Something does, on occasion, fall from a torch. A bit of pitch.
Karl Kraus (F 279-280: 5)


post № 45

10 October 2017


A paper hat & Else Lasker-Schüler

There is a fun anecdote handed down to us by Helene Kann, a close friend of Kraus’s from 1904 until his death in 1936, which involves Else Lasker-Schüler, a porter, and a paper hat (you can read the German in Aus großer Nähe (120–121)).


Karl Kraus regarded Else Lasker-Schüler as a great poet, but dealing with her personally was fraught with difficulties. Once, she got it into her head that she was going to visit Kraus at 2:00 pm, the hour of his deepest sleep. Since the doorbell was disconnected, Else Lasker-Schüler demanded that the porter notify Kraus of her arrival. “Herr von Kraus is sleeping and does not wish to be disturbed by anyone,” came his reply. “I am the Prince of Thebes, and I must see him,” she barked. “Even if you were the Prince of Mödling or whoever,” the Porter said, “it’s all the same. You cannot see Herr von Kraus.” That evening, he told Kraus what happened and was praised highly for his steadfastness. Her visit foiled, Else Lasker-Schüler made her way directly to me. I asked her what she wanted with Kraus that just couldn’t wait. She pulled out a colorful paper hat and a seashell: “O, I wanted to bring him this hat, to wear while he’s working. He’s such a child.” In all her folly, she had an incredibly sharp eye. [my translation]


Peter Winslow


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