Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon)

Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon)✰ [BOOKS] ✸ Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon) By Hugo von Hofmannsthal ✽ – Bluevapours.co.uk 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 evocativ 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—findesiècle 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 , – July , , was an Austrian novelist, librettist, poet, dramatist, narrator, and essayist.

Paperback  Ç Ein Brief Kindle ✓
    iOS for the iPad is the biggest iOS release ever 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."/>
  • Paperback
  • 128 pages
  • Ein Brief (Brief des Lord Chandos an Francis Bacon)
  • Hugo von Hofmannsthal
  • English
  • 06 February 2017
  • 9781590171202

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

  1. Orsodimondo says:

    INADEGUATEZZA DELLA PAROLA
    Nel mio personale olimpo della letteratura mitteleuropea, insieme a Musil, Schnitzler, Rilke, e Kafka, c’è da sempre anche Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

    description
    Auguste Rodin: Il pensatore, 1902. Musée Rodin, Parigi.

    Come più tardi ne L’uomo difficile (1921), qui (1902) si celebra la bancarotta della parola.
    Sotto la veste fittizia di una lettera (il titolo originale è 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) è diventato inesprimibile, la realtà non più afferrabile, appunto, indicibile.

    description
    Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton

    E quindi, lo scrivente Lord Chandos dichiara al suo mentore che abbandona la professione di scrittore perché nessuna parola gli pare esprimere la realtà oggettiva: le cose non stanno più al loro posto e la lingua non le dice più:
    gli oggetti hanno un’esistenza retrostante, annidata dietro la loro facciata e sotto la loro superficie, ed è proprio l’intuizione di questa seconda – o terza, o quarta – realtà che mette fuori gioco le possibilità 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 Törless (1906) di Robert Musil, I quaderni di Malte Laurids Brigge (1910) di Rainer Maria Rilke, L’uomo senza qualità (1930), ancora di Musil (il personaggio di Moosