Karl Kraus: Dritte Walpurgisnacht

A digital edition of Kraus' extensive analysis of the beginning of National Socialist rule in Germany, 1933

The project establishes a digital edition of the text written by Karl Kraus between May and the end of September 1933. This text, later to be called “Third Walpurgis Night”, is the most important contemporary analysis of the beginning of National Socialist rule in Germany.

The original documents are galley proofs with handwritten emendations and typescripts (to be published with kind permission from “The National Library of Israel”) and amount to around 300 pages. The text was ready to appear when its author decided not to publish it in October 1933; instead, Kraus published his famous poem “Man frage nicht” (“One may not ask”), followed by a long explanation with quotes from the original text in July 1934. 

After the death of Karl Kraus, the text was saved from the Nazis via Switzerland and New York by his lawyer and heir Oskar Samek, who later bequeathed the documents to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It was published, for the first time, by Heinrich Fischer in 1952 and in another edition by Christian Wagenknecht in 1989. 

The new digital edition of the text was initiated and prepared by researchers and collaborators under the guidance of Werner Welzig at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and is now being continued and developed further. As a first step, an open access publication of the revised full text will be presented. The edition will provide a register of persons mentioned or alluded to in the text, as well as indexes of intertexts, in particular including references to classical literature and numerous quotations from journalistic sources. 

At a later stage, the edition will provide further specific commentaries and a representation of the text genesis. The first stage is scheduled to come out by the end of 2020.