Hugo von Hofmannsthal: Writings on Art / Schriften
German and English / Deutsch und Englisch
(German Texts in English Translation, Volume II. Deutsche Texte in englischer
Übersetzung, Band II. Hans-Günther Schwarz & Norman R. Diffey (Eds.))
2017 · ISBN
117 S., kt. · EUR 23,40
Around 1900 the city of Vienna was pulsating with creativity. From a
cultural-historical point of view, it presents one of those rare scenes of
concentrated and varied talent, not only in the arts, but also in psychology
and medicine, philosophy, physics, and (though less famously) sociology.
Writers and artists working in Vienna, including Sigmund Freud, Ernst Mach,
and – somewhat later – Ludwig Wittgenstein, were at the forefront of
exploring new ways of perceiving the world. The Viennese writer Hugo von
Hofmannsthal (1874–1929) is at the epicentre of such shifts in sensibility.
The present volume is intended to bring to the fore an under-represented
side of Hofmannsthal’s writing: his thoughts on and responses to visual art.
It is directed towards scholars of German literature and Modernism as well
as towards a more general audience interested in the strange force that art
can wield over us, and in that eternal drive to express what simultaneously
resists and compels expression. While the texts chosen are not exhaustive
(the critical edition of Hofmannsthal’s writings currently comprises 39
published volumes), they are representative of Hofmannsthal’s literary
engagement with visual art around the turn of the century. Visual art was by
no means the only kind of art that seized Hofmannsthal’s interest. Dance in
particular fascinated him (he was involved in a number of ballet
collaborations), as did music. Even though he considered himself ignorant
when it came to music, he noted to his collaborator Richard Strauss quite
confidently that he had nevertheless a feeling for style (Richard
Strauss – Hugo von Hofmannsthal Briefwechsel, p. 240). This sensibility
is present in his comments on visual art as well.
CONTENTS · INHALT
Acknowledgements · Dank
Writings On Art · Schriften
Afterword (Hans-Günther Schwarz):
Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Art
Select English Bibliography
Marlo Burks, the translator, received her Ph.D. from the University of
Toronto. Her dissertation was on Hugo von Hofmannsthal.