The Kraus Project

Category: Book
By (author): Franzen, Jonathan
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: February 2015
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 336
Our Price:
$ 16.99
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

Strikingly original in form, The Kraus Project is a feast of thought, passion and literature. A hundred years ago, the writings of Viennese satirist Karl Kraus were among the most penetrating and prophetic in Europe-a relentless criticism of the popular media's manipulation of reality, the dehumanizing machinery of technology and consumerism, and the jingoistic rhetoric of a fading empire. But even though Kraus's followers included Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin, he remained something of a lonely prophet, and few people today are familiar with his work. Thankfully, Jonathan Franzen is.

In The Kraus Project, Franzen not only presents his definitive new translations of Kraus but annotates them spectacularly, with supplementary notes from the Kraus scholar Paul Reitter and the Austrian/German writer Daniel Kehlmann. Kraus was a notoriously cantankerous and difficult author, and in Franzen he has found his match: a novelist unafraid to strongly voice unpopular opinions, and a critic capable of untangling Kraus's often dense arguments to reveal their relevance to contemporary America.

Review Quote*

"[There are] literary riches to be mined in Franzen's translation of two essays by the fin de siecle Viennese journalist and cultural critic Karl Kraus. . . . One of the really absorbing subtexts of The Kraus Project is the light it sheds on the complex role Jews played in German-language culture in the 19th Century. Quite simply, they dominated the literary and journalistic life of Hapsburg Vienna. . . . [A] strange, complex book." -Toronto Star

"The Kraus Project is thought-provoking, challenging and entertaining. Kraus's carbolic bons mots can be very funny, and Franzen and co.'s annotations-some pages long-create a lively dialogue with both the text and each other. The book is a fluid and interactive experience, demanding full engagement from the reader." -The Globe and Mail

"The Kraus Project comes to life . . . in its notes, because so many of them are autobiographical. . . . A great deal of this personal material is soulful, counterintuitive, revealing." -The New York Times