contemporary American English, to write as Hofmannsthal might have, had he lived in the United 6WDWHVLQWKHHDUO\WZHQW\¾UVWFHQWXU\7KDWLVLQVRIDUDV,VLJQDOWKHSHFXOLDULWLHV DQGIRUHLJQQHVVRIWKHWH[W,WU\WRGRVRLQWKLVFRQWH[WLQDZD\WKDWPDNHVVHQVH WR$PHULFDQVOLYLQJWRGD\DQG,WKLQNWKLVLVFRQVLVWHQWZLWK+RIPDQQVWKDOµVZLVK to communicate with an educated but nonspecialized audience. The translator must bear in mind the limits of language, culture, and the SDVW,WLVLPSRUWDQWPRUHRYHUWROHDYHWKHVHDVQHDUO\LQWDFWDVSRVVLEOHLQFOXGing the conventions of gender, power, and class that are encoded in them. The ZULWHUUH¿HFWVDQKLVWRULFDOFRPPXQLW\DQGLWVOLPLWDWLRQVDQGWKHWUDQVODWRUPXVW try to give the rhythm and shape of the original rather than sanitizing with an eye to contemporary taste. Translation is a kind of thinking, as it is a kind of interpreWDWLRQDQGXQGHUVWDQGLQJ,WLVDOVRDZD\RIOLVWHQLQJFDUHIXOO\WRDQRWKHUSHUVRQ another culture. We learn not just from what the writer says but from the experience of listening with care. But translating these essays has also brought home to me the degree to which a translation is an interpretation—as is, of course, the selection of essays to include in this volume. George Steiner has pointed to the increasing importance of English translaWLRQVLQUHFHQW\HDUV²,WLVDVLIWKHSODQHWDU\GRPLQDWLRQRI>WKH([email protected]SULYLleged world-speech entails growing responsibilities toward the genius of more constricted national traditions and sensibilities.”117 This seems more evident for

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25

Eastern European languages than for German, but it applies as well to aspects of Hofmannsthal’s work that literary scholars do not ordinarily emphasize. As Hofmannsthal himself reminds us in his essay on Neumann’s translations, “in great spiritual matters it is not ignorance that is dangerous and cancels out all true LQ¿XHQFHEXWDSSDUHQWDQGKDOINQRZOHGJH,QWKHKLJKHVWVSLULWXDOPDWWHUVQRWKing can be passed on truly and purely, nothing taught, unless one teaches it with H[DFWO\WKHZRUGVRIWKH¾UVWWHDFKHU³118 ,Q RQH RI KLV SRVWZDU HVVD\V ²7KUHH6PDOO2EVHUYDWLRQV³+RIPDQQVWKDO discusses the ideal qualities of prose style in a way that elegantly captures what he was able to do as an essayist. Among other qualities, he emphasizes “the steadiness” of the “contact with the listener” in “a gentle, sociable relationship EHWZHHQWZRSHRSOH³,QSURVHRIWKLVNLQG²HYHU\WKLQJLVGLUHFWHGDWFRQWDFWZLWK an ideal listener. This listener is, so to speak, the representative of humanity, and to cooperate in creating him and to keep alive the feeling of his presence is perKDSVWKH¾QHVWDQGVWURQJHVWTXDOLW\WKDWWKHFUHDWLYHSRZHURIWKHSURVHZULWHUKDV to achieve.” And Hofmannsthal suggests that we might rank books, especially those that teach, “according to how gently and meaningfully this relationship to the listener is realized in them; and nothing pulls down a book and an author more quickly than when we can see in him that he had in mind a corrupt, inattentive, and disrespectful picture of this, his invisible client.”119 This is a wonderful statement of what Hofmannsthal achieves in his mature essays. ,QWKLVYROXPH,KRSHWRRSHQXSLVVXHVIRUERWK$XVWULDQDQG*HUPDQKLVtorians and for Europeanists who are looking for a broader sense of European identity and interconnectedness within Europe and beyond it. For scholars of *HUPDQOLWHUDWXUH,KRSHLWZLOOSURYHKHOSIXOWRVHHWKHVHWH[WVLQWKHFRQWH[WRI SROLWLFDOLQWHOOHFWXDODQGFXOWXUDOKLVWRU\,QERWKUHJDUGV,ZDQWWRZRUNDJDLQVW assumptions that too neatly divide literature from politics or emphasize political judgments at the expense of understanding. My goal is not just translation but a way of thinking about these essays as a way of thinking about the relationship of Austria to German and European culture.

