The last days of mankind

the last days of mankind is a “tragedy in 5 documents with play and Epilog” from Karl Kraus. It is in the years 1915 - originated in to 1922 as reaction to the First World War. Inin over 200 only loosely connected scenes the inhumanity and absurdity of the war are represented to a mixture from Dokumentardrama and surreal fantastic means.

Table of contents

Developing history

after outbreak of the First World War was not silent Karl Kraus first publicly, its magazine the torch/flare appeared also after the usual summer break. Only to 19. It held November 1914 in its 80. Lecture the “address” in this large time,also in shortly thereafter appearing the number of the torch/flare appeared. Therein it turned decided against the war.

Perhaps under its reconciliation with Sidonie Nádherny of Borutin in the summer 1915 expressed itself Kraus' war opposition also in more strengthenedProductivity. Between 5. and 22. July arranged it the volume fall of the world by black magic from articles of the torch/flare . Starting from 26. July worked he on the world war drama, which carried the title starting from October the last days of mankind.Individual scenes it published in numbers of the war torch/flare, many other texts of the torch/flare is preliminary stages to scenes in the drama, torch/flare and drama essentially at the same time developed. Substantial parts developed to summers 1917, particularly during Kraus'Stays in Switzerland.

Over a third of the final text are installed from quotations: from newspapers, military orders of the day, court decisions among other things Frizzily wrote over it in the preface: The most improbable acts, which are announced here, really happened; I painted, which heronly did. The most improbable discussions, which are led here, were literally spoken; the sharpest inventions are quotations.The first version of the drama is still substantially coined/shaped by Kraus' of conservative attitude, which it into the second half of the world warmaintained. It had been a Verehrer of the successor to the throne Franz Ferdinand, estimated the having citizens and the Austrian military high. In this phase it made above all the liberal press, particularly the new free one press, mainresponsible for the war. Only offabout 1917 it solved from this view and approached to the social-democracy on. Beside the press it made now also the having citizens, irresponsible politicians and military responsible for the war.

To appear the work could only after abolition thatCensorship. Still in December 1918 the Epilog appeared as special edition of the torch/flare, further parts (with in each case two documents) followed in April, August and (probably) September 1919. This so-called expenditure for act reached an edition of 6000 copies with reproductions.

Underits strongly changed attitude to the having citizens and to the military, and also by only information accessible after the war, Kraus changed the last days in the next months substantially. Approximately 50 scenes were added again, while only one was painted.The scene succession was completely changed. The dialogues between the optimist and the Nörgler were substantially developed, likewise the Germany-critical ranges. The Verehrer of the realm post office was inserted, in order to expose beside the liberal new one free one press now also the christian-social realm post office.

The so-called expenditure for book appeared to 26. May 1922 in an edition of 5000 pieces, second, equal high edition followed in December. The third edition 1926 of 7000 pieces remained available up to death Kraus'.

the work

The drama does not have sequential action, but consists of over 200 more or less short scenes, the one multiplicity of material and fictitious figures - from the emperors Franz Joseph and William II.up to the “simple soldier, that namelesslyis " - in the most diverse situations of the war everyday life show.

Hardly a scene leads the reader into the proximity of the fighting. Kraus in the behavior of those humans, those sees the true atrocities of the war in their superficialness Ernst and the frightsnot to admit the war - and also to admit want -, but from the actual theater at it to enrich themselves faraway and it with wrong cliches to varnish: Journalist, dealer, high of military, itself far of the battleground in the fame of their military rankbathe. Frizzily shows and exposes the cliches and word cases (“the war broke out “- obviously inevitably like a natural catastrophe), and it shows, who profits at the war. Into nuce it is in the set of the Nörglers, Kraus' age Egoin the work:Jawohl, it acts in this war!

The technology of Kraus' satire consists to a large part of the fact that it quotations of its contemporaries - whom it quotes partly literally, partly only after the intonation - into thatDialogues of the scenes it installs in such a way that their thoughtless Rücksichtslosigkeit, stupidity and lyingness etc. becomes obvious:For example in the fine clay/tone, which we ourselves fasten in relation to the enemies, nevertheless the largest Pakasch is on God ground (II, 2).

Determined particularly salientContemporary - about William II. or the “gentleman of the Hyänen” (Moriz Benedikt) - Kraus built almost original-faithfully into the drama. The Kriegsberichterstatterin Alice Schalek it set a violating mark in the drama; since then one remembers their as the Schalek (“I would like to know, what have you felt, as you the Riesenkoloss with so much humans in the body in the wet, mute grave down-bored “, III 22).

