Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon)

Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon) Hugo Von Hoffmannsthal Made His Mark As A Poet, As A Playwright, And As The Librettist For Richard Strauss S Greatest Operas, But He Was No Less Accomplished As A Writer Of Short, Strangely Evocative Prose Works The Atmospheric Stories And Sketches Collected Here Fin De Si Cle Fairy Tales From The Vienna Of Klimt And Freud, A Number Of Them Never Before Translated Into English Propel The Reader Into A Shadowy World Of Uncanny Fates And Secret Desires An Aristocrat From Paris In The Plague Years Shares A Single Night Of Passion With An Unknown Woman A Cavalry Sergeant Meets His Double On The Battlefield An Orphaned Man Withdraws From The World With His Four Servants, Each Of Whom Has A Mysterious Power Over His DestinyThe Most Influential Of All Of Hofmannsthal S Writings Is The Title Story, A Fictional Letter To The English Philosopher Francis Bacon In Which Lord Chandos Explains Why He Is No Longer Able To Write The Letter Not Only Symbolized Hofmannsthal S Own Turn Away From Poetry, It Captured The Psychological Crisis Of Faith And Language Which Was To Define The Twentieth Century

Hugo von Hofmannsthal February 1, 1874 July 15, 1929 , was an Austrian novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist.

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  • Paperback
  • 128 pages
  • Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon)
  • Hugo von Hofmannsthal
  • English
  • 15 October 2019
  • 9781590171202

15 thoughts on “Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon)

  1. says:

    INADEGUATEZZA DELLA PAROLANel mio personale olimpo della letteratura mitteleuropea, insieme a Musil, Schnitzler, Rilke, e Kafka, c da sempre anche Hugo von Hofmannsthal.Auguste Rodin Il pensatore, 1902 Mus e Rodin, Parigi.Come pi tardi ne L uomo difficile 1921 , qui 1902 si celebra la bancarotta della parola.Sotto la veste fittizia di una lettera il titolo originale il molto semplice Ein Brief scritta dall immaginario Lord Philipp Chandos all amico e maestro Francis Bacon come ben noto personaggio invece realmente esistito nel 1603, non a caso in epoca barocca, il che significa scoperte scientifiche e geografiche, arte spumeggiante, qui si denuncia la condizione di crisi, angoscia, solitudine, impotenza, e infine, afasia, dell uomo moderno, che si sente tradito dalla parola, impotente a penetrare l essenza delle cose, ormai incapace di esprimere quel che probabilmente diventato inesprimibile, la realt non pi afferrabile, appunto, indicibile.Joseph Frank Buster KeatonE quindi, lo scrivente Lord Chandos dichiara al suo mentore che abbandona la professione di scrittore perch nessuna parola gli pare esprimere la realt oggettiva le cose non stanno pi al loro posto e la lingua non le dice pi gli oggetti hanno un esistenza retrostante, annidata dietro la loro facciata e sotto la loro superficie, ed proprio l intuizione di questa seconda o terza, o quarta realt che mette fuori gioco le possibilit del linguaggio.Di conseguenza, d ora in avanti, per Lord Chandos, e presumibilmente per von Hofmannsthal, ombra e silenzio.Il che riporta a un ottima compagnia, come sottolinea Claudio Magris nella prefazione I turbamenti del giovane T rless 1906 di Robert Musil, I quaderni di Malte Laurids Brigge 1910 di Rainer Maria Rilke, L uomo senza qualit 1930 , ancora di Musil il personaggio di Moosbrugger , e Auto da f 1935 di Elias Canetti Pablo Picasso La bevitrice di assenzio, anche chiamata La bevitrice appisolata 1902 Ogni cosa mi si frazionava, e ogni parte ancora in altre parti, e nulla pi si lasciava imbrigliare in un concetto Una per una, le parole fluttuavano intorno a me diventavano occhi, che mi fissavano e nei quali io a mia volta dovevo appuntare lo sguardo Sono vortici, che a guardarli io sprofondo con un senso di capogiro, che turbinano senza sosta, e oltre i quali si approda nel vuoto.Il vuoto che accoglie l uomo sensibile all alba del Novecento, quanto tutto intorno appare sgretolarsi, a cominciare dalla sintassi, l architettura della frase , basata sul predominio del soggetto sull oggetto, le coseServe una lingua nuova, che Lord Chandos non conosce la lingua di Freud.Edvard Munch L urlo, 1893, la prima delle quattro versioni Galleria Nazionale, Oslo Magari fosse possibile un opera concepita al di fuori del self, un opera che ci permettesse d uscire dalla prospettiva limitata d un io individuale, non solo per entrare in altri io simili al nostro, ma per far parlare ci che non ha parola Italo Calvino Lezioni americane Molteplicit .Prima Esposizione Internazionale d Arte Decorativa Moderna Torino 1902.