Notes 1

2

Hugo von Hofmannsthal, The Whole Difference: Selected Writings of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, ed. J. P. McClatchy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 8. McClatchy has in mind a very broad sense of the word “essay,” and he emphasizes that the range of the essays is “prodigious”; on the other hand, Hofmannsthal’s essays are not the main emphasis in McClatchy’s volume. See Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Reden und Aufsätze, Gesammelte Werke, ed. Bernd Schoeller and Rudolf Hirsch , vols. 1–3 (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 1979– 80), or Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Gesammelte Werke in Einzelausgaben, Prosa, edited E\+HUEHUW6WHLQHUYROV° )UDQNIXUWDP0DLQ6)LVFKHU9HUODJ° 





Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

See Peter Christoph Kern, Zur Gedankenwelt des späten Hofmannsthals: Die Idee einer schöpferischen Restauration +HLGHOEHUJ&:LQWHU 2QWKHGHOD\HGUHFHSWLRQ of Hofmannsthal’s essays after the Second World War, see Ernst-Otto Gerke, Der Essay als Kunstform bei Hugo von Hofmannsthal (Lübeck: Mathiesen Verlag, 1970). On WKHVLJQL¾FDQFHRI+RIPDQQVWKDOµVHVVD\VVHH.DWKHULQH$UHQV²+RIPDQQVWKDOµV(Vsays: Conservation as Revolution,” in A Companion to the Works of Hofmannsthal, ed. Thomas A. Kovach, 181–202 (Rochester: Camden House, 2002). See also David S. Luft, Robert Musil and the Crisis of European Culture, 1880– 1942 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 18–22, on the importance of the essay in the early twentieth century—especially its intermediate position between literature and philosophy. For a recent study of the essay as a genre since the 1890s, see Simon Jander, Die Poetisierung des Essays: Rudolf Kassner, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Gottfried Benn +HLGHOEHUJ8QLYHUVLWlWVYHUODJ:LQWHU6HHDOVR6ãDZRPLU /HğQLDNThomas Mann, Max Rychner, Hugo von Hofmannsthal und Rudolf Kassner. Eine Typologie essayisicher Formen (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2005). 4 Michael Hamburger, “Hofmannsthal’s Debt to the English-Speaking World,” in Hofmannsthal: Three Essays, 131–55 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), 141. 5 Our sense of the contrast, often idealized to be sure, between Western institutions DQG&HQWUDO(XURSHDQLQVWLWXWLRQVZDVRQO\LQWHQVL¾HGRIFRXUVHE\WKHIDVFLVWHUD After the Second World War, it was easier for most American scholars to appreciate nineteenth-century liberalism or Marxism than conservative points of view from this period.  ²7KH$XVWULDQ,GHD³6HH+HUPDQQ5XGROSKKulturkritik und konservative Revolution (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1971), 107–8. Rudolph argues that not until 1917, when Hofmannsthal was in Prague, did the inevitability of the breakup of the Habsburg Monarchy become clear to him. 7 For essays that emphasize the war and politics (especially in 1914 and 1915), see “Appell an die oberen Stände” (1914), “Worte zum Gedächtnis des Prinzen Eugen” (1914), “Die Taten und der Ruhm” (1915), “Geist der Karpathen” (1915), “Krieg und Kultur” (1915), “Österreichs Kriegsziel” (1915), “Unsere Militärverwaltung in Polen” (1915), and “Maria Theresia” (1917). 8 As he formulated it in his late theory of language in 1927, the German nation is to be found only “in the great literary monuments and in the popular dialects.” “The Value and Dignity of the German Language,” 173. 9 See Luft, Robert Musil, 13–18, and H. Stuart Hughes, Consciousness and Society: The Reorientation of European Social Thought, 1980–1930, chapter 9 (New York: Knopf, 1958). Other scholars have pointed to the same phenomenon with other terms. See Robert Wohl, The Generation of 1914 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), and Thomas Harrison, 1910: The Emancipation of Dissonance (Berkeley: University RI &DOLIRUQLD 3UHVV   6HH DOVR 'DYLG 6 /XIW ²6FKRSHQKDXHU$XVWULD DQG WKH Generation of 1905,” Central European History 0DUFK ° 10 Ernst Robert Curtius, “Zu Hofmannsthals Gedächtnis,” in Kritische Essays zur europäischen Literatur %HUQ)UDQFNH9HUODJ  11 “View of the Spiritual Condition of Europe,” 127. 12 Luft, Robert Musil, 1. 13 For a brief account in English of Hofmannsthal’s life and work, see Lowell A. Bangerter, Hugo von Hofmannsthal (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1977). There is still no comprehensive biography of Hofmannsthal, even in German. 3