The drama ends in a apokalyptischen scene, in extinctionmankind by the cosmos. Negative hero of the cosmos is not one or more individual figures, but the whole mankind, which proved the life on earth for unworthy, by them by schlampigen handling whatyou given were certified, such cruelties have.

I did not want it “- the last set of God in the drama - can as accusation be read, am an allusion however anyhow on an appropriate expression William II.

Work on []

Performance history

Karl Kraus's had explained the piece first for unspielbar. In the preface to the expenditure for book it wrote: The performance of the drama, whose extent would cover about ten evenings after terrestrial time measure, is zugedacht a Mars theatre. Theatergänger of this world would be ablenot to withstand it.There were some performances of the Epilogs. First was to 4. Feber 1923 in Vienna, in which Kraus's participated. He compiled, without plays a stage version and Epilog, without most Nörgler scenes, and with only oneThird of the remaining scenes. From this it read out until 1930 frequently in its lectures. When however well-known directors wanted to produce such as max of Reinhardt or Erwin Piscator the last days, it rejected, from fear, it became probable from the piecea Unterhaltungsspektakel make. At the night of 15. on the 16. Jänner 1930 came it to the only German performance of the Epilogs, into Berlin at the theatre at the shipbuilder dam by Heinrich Fischer, among other things with Paul Morgan and Theo Lingen, musicof Hanns Eisler.

There were readings and performances of the Epilogs after the Second World War already 1945 in New York, Zurich and Vienna. 1947 gave it a radio play version of radio to Frankfurt, 1957 a read performance in east Berlin.

There the right managers Kraus'its Diktum of the Unaufführbarkeit literally, could the first szenische performance only at the Viennese fixed weeks under the direction from Leopold Lindtberg took 1964 after a stage version of Heinrich Fischer take place. Since that time some productions, thus 1974 in Basel gave, to 1980in Vienna, 1983 in Edinburgh, 1988 in Amsterdam and Lyon, 1990 in Turin.

To the admittingness of the piece in the German linguistic area the Schallplattenaufnahmen of Helmut Qualtinger (1962-72) contributed substantially. 1974, to 100. Birthday Kraus', has the ORF the last dayscompletely as vielteiliges radio play with 170 actors produces.

Some recent performances:

expenditures (selection)

  • the last days of mankind. Tragedy in five documents with play and Epilog. “The torch/flare”,Vienna 1919. 639 + 48 sides. With 7 fig. (= “expenditure for act”)
  • -- Publishing house “the torch/flare”, Vienna/Leipzig 1922. XXIV + 792 sides. With 2 fig. (= “expenditure for book”)
  • -- Stage version for one evening by Heinrich Fischer and Leopold Lindtberg. Gustav Kiepenheuer of stage sellingGmbH, Berlin Dahlem 1964. 180 sides.
  • -- Stage version [1930]. Hrsg. of kind of hitting a corner early. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt 1992. 250 sides.
  • -- Hrsg. by Christian car farmhand. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt 1986. (= Karl Kraus's writings volume 10)

CD photographs

  • the last days of mankindin a treatment of radio plays of Stephan Hermlin. Music: Wolfgang Rudolf. Speaker: Ursula long skirt, Wolfgang Büttner, Stephan Hermlin, Siegfried Lowitz among other things Direction: Theodor Steiner. Prod.: Radio Frankfurt (today hessian broadcast), 1947. As expenditure for CD with a foreword of Friedrich Pfäfflin2001 in the hearing publishing house appeared. (3 CDs: 206 min.) ISBN 3-89584-991-X
  • the last days of mankind. Speaker: Helmut Qualtinger. Publishing house Otto Preiser, 1987. (5 CDs) ISBN 3-902028-08-4
  • the last days of mankind. Radio play of the Austrian broadcast 1974 in45 parts. Complete szenische conversion with 160 actors. Direction:Hans Krendlesberger. Speaker and. A.: Axel Corti, Karl Paryla, Hans gets, Alfred Böhm, Otto rope victory, Jane tildes, Heinz Holecek, Maxi Böhm, briefly Heintel, Ernst Waldbrunn. 1996 publish as ORF-CD No.577 (23 CDs)

on the left of

  • festivals Reichenau
  • the last days of mankind. Treatment as a person piece and performance: Erich Schaffner [1]

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