Karl Kraus, noted literary critic, play-wright, essayist and wit, died today at the age of 62. Since 1898, he has been publisher, and for long periods the only contributor, of “The Torch,” Vienna periodical.
Kraus, a Bohemian by birth, gained his widest reputation as a satirist. His best known work is “The Last Days of Humanity,” a penetrating analysis of the war psychosis, in which he mercilessly caricatures the typical jingoistic patriot. Among his other works are a volume on Heinrich Heine, a book of lyrics, a volume of aphorisms called “Dictions and Contradictions,” an essay on the Great Wall of China, and a study of “Literature and Lies.”
All of Kraus’ works have been acclaimed for the original and forceful style, which is said to be distinguished by Jewish prophetic characteristics. Kraus, a Catholic by adoption, never denied his Jewish origin, although he was frequently critical of Jews generally.
One of Kraus’ pet beliefs was that journalism constitutes the gravest menace to real culture of the heart and spirit. He held it responsible for the superficiality and dulling of modern humanity and the arts.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.