,QWURGXFWLRQ 14

15

 

18 19

20

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25



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27

There has recently been a good deal of interest in the Jewish dimension of Hofmannsthal’s background. See, for example, Ulrich Weinzierl, Hofmannsthal: Skizzen zu einem Bild (Vienna: Zolnay Verlag, 2005). Hermann Broch, Hofmannsthal and His Time, trans. Michael Steinberg (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984). For many years Broch’s 1951 essay “Hofmannsthal und seine Zeit: Eine Studie” was almost the only helpful work available on late nineteenth-century Austrian culture. Hermann Broch, Dichten und Erkennen: Essays, vol. 1 (Zurich: Rhein-Verlag, 1955), 43–105. 0LFKDHO+DPEXUJHULQWURGXFWLRQWR+XJRYRQ+RIPDQQVWKDOPoems and Verse Plays, [LLL°O[LLL 1HZ7KH,[email protected]7KLVFKHHUIXOQHVVWKHGRZU\RIWKHSHRSOHWKHSHFXOLDUHQQREOLQJHOHPHQW RI KDSS\ VRFLDELOLW\ WKLV DQG ZKHWKHU LW LV WKHUH RU QRW LV SHUKDSV ZKDW PRVW GLVWLQJXLVKHVSRSXODUIURPFXOWLYDWHGSRHWU\$QGKHUHZH¾QGDSHFXOLDUSRLQW RIYLHZUHJDUGLQJRQHRIWKHJUHDWHVW¾JXUHVRIRXUFXOWLYDWHGOLWHUDWXUHFaust as UHODWLYHO\SRRUDQGSRRUQRWHQWLUHO\ZLWKRXWWKHDZDUHQHVVRILWVFUHDWRU :KDW*RHWKHFRXOGQRWEULQJWR)DXVWWKHPRVWYDOXDEOHDQGSUHFLRXVWKH IRONHOHPHQWLVWKHJHQXLQHVHQVHRIKXPRU0HSKLVWRKDVDWUDFHRILQWHOOHFWXDO KXPRURQDYHU\KLJKOHYHO7KHULQJRILWLVWKHUHDWOHDVWEXWDUHDOO\FORZQLVK HOHPHQWDVDVLPLODUO\JUHDWZULWHURIDPRUHQDLYHHSRFKFHUWDLQO\ZRXOGKDYH FUHDWHGLWZDVDOUHDG\QRORQJHUSRVVLEOH7KHIRONHOHPHQWVDUHLQWURGXFHGKHUH YHU\ODERULRXVO\FRQYHUVHO\RQHFRXOGUHJDUGWKHFXOWLYDWHGHOHPHQWLQ5DLPXQG DVDUWL¾FLDODQGLPSRUWHGDQGKLVHOHYDWHGVSHHFKKDVVRPHWKLQJERUURZHGQRW

