Karl Kraus as a Reader of Nietzsche: A Study in Influence
In being informed by the general question of literary influence, the history of notions of literary influence, and the cultural institutions - mainly, the university and journalism responsible for maintaining such connections, this project belongs to a general » History of the Geisteswissenschaften!Kulturwissenschaften«. Specifically, Stanley Corngold will study (and criticize) the idee reçu that Kraus was often and positively inspired by Nietzsche's heroic life and writing- above all, his »ideologie-und religionskritische Ideen« (S. Vietta). The idea of bringing the corpus of Nietzsche's writing into more precise connection with Kraus's has become ever more feasible in light of the vast amount of critical work that has since been done on each- work facilitated by the complete, or near-complete, scholarly editions of both Nietzsche (Colli and Montinari) and Kraus (Heinrich Fischer)- and by critical work, stimulated by Derrida and de Man, on the general analysis of the rhetoric of philosophical discourse. The matter of Kraus's intellectual relation to Nietzsche is an intricate one, involving such moments as citation, identification, and repudiation. ln the matter of citation, Stanley Corngold will show that Kraus's seemingly affirmative quotations from »Also sprach Zarathustra« are highly selective and omit key words of Nietzsche. True, there is an indisputable moment of identification, however unacknowledged, between them in their shared modernist ethos: the sense that in the absence of governing norms, an ethics may be grounded on an artistic sense, on the rigor that can be found only in works of art. But Kraus's repudiation of Nietzsche is scathing, quite particularly at the close of the Great War, anticipating Thomas Mann's comparable repudiation of Nietzsche as an evil teacher following the Second World War. The matter of Nietzsche's influence on Kraus has a history.
Stanley Corngold is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Princeton University.
U.a. The Metamorphosis: Translation, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism (New York 1996); Complex Pleasure: Forms of Feeling in German Literature (Stanford 1998); Lambent Traces (forthcoming)