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Karl Kraus

In a posting yesterday I quoted Karl Kraus: "Psychoanalysis is the disease for which it is supposed to be the cure"

That particular quote, by the way, was mentioned by Auden twice -- once in his Commonplace Book, and again in the collection of aphorisms he did with Kronenberger. So I suspect that was his favorite Krausism.

Canetti, on the other hand, begins his lecture on Karl Kraus, in whom he had such a great interest, with a different memorable quote, which I give a-peu-pres, not having the book within reach:

"The population of Vienna consists of 2,030,864 people. That is, 2,030,863 people, and me."

It's hard to choose between those two quotes. One tries to imagine certain people who died in 1939, just before the war, as not having died, but having made it to America and lived long enough to see the end of the war and all the details of the death camps, and then tries to imagine what they might have said, or written. What would James Joyce have written about Paul Leon (husband of Lucie Leon), who was caught by the Germans, then murdered, only because he delayed his departure by one day in order to permit his son to sit for the bac. What would Karl Kraus, who in the early 1930s about Adolf Hitler had written "About Mr. Hitler I have nothing to say" have written in 1946? There was a long silence by most of the stunned world, and for many things went on as before -- and certainly, in Europe today, the signs of what went on between 1933 and 1945 never having occurred, never having made an adequate impression or never having been adequately conveyed to the mindless young and the vicious old, are all about.

Well, Kraus, who was maddened by the cheapness of newspapers (newspapers which, by comparison with newspapers today, seem to have been written by a staff consisting of James Bryce, Max Muller, Elie Halevy, and Wilamowitz-Moellendorf) would probably be living in a state of permanent fury at idiocy after idiocy.

I'm sure you know that feeling.