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DJR±WREHVXUHWLPHJUDGXDOO\HURGHVDQGOHYHOVHYHU\WKLQJ±DPDQPLJKWIHHO KLPVHOIWREHDVXEMHFWRI3ULQFH6FKZDU]HQEHUJDVDVXEMHFWRIWKH0HON0RQDVWHU\DQGQRWVLPSO\DVD/RZHU$XVWULDQRUDQ$XVWULDQ$6ZDELDQIURPWKH %DQDWLVD6ZDELDQIURPWKH%DQDWDERUGHUIDPLO\>[email protected]LVDERUGHU IDPLO\:RHWR+LP:KR/LHV@ the idea itself in its purity and unconditionality is confronted with the world that will allow it no place. Before the end of this address we must touch on yet one more way in which this strange mastery reveals itself: that every one of his dramas is a completely distinctive structure, not only in terms of the object, which goes without saying, but DOVRLQWHUPVRILWVVW\OH(DFKLIZHSHQHWUDWHGHHSO\HQRXJKLQWRWKHSRUWUD\DO appears within the dramatic genre as the representative of a genre of its own. But here we can touch only in passing on what strikes us clearly and quickly. Die Ahnfrau >7KH[email protected]LQLWVPL[WXUHRIWKHSRSXODUWKHP\VWHU\DQG the detective story with the Spanish trochique form, which gives the piece the EUHDWKOHVV¿\LQJDQGDWWKHVDPHWLPHGLVWDQWTXDOLW\PDGHKLPZLWKRQHVWURNH into a famous poet; but never again did he return to the same or a similar mixture of poetic elements. The Golden FleeceOLQNVQRGRXEWWR(XULSLGHVDQGDOVRWR Schiller’s style, but binds in a quite new way the mythical with a dissection of the soul that belongs entirely to modern times. Hero, tragic idyll, stands without equal. Traum ein Leben [Der Traum, ein Leben; /LIH,VD'[email protected]LVWKHPDJLF SLHFHRI9LHQQHVHSRSXODUWKHDWHUPDJQL¾FHQWO\HQQREOHGDQGVSLULWXDOL]HGEXW also this wonderful style-form, in which the local genius seems to smile, he never took up again. Woe to Him Who Lies!—because of the time I cannot enumerate all of his work—is the rarest of rare: a charmingly idyllic painting of a distant time and at the same time a high comedy, from the genre that the French, who are cautious and precise in their artistic judgment, refer to as comique sérieux; of which this piece stands alone, next to Minna von Barnhelm, the two immortal examples of the whole genre, the yield of a century and a half; The Broken Jug



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does not quite belong to the same line. But in the last three pieces the highest is DFKLHYHGDJDLQLQWKLVUHJDUGWKHZKROHDUWLVWLFSRZHURIDORQJOLIHSXUL¾HGDQG taken together. In Ein Bruderzwist in Habsburg>$%URWKHUVµ[email protected]WKHDOPRVW XQEHOLHYDEOHLVDFKLHYHGIRUWKHRQO\WLPHXQGHUWKHPRVWVSHFL¾FFRQGLWLRQV± for Schiller’s tragedies are, with the exception of Wallenstein, and even that only half an exception, not historical pieces in the sense that we mean here—to give WKHKLVWRULFDOFRQWHQWRIDSDVW\HWHVVHQWLDOO\VWLOOLQ¿XHQWLDOHSRFKFRPSOHWHO\ and to present it in characters. Perhaps only an Austrian could achieve this, and only for the seventeenth century, between which and us a secret thread runs all the way up to yesterday. Then in The Jewess of Toledo something quite new is achieved: the anecdote, the private fate, the novella-like, with an incomparable animation, and formed convincingly as tragedy, which has nothing private and accidental about it. In Libussa¾QDOO\KHFUHDWHGWKHIDLU\WDOHZLWKDGHHSHUPHDQLQJDQGFRQQHFWHGWR the political as much as to the general, eternal. Neither of these blazed trails has been followed by anyone. ,QWKHVHIRUPVOLHHOHYDWHGSRHWLFLGHDVWKDWUHTXLUHPDWXULW\WRUH¿HFWRQ7R have such ideas is the task of the strong; and in this, in strength, I place him next WR/HVVLQJZKRZDVJUHDWDVDJLYHURIIRUPDVPXFKLQLQGLYLGXDOVSHHFKHVDV LQWKHFRQVWUXFWLRQRIWKHZKROHDQGQH[WWR.OHLVW$QGWKHVHWZR¾JXUHVVWLOO speak to us today, undiminished by time. Great power always dwelled in Grillparzer himself and in everything he left behind, a power of a strict, self-enclosed kind, of a sort we surmise that in human emotions is the bearer of genuine belief and genuine accomplishment. His fame is also such a construction, just as with the same being everything is similar. It was achieved early and not highly prized by him. Because of this there breathes from what remains of it the aroma of an incorruptible power, imperceptible to be sure to those in the eternal outer court—but whomever it drives deeper into the past that is present, that is to be pressed into the authentic life of the nation, which is compelled to breathe in this EUHDWKRISRZHUDQGWKHVDQFWXDU\RIWKHQDWLRQLV¾OOHGZLWKLWIRUWKHUHLVVXFK a thing, and because it is not built from stones, it is indestructible and removed from everyday cares. Grillparzer’s fame is his power; his power is his fame. Both are there, compelling belief and bestowing life, not at every crossroad, but everywhere that we need them. He is among the few who arise in us, when we raise ourselves to a higher concept of our self.

