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Austrian Lives

 | 
Günter Bischof
, 
Fritz Plasser
, 
Eva Maltschnig

Lives of the mind

Wolfang Krauss: Impresario of Austrian literature and Cold Warrior

Stefan Maurer

Note de l’auteur

This is a revised and enhanced version of an article published together with Michael Hansel in Kalter Krieg in Österreich: Literatur – Kunst – Kultur, eds. Michael Hansel and Michael Rohrwasser (Vienna: Zsolnay, 2010). Translations of German sources by the author.

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Introduction

The ambivalence which accompanies Wolfgang Kraus (1924-1998) as one of the most important public figures of literary life in Austria’s Second Republic is astonishing: “Kraus dictated the [Austrian] politics of literature with unrivalled self-aggrandizement, something which was rare even in the totalitarian satellite states of the Soviet Union,”2 states Thomas Rothschild in an article about the canon of the Österreichische Gesellschaft für Literatur (Austrian Literary Association; hereafter referred to as ÖGL). On the other hand the writer Hans Weigel (1908-1991), the unifying figure of Austrian literature after the second World War, acknowledges him as an unmistakable institution and explains, that Kraus was “the center, the outpost, the incarnation — not of our literature, but of literary life. He is contestable — certainly! — but he is of unspoken importance. He is indispensable.”3 The essayist Franz Schuh (born in 1947) depicts the part Kraus played in the literary fi...

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© innsbruck university press, 2012

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