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Every Curve of Flesh

Gabriele Annan, 10 January 1991

Diary of an Erotic Life 
by Frank Wedekind.
Blackwell, 183 pp., £25, October 1990, 0 631 16607 6
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... It’s ages since I got over being a sexual psychopath,’ Wedekind wrote, ‘and yet, I shall never forget it: those were happy days.’ His Diary of an Erotic Life is a record of those happy days between 1887, when he was 23, and 1894. A few pages of short entries cover the period 1908 to 1918. That was the year he died, after several botched operations on his appendix ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Pandora’s Box’, 21 June 2018

... need to open a box, she herself is trouble personified. Pabst’s film is based on two plays by Frank Wedekind, The Earth Spirit (1895) and Pandora’s Box (1904). His Lulu is a feral relative of the beautiful, damaging kept women who haunt 19th-century theatre and opera. A prologue to the first play tells us that she was ‘created to do harm, to ...

How to be Viennese

Adam Phillips, 5 March 1987

Karl Kraus: Apocalyptic Satirist 
by Edward Timms.
Yale, 468 pp., £20, October 1986, 0 300 03611 6
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Half-Truths and One-and-a-Half-Truths: Selected Aphorisms of Karl Kraus 
translated by Harry Zohn.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £3.94, May 1986, 0 85635 580 1
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... criticism. Kraus’s first ambition had been to be an actor. His contemporary, the playwright Frank Wedekind, thought Kraus had missed his vocation by not working in the theatre. He would describe himself instead as ‘perhaps the first case of a writer who simultaneously experiences the process of writing as an actor’. Just as the mask was one of ...

Prophet in a Tuxedo

Richard J. Evans: Walter Rathenau, 22 November 2012

Walther Rathenau: Weimar’s Fallen Statesman 
by Shulamit Volkov.
Yale, 240 pp., £18.99, April 2012, 978 0 300 14431 4
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... and artistic milieu, where he frequented literary salons and met men like Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Frank Wedekind and Stefan Zweig. He had become well known by 1914, publishing two volumes of essays on subjects ranging from economics to morality. In his essays on art he rejected what he saw as the modernism of the French Impressionists and advocated the ...

I Could Sleep with All of Them

Colm Tóibín: The Mann Family, 6 November 2008

In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain: The Erika and Klaus Mann Story 
by Andrea Weiss.
Chicago, 302 pp., £14.50, May 2008, 978 0 226 88672 5
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... direct the play with himself in one of the male roles, Klaus in the other; Erika Mann and Pamela Wedekind, the daughter of the playwright Frank Wedekind, would be the two young women. The ambitious Gründgens, who was born in 1899, had a reputation in Hamburg but not in Berlin. At one point, as they worked on the ...

He speaks too loud

David Blackbourn: Brecht, 2 July 2014

Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life 
by Stephen Parker.
Bloomsbury, 704 pp., £30, February 2014, 978 1 4081 5562 2
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... you would expect a clever young man to read – the French symbolist poets, Stefan George, Rilke, Wedekind, Nietzsche – but he was also interested in street cries and fairground songs, whose rhythms found their way into his earliest ballads. When war broke out he was attracted by the idea of heroic sacrifice, and the first money he earned from his writing ...

Brecht’s New Age

Margot Heinemann, 1 March 1984

Brecht in Context: Comparative Approaches 
by John Willett.
Methuen, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1984, 0 413 50410 7
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Brecht: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 423 pp., £18.50, September 1983, 0 297 78198 7
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... and party-goer, famous for singing his own cabaret songs to the guitar; already influenced by Wedekind, Büchner and Rimbaud, he thought at 18 that he wrote better. Much of this account is new to English readers, who will at least be encouraged to think of Brecht as extraordinarily good company, amusing and brilliant, rather than a heavy philosopher best ...

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