Notes 

 +XJR YRQ +RIPDQQVWKDO ²5HGH DXI *ULOOSDU]HU³ LQ Reden und Aufsätze, vol. 2, 1914–1924, 87–101. See also Prosa, vol. 4, 112–31. First printing: Wissen und Leben (Zürich), June 1, 1922.

Address on Grillparzer   



149

7KH+UDGVFKLQLVWKHFDVWOHLQ3UDJXHZKLFKZDVWKHUHVLGHQFHRI5XGROI,,LQWKHVL[teenth century. 7HUHQFHZDVDQDQFLHQW5RPDQSOD\ZULJKWRIWKHUHSXEOLFDQSHULRG .DUO*XW]NRZ ° ZDVD*HUPDQZULWHUDQGDOHDGLQJ¾JXUHRIBildungsphilister]. The cultured German bourgeois believed in 1871 that the time had come, afWHUDYLFWRULRXVVWUXJJOH¾QDOO\WREHWULXPSKDQW+HEHOLHYHGWKHWLPHKDGFRPH for his nation to be regarded as the strongest culture, the time had come to transform the eternal seeking and desiring and struggling into a permanent possession, the time to settle down comfortably on the foundation of a personal culture that one possessed as it had been created by the achievements of our classical age, ZKLFKRQHKDGDVD¾UPSRVVHVVLRQWKDWFRXOGQRWEHORVWDQGZKLFKDORQJZLWK RWKHUHDUWKO\SRVVHVVLRQVFRQVWLWXWHGUHDOLW\+RZVXFKDQDUURJDQWVHOIVDWLV¾HG spiritual attitude could take over the greater part of this great, tragically inclined nation so that only a solitary one, a taut soul like Nietzsche was there to challenge this false way of living—that is hard for us to understand today. It seems incomprehensible to us that there could have been a moment in which that disguised but hardly contested power was so unable to make itself felt—that disguised power, which calls forth within the nation the tensions and anxieties from which we all suffer—relieving these tensions from time to time through outbursts and upheavals, overthrowing pseudo-authority, casting aside the dominant ideas of the day,

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Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea

and ever again binding our shadowy existence to what is eternal, and for which ,FDQ¾QGQREHWWHUQDPHWKDQWKHLQWHOOHFWXDOVSLULWXDOFRQVFLHQFHRIWKHQDWLRQ If now this conscience, awakened and sharpened by what were, to be sure, terrible experiences, takes sides today so decisively with the party opposed to the cultured Philistine, if it shifts the authority it has to bestow so decisively and thoughtlessly today away from those who are settled in their beliefs in favor of those who are spiritually homeless, away from those who have on behalf of those who seek, away from literature on behalf of a struggling sectarianism that stands outside literature, away from the intellectual order of property on behalf of anarchy—and to demonstrate just how much this is the case I call upon your own feeling, the undeceived feeling of contemporaries, your daily experience, the atmosphere of spiritual unrest and uncertainty in which we live—I am able to recognize in this only one thing: the power and health of this conscience, its German boldness that once again burns the ships behind it like that madly bold Agathocles of Syracuse when he landed in Africa to undertake the siege of Carthage. I see the greatness of this conscience that measures time in long periods and thinks of danger, romanticism, and that not undeserved desolation and godlessness that followed it, only as an intermezzo between waves and goes beyond it and legitimates anarchy with new courage and faith and thereby lets it be known that it regards this as the valid expression of the productive in our intellectual exchange with one another. Now the bearers of this productive anarchy—assuming that this anarchy should be greeted and credibly accepted by us as nothing less than a productive one—these seekers, now that we can refer to them as a group with a single word—what they search for, what they then struggle for, perhaps we can eventually begin to bring closer, once we have an overview. But before we do that we want to see them for ourselves, we want to summon these minds so that they will appear before us for a moment here. Where, we ask then, in what marginal region of our life do these seekers settle down, in what divisions of our fragmented culture have they established their dwelling places, where can someone who wants WRPHHWWKHPPRVWTXLFNO\¾QGWKHVHZDQGHULQJORVWVRQVZKRQHYHUWKHOHVVVWLOO EHDUWKH¿DJRIWKHQDWLRQLQWKHLUPLGVW"