Kraus, Karl (Publisher und Author)
(4/28/1874 Gitschin/Bohemia - 6/12/1936,Vienna)

Feared journalist, a determined writer and public conscience at the beginning of the twentieth century. His Jewish family moved to Vienna, after breaking off studies he was active as a journalist, satirist, and orator. In 1899, he founded the magazine “The Torch”, which became an always conscience and engaging institution, appearing from 1911 with only his own contributions until the year of his death. Besides brilliant aphorisms, lyric poetry and essays, Kraus also wrote dramas, including his epic masterwork “The Last Days of Mankind,” which tells a relentless story of the crimes of WWI.

In 1911 Trakl, who was an eager reader of Kraus long before, first came into the reach of him through mutual friend Karl Hauer, who was a frequent contributor to Kraus' magazine “The Torch.” In 1912, when Trakl began to publish poems consistently in the magazine Der Brenner, the connection between the publishers Ficker and Kraus intensified, as Ficker organized several lecture evenings in Innsbruck with Kraus. “Psalm”, the second Trakl poem in Der Brenner (appearing October 1912) is dedicated to him. Kraus' response appeared in the “Torch” .
In 1913 in Vienna an amicable friendship developed, which also included the avant-garde architect Adolf Loos, a lifelong close friend of Kraus, as well as Oskar Kokoschka. With Kraus and Ficker, Trakl undertook a journey in August of this year to Venice. Furthermore, Kraus engaged “The Torch" for the subscription of Trakl's poem volumes.

The quatrain “Karl Kraus”, from the volume Sebastian in Dream, is unique in Trakl's complete works: no other text is related in title or content to a living personality. Occasion for the poem's origin resulted in an inquiry to Der Brenner about Kraus, where it first appeared on 6/15/1913.