Hugo von Hofmannsthal Poems

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Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Hugo von Hofmannsthal (February 1, 1874 – July 15, 1929), was an Austrian novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist. Hofmannsthal was born in Vienna, the son of an upper-class Austrian mother and an Austrian-Italian bank manager. His great-grandfather, Isaak Löw Hofmann, Edler von Hofmannsthal, from whom his family inherited the noble title "Edler von Hofmannsthal," was a Jewish merchant ennobled by the Austrian emperor. He began to write poems and plays from an early age. He met the German poet Stefan George at the age of seventeen and had several poems published in George's journal, Blätter für die Kunst. He studied law and later philology in Vienna but decided to devote himself to writing upon graduating in 1901. Along with Peter Altenberg and Arthur Schnitzler, he was a member of the avant garde group Young Vienna (Junges Wien). Hofmannsthal met the composer Richard Strauss, and wrote libretti for several of his operas, including Elektra (1909), Der Rosenkavalier (1911), Ariadne auf Naxos (1913, rev. 1916), Die Frau ohne Schatten (1919), Die Ägyptische Helena (1927), and Arabella (1933). In 1902 Hoffmannsthal published a fictive letter titled simply "Ein Brief" (A Letter). It was purportedly written in 1603 by Phillip, Lord Chandos to Francis Bacon. In this letter Chandos says that he has stopped writing because he has "lost completely the ability to think or to speak of anything coherently"; he has given up on the possibility of language to describe the world. This letter reflects the growing distrust of and dissatisfaction with language that so characterizes the Modern era, and Chandos's dissolving personality is not only individual but societal. In 1912 he adapted the 15th century English morality play Everyman as Jedermann, and Jean Sibelius (amongst others) wrote incidental music for it. The play became a staple at the Salzburg Festival, which Hofmannsthal founded with Max Reinhardt in 1920. His later plays revealed a growing interest in religious, particularly Roman Catholic, themes. He died of a stroke two days after the suicide of his son Franz in Rodaun, Vienna.

ariadne auf naxos
There is a land where all is pure,
And this land is called
The land of death.
Here no... [read poem]
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