It is an exciting time to be interested in Karl Kraus. Karl Kraus online was launched on 27 October 2015 with the first of three “chapters.” These “chapters,” clusters of documents and materials, are organized under the rubric “Der Vorleser,” “Die Rechtsperson,” and “Der Herausgeber.” Given that only “Der Vorleser” has been completed to date, this project is to be understood as a work in progress; yet, this understanding ought not mislead us into misunderstanding its importance. Karl Kraus online is the result of an on-going and ambitious collaborative venture between the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Biographie with a two-fold objective. On the one hand, it seeks to re-organize the Karl Kraus Archive and, on the other, it seeks to offer a material-based online (anti-)biography of Karl Kraus (see here for a full description in German). The idea is as simple as it is brilliant.
The idea is to make Karl Kraus accessible and surveyable (vermessbar) online. For the first time, we can investigate, from the comfort of our own studies, Kraus material hitherto accessible only in the Karl Kraus Archive in Vienna. For the first time, we can determine on the basis of publically available documentary evidence who helped organize Kraus’s public readings, which writings Kraus read on which dates, where he read them, who commented on Kraus’s readings in letters, and who reviewed them in newspapers. But there is more. … While original recordings and video of Kraus reading from his own writings have been available both online and off for some time now, these recordings and video are available for the very first time all in one place—namely, in a documentary context where connections between Kraus, the writings read, the venue, and more can be identified, explored, and understood in all their complexity.
All in all, Karl Kraus online is a very welcome addition to the world of Kraus enthusiasts and scholars alike. But stay tuned. The cluster “Die Rechtsperson” is scheduled for completion in 2017 and “Der Herausgeber” in 2019. In the meantime, however, we—as users of Karl Kraus online—shall have time enough to get to know Karl Kraus the reader.