The Black Book: Karl Kraus's Etiquette
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The conduct book stakes out the boundaries of correct behavior, making instructions for self-management available to anyone who strives for easy social integration. Given its close relation to the mores of the educated classes, it is a rather unlikely genre to employ for the misanthrope looking to repudiate society. Yet in a series of articles in 1905/06 in his journal Die Fackel, the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus alluded to this genre, sharpening its rules to the point of absurdity as a means to completely close down rather than facilitate societal exchange. In Kraus’s etiquette, bad manners come to include all manners. The study of this little-known project enables us to understand Kraus’s obsessive preoccupation with clichéd speech as a critical response to the pathologies of communal life around 1900.
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Associate Professor of German Studies
Jakob Norberg’s research explores conceptions of community in German thought and literature. His first book, Sociability and Its Enemies (2014), examines the search for non-authoritarian forms of collectivity after the end of the Second World War and focuses on thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, and Jürgen Habermas. His articles in literary studies locate the communal in literature by reconstructing how non-individual, collective voices appear in modern literary wo