  2. says:

    At a minimum, readers intending to read Enrique Vila Matas Bartleby Co would be well advised not only to read or reread Bartleby, the Scrivener, but also the last story in this collection It mattersCavalry Soldier A sergeant imagines his future as he advances with his squadron through skirmishes in the Italian countryside before encountering his doppelg nger and being confronted by his commanding officer for possession of a horse taken in battle The indifference of war. Dream Death Prose poem.Places with endless significance, quite unlike reality districts I ve never seen, but which I know are thus and such.Dreams are always our own and true, if only in the time it takes to dream them.Tale of the 672nd Night A comfortable merchant s son finds horror in trying to learn the nature of personal threats made against him and one of his servants Peculiarly compelling.The Golden Apple A rug merchant makes his way to a city where he had been abused years earlier and where he d acquired a scented, golden apple as a gift for his exotic bride meanwhile, his seven year old daughter finds the apple in a chest and her curiousity leads her to trade it for a glimpse into the sealed well All the weight and mystery of an ancient folktale a tale from Scheherazade.The Rose and the Desk A nice little one pager in which the created challenges The Real.Tale of the Veiled Woman As a young mother considers the fate of the child she s carrying and waits for her husband to return from the mines, she watches a young miner walking in the distance in the mine, her husband Hyacinth really, Really meets the same young miner who encourages him to think and act on what is to be This is not your father s fairy tale Then again, who knows who lays claim to his her dreams The Village in the Mountains Look Up in the sky It s a story No, it s a prose poem Whatever it is, to describe is to demean it.Reflection Prose poem Lovely I want , I tell you.Twilight and Storm After Dark A boy watches a live sparrow hawk which has been nailed to a barn door before lurking in the dark to see butcher s daughter undressing and then following a rejected, pregnant woman and feeling in control of her pain.An Incident in the Life of Marshall de Bassompierre A night of passion in 1663 Paris the Plague Years , goes unrepeated as contemporary as a similar night in 1980s San Francisco Haunting.Military Story Schwendar, one of the squadron s dragoons, though haunted by two images of death from his youth, is able to find a contentedness among the squadron following a flash and another flash.Tide Creature Mussel Poem Prose poem A mollusk briefly considers us Nice.Tale of Two Couples A strangely structured story which begins then becomes something else as if a fragment, undeveloped, precedes the actual story of two couples the narrator and his boyish looking wife attend their friends, another couple, as the wife in the second couple concedes to a terrible death The precarious presence of love.A Letter the actual title of the better known titular piece An eloquent letter from Phillip, Lord Chandos, to Francis Bacon in which he reveals that language has failed experience and he will no longer write create Is it a story Is it a poem Is it beautiful Yes As luck would have it, language fails again Project Gutenberg provides only German editions of Hofmannsthal s writing My German, unfortunately, is limited to the manipulation of a menu and finding a bathroom 4 stars, at minimum, closer to 5.

