The Third Walpurgis Night: The Complete Text

October 30, 2020
The Third Walpurgis Night: The Complete Text

The first complete English translation of a far-seeing polemic,written in 1933 by the preeminent German-language satirist,unmasking the Nazi seizure of powerAustrian satirist and polemicist Karl Kraus’s Third WalpurgisNight was written in immediate response to the Nazi seizure ofpower in 1933 but was withheld from publication for fear ofreprisals against Jews trapped in Germany. Acclaimed when finallypublished by Kösel Verlag in 1952, it is a devastatingly prescientexposure, giving special attention to the regime’s corruption oflanguage as masterminded by Joseph Goebbels. Bertolt Brecht wroteto Kraus that, in his indictment of Nazism, “you have disclosed theatrocities of intonation and created an ethics of language.” Thismasterful translation, by the prizewinning translators of Kraus’sThe Last Days of Mankind, aims for clarity where Kraus had goodreason to be cautious and obscure.The Austrian Jewish author Karl Kraus (1874–1936) was theforemost German-language satirist of the twentieth century. Aseditor of the journal Die Fackel (The Torch) he single-handedlyafter 1912 conducted a sustained critique of propaganda and thepress, expressed through polemical essays, satirical plays, wittyaphorisms, and resonant poems.