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A very bitter, very amusing Viennese satirist from the end of the 19th century.
Karl Kraus was born in Bohemia on the 28th of April, 1874. When he was three his family moved to Vienna. His fist literary efforts are published in 1892 in various magazines and newspapers. At about this time he also abandoned university.
In 1899 the first issue of Die Fackel, a satiric and literary newspaper comes out. Kraus started it, among other reasons, because his satire against hypocrite journalists was so cutting that newspapers had stopped publishing it.
He wrote much against the war, culminating in a play, Die Letzen Tage der Menschheit (The Last Days of Humanity), published in 1919.

He was a prolific writer, a popular public speaker (he gave over 700 public lectures). He even translated Shakespeare.
He died in 1936, which spared him the sight of Anschluss but not the social unrest and civil war that preceded it.

Karl Kraus was also a master of the aphorism.

The esthete stands in the same relation to beauty as the pornographer stands to love, and the politician stands to life.

The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are.

Education is a crutch with which the foolish attack the wise to prove that they are not idiots.

The psychoanalysts pick our dreams as if they were our pockets.

How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.

Morality is a disease that progresses in three stages:

  1. Virtue
  2. Boredom
  3. Syphilis

An aphorism never coincides with truth, it is either a half-truth or one-and-a-half truths.

The biggest acts of stupidity happen in the morning. Men should wake up only when office hours have already finished.

I and my reading public understand each other very well: it does not hear what I say and I don't say what it wants to hear.

When you can't write, a novel is easier than an aphorism.

A fine Karl Kraus page can be found at http://www.stnspages.com/kraus/kraus.shtml

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