  3. says:

    Dear Lord ChandosThis is not a review, of course nor is it a letter, for what is the point of writing a letter to someone who cannot reply, who would not reply even if he were a real man, and not a fictional character No, it is a confession masquerading as a game How tedious these games are, the games I have so often played in order to distract myself from myself Last night I was in the pub with two friends I had invited them there in order to seek their advice, and I had confessed to them too, which is to say that I talked about myself with the same lack of enthusiasm I bring to almost all human spoken interaction And, rather absurdly, I tried to explain this, this state of mind, this near constant feeling of being behind glass, such that having a chat in a pub with two friends strikes me as a chore and my confession like a duty.In your letter to Francis Bacon you state that you want to open yourself up entirely, or words to that effect, which seems like rather futile effort, in light of your issues and problems Perhaps you feel as though you owe Bacon something, in return for his concern regarding your mental paralysis You write about your previous achievements, and how you now feel distant from them, and from any future work The phrase you use is an unbridgeable gulf You cannot write you will not write How I envy you this voluntary or involuntary renunciation I do not believe in words, I do not understand them either they are, to me, like an oppressive frame, a border, a barrier they are a large sheet of glass upon which I unenthusiastically claw for appearance s sake.You once lived in continuous inebriation Drunk on intellectual stimulation, you might say Yet there was, for you, no difference, at that time, between the spiritual, or intellectual, and physical worlds The pleasures were equal Therefore, your admission is that there has been a kind of breaking down, that something within you has given way Which is a sign of mental illness, of course Indeed, you write about how it came to be that words disintegrated in your mouth like rotten mushrooms Which is a lovely image, even to me, a man who does not believe in words In this way, your letter could be interpreted as something like a cry of anguish, a requiem for something precious that you have lost It need not, as such, be directly, or solely, applied to language, but to any important object or thing that inexplicably loses its lustre or meaning One of the most unfathomable, truly distressing aspects of human experience is the death, or extinguishing, of a passion.Isn t it this passion that highlights the inadequacy of language You do a very good job throughout your letter of giving voice, of applying words, to your feelings, and yet to what extent do they capture your inner life Isn t that the issue Poor exhausted words let them sleep, for they are over taxed Words, like time, is a cage we have voluntarily built around ourselves I hate I love I want I need What nonsense If a lion could talk, we should not be able to understand him , Wittgenstein argued I would argue we don t, and can t, understand each other we stand, each at opposing ends of an unbridgeable gulf, shouting absurdities into the wind We are a Spaniard and an Italian, who believe that they are conversing, that they are coming together, because certain of their sounds are vaguely familiar Games again always games.Yes, the passion is important, to you and to me Or let us say the feeling, the moment of transcendence, as experienced when in the presence of a watering can, a harrow left in a field, a dog in the sun, a shabby churchyard, these ordinary things that take on a sublime and moving aura How hippyish, your vast empathy, your harmony And yet I too feel although it is impossible to say that what we feel is the same thing, of course the tremors of the supernatural I was once, one early evening, sitting on a bench, in Rotherham bus station, and within me there was a sense, an overwhelming, indescribable, sense of well being The irony, of course, is that this hippyish empathy, this melting butter oneness, does not lead necessarily to peace, but, just as likely, to frustration or bitterness or despair These experiences are, alas, fleeting, and, once gone, one is left in the unenviable position of being completely unable to express, to others, and even to yourself, what exactly you have experienced.So, what is the point of writing, the purpose of which is communication, when it will inevitably end in failure Why did you write Why am I writing now I wanted to end with an expression of gratitude, for I was, prior to this, myself close to the point of abandoning for good this so often unpleasant activity And yet you have reminded me that there is something in the grasping, if not for me then hopefully for someone else, someone who may read this and find some level of pleasure in it, as I did in your work.March 2016 P

  4. says:

    Somewhere in one of Julio Cortazar s books he raves about Hofmannsthal s The Lord Chandos Letter, so years ago I tracked it down in a library, read it, and loved it but I couldn t find anything else by him Good thing NYRB has now put this collection out, which includes The Letter, stories, and a few prose poems.Hoffmannsthal was a late 19th c Viennese literary prodigy whose Lord Chandos letter was his farewell to purely lyrical literature before he was 30 , as he was overcome with the emptiness of words He then consciously became populist with his work, writing the libretti for some of Richard Strauss s operas The stories are like symbolist fairy tales filtered through a series of dream mirrors often ending with vaguely ecstatic life is a dream deaths , but they re not things to breeze through, being densely subtle, highly wrought, and extremely evocative Some of the pieces in this collection weren t published in Hofmannsthal s lifetime, some of which are here translated for the first time Others were never completed, but even as fragments these are very satisfying, as he is so skilled at creating mysterious and enigmatic atmosphere and imagery that their incompleteness actually enhances their mystery.The prose poems are mini masterpieces of highly refined sensation intermingling with highly refined intellectualism, which pairing seems to be at the heart of much of his writing.The famous Letter is a fictionalized expression of Hofmannsthal s growing disatisfaction with using words to express the most profound truths In the letter are numerous examples of words being profondly inadequate to the task of expressing very strange but fairly mundane experiences For instance, he describes being overwhelmed by seeing a half empty pail next to a tree Something about this sight fills him with mystery and dread, and while he can describe very well this mystery and dread he can t use words to really get at what caused his reaction, which in turn kind of paralyzes his intelligence Great stuff

  5. says:

    Hugo Von Hofmannsthal has a fantastic name and every once in a while writes a clear sentence conveying a clear image but for the most part due most likely to a crappy translation mixed with antiquated story sensibilities admixed with weak sensory celebrations that seem pathological than ecstatic, to borrow a phrase from the world of breastfeeding, I didn t latch with this one and thereby wasn t properly nourished I can t say I completed every story since midway through most of them, despite feeling rested and readerishly energetic, I soon felt my head starting to swim and my eyes glaze and attention wander toward thoughts about what s in the fridge At best, it s sort of like Proust s pink hawthorns, but not as rare, distributed in total democratic fashion to pretty much everything, so everything is weighted with potential significance but comes off sounding sort of like a stoned sopho s submission to a creative writing workshop For example Everything came to pieces, the pieces broke into pieces, and nothing could be encompassed by one idea Isolated words swam about me they turned into eyes that stared at me and into which I had to stare back, dizzying whirlpools which spun around and around and led into the void Ultimately, holmes with the fantastic name, a friend of Strauss, is someone who I bet wholeheartedly stood behind a line like this when alone I take the twinkling of the stars personally It s not so much solipsism as simple beatifics expressed in phrases everything came to pieces that didn t do it for me Disappointing, Herr HvH, because I thought I d love you thanks to this becomingly slim NYRB edition Will give you another chance this summer.

  6. says:

    Here we have a rather slim but suggestive selection of prose pieces most of which are radically incomplete by the fabled child saint of literary fin de si cle Vienna himself, Hugo von Hofmannsthal An author whom Hermann Broch maintained in an erudite, book length socio biographical study was the premier modernist writer greater even than that blind dipsomaniac and noted fart fetishist, Joyce McSomething or Other, and whose precocious mastery of language Stefan Zweig ranked as a world historical literary event comparable only to the earlier appearances of Keats and Rimbaud Having read only this uneven volume of often underwhelming prose, I confess that I remain deeply confused about Broch s judgement As with so many other issues of historical significance, perhaps one simply had to be there While a great deal of potentially interesting thoughts about recurring themes and writerly techniques occurred to me while mulling over these pieces, my primary takeaway was that HvH was first and finally a poet, that he writes prose as a poet writes prose with all of the salient virtues startling imagery unpredictable comedic leaps the phrases which click like a well made box and vices an almost aggressive disinterest in narrative muddled descriptions of action sequences and passages of weirdly amateurish prose resulting from an unwillingness to kill one s darlings implied by such a statement Poetry, alas, is all darlings It is understandable then that, in the future, I am principally interested in reading this long dead Austrian kid s poetry We are even given a little taste of it here, in this standalone prose chunk from 1899 Since I am so unsure of myself and comparison with the past will make the present obvious in no time, since when I am alone I take the twinkling of the stars personally and have myself in the dark where the mussels live, and am afraid among many other things of becoming entangled because I get hankerings for one thing after another, since a word darkens me like smoke from magic herbs but my thoughts are frightening than the forest, open than a ship, I think about you and your kisses like someone who became a breeze or a tree at the very moment when he lay in a girl s arms When I kiss you my very wavering, all eyes, contracts into a gem.

  7. says:

    Der Brief des Lord ChandosBu Hugo von Hofmannsthal An Ode to literature is this selection of the author s numerous sharp sighted essays on poetry and prose and his favourite classic writers The Letter of Lord Chandos is, in short, the apology of a once promising young author of having lost all capability of producing any new artwork Poetry or prose Of being incapable of thinking or coherently speaking of anything.The conclusion of this short letter is the doubt that inevitably overcomes authors throughout their lives before they can, if ever eventually succeed further creations.These doubts can be found in many a classical reading when the author, again and again, prays the muses to be of good disposition and help Gabriele D Annunzio and Leopardi as indeed many other Italian authors have yet to be discovered and added to your friend s library The author s review is most enthusiastically encouraging.Balzac and Goethe, their works and their views about theatre, poetry, prose and beautiful language make up a large part in the several essays and enlightening conferences that follow.This book is recommendable to potential authors and analysts wishing to work out the role of literature in today s world.

  8. says:

    I ll just add a little to Daniel Myers s review on .com These stories have long been classics of modernist literature, and they should be read by everyone interested in the history of Symbolism, the heritage of Poe, the history of fantasy fiction, and the development of what Robert Musil called daylight mysticism that s in his Posthumous Papers of a Living Author, also on return return What I d like to add to Myers is that The Lord Chandos Letter is a very important text in the history of modernist mistrust of words It plays a central role in Enrique Vila Matas s Bartleby Co also on , a novel about people who have given up writing George Steiner has written about The Lord Chandos Letter in Real Presences return return The Lord Chandos Letter describes the author s mistrust of all words he is given to personal, incommunicable, sublime experiences, which can be set off by all kinds of small events a water beetle rowing across the dark surface of water in a rain barrel rats dying on the floor of a dairy barn, writhing in the lethal atmosphere of the sharp, sweetish smelling poison a moss covered stone, and all the shabby and crude objects of a rogh life In other words, he is no longer moved by the grand, beautiful, pompous, public displays of ordinary life, but only the forgtten, mislaid, overlooked, trivial, meaningless things that other people fail to notice The story is fundamentally about what might still have religious meaning although he calls the effect sublime, not religious And whatever is genuinely religious must also surpass language.

  9. says:

    It s believed by some that a primary influence on the Lord Chandos Letter was the work of Ernst Mach Mach is best known today for his association with the famous Mach number for measuring supersonic velocity, but in his own time he also made major contributions to the fields of experimental physics, optics, cosmology and the philosophy of science Mach s theoretical research was particularly important to the young Albert Einstein in its overt rejection of the absolutes underpinning Newtonian mechanics.In connection with the von Hofmannsthal text, Ernst Mach held that the physical sciences could only describe the sensory appearances of external reality, but that reality itself far outstripped our attempts at reducing it to quantitatively described exterior properties , these being nothing than a group of sensations on which our thoughts are fastened and isolated by us on the basis of their being of relatively greater stability than the others, from the stream of all our sensations.He also suggested the existence of an inner side to nature, including nonhuman sensations and even sensation in matter , which for him pointed to an explanation of why the world is composed of elements that seem inextricably linked to consciousness and sensation All of which may have either sparked von Hofmannsthal s creative imagination, or resonated with his own direct experience to inspire the Lord Chandos Letter, it s difficult to say which

  10. says:

    I can only rate three stars because nothing other than Lord Chandos Letter itself, actually only 10% of the book, spoke to me It is a letter to a friend explaining why words no longer can express anything he sees or feels, so he decides to abandon words altogether There is a certain irony to the story itself in that he expresses beautifully in the letter itself what he means and why he will abandon language completely and withdraw from society.Two of the other stories, particularly the profound An Incident in the Life of Marshall de Bassompierre and Cavalry Story really spoke to me The form of most of the stories is a sort of stream of consciousness surrealism interesting but somewhat dull unless you re into that sort of thing.It s a slim nyrb volume but I would recommend taking it in small bites to let it sink in I tended to read each story in one sit down each.Whenever I go back and re read my reviews they look like they were written by someone who doesn t really understand the English language Brain to hand seems to be short circuited.

  11. says:

    I nostri sentimenti, anche quelli appena percepiti, e tutti gli stati d animo pi intimi, pi segreti e profondi, non sono forse intrecciati, nel modo pi singolare, con una stagione, con una certa atmosfera, con un alito Un certo movimento con cui scendi all alto di una vettura una notte estiva, afosa e priva di stelle l odore delle pietre umide nell androne di una casa la sensazione dell acqua gelida che zampilla da una fontana sulle tue mani quanto possiedi di pi intimo legato a qualche migliaio di simili cose terrene, ogni tuo slancio, ogni tuo desiderio, ogni tua ebbrezza Ancor pi che legato vi avviluppato fin alle radici dell essere, a tal punto che, se con un coltello tu provassi a reciderlo da quel fondo, crollerebbe su se stesso fino a svanirti fra le mani Per trovare noi stessi non dobbiamo sprofondare nell interiorit all esterno che troviamo noi stessi, l fuori Come un arcobaleno privo di sostanza la nostra anima sospesa sopra l inarrestabile cascata dell esistenza Non siamo padroni del s ci viene incontro da fuori con un soffio, a lungo ci sfugge e torna a noi con un alito di vento E poi, il s L espressione proprio una metafora Certe vibrazioni, che un tempo avevano dimorato presso di noi, fanno ritorno E sono poi davvero le stesse Forse soltanto la loro progenie, risospinta fino a noi da un oscuro senso di appartenenza Ma tanto basta qualcosa fa ritorno E dentro di noi si incontra con l altro Non siamo che un crocevia.

  12. says:

    A carta de Lord Chandos, onde se diz que o infinito conjunto c smico do qual fazemos parte n o pode ser descrito com palavras e portanto a escrita um pequeno equ voco sem import ncia, t o pequeno que nos torna quase mudos Enrique Vila Matas, Bartleby Companhia

  13. says:

    I learnt about this book while I was reading a Thai fiction on fictionlog in which the protagonist is diagnosed to have Lord Chandos syndrome which means he s losing his ability to describe things with words This book is a collection of short stories, some of them are just one page long, written by a talented Viennese poet, Hugo von Hoffmannsthal Lord Chandos letter is the last chapter of the book and in my opinion, is the most interesting and mesmerising If this book consists of just this one story, then I would have given it five stars The story is the letter written by Lord Chandos about his linguistic crisis He has not been able to write or to talk as he used to because he finds words are not enough any.It is that the language in which I might have been granted the opportunity not only to write but also to think is not Latin or English, or Italian, or Spanish, but a language of which I know not one word, a language in which mute things speak to me and in which I will perhaps have something to say for myself someday when I am dead and standing before an unknown judge.For the other stories, I found them strange in an interesting way and compelling, but pretty unsatisfying For some of them, I really don t know whether they are intelligent or just simply pointless However Hoffmannsthal s writing is utterly beautiful, that is for sure I really liked Tale of the 672nd Night, Tale of the Veiled Woman and Reflection.

  14. says:

    Is there such a thing as reader s block When literature itself becomes tedious, and your brain won t stop throbbing with useless and pointless and knowledge, then there s the Lord Chandos letter Read it again and cleanse yourself.

  15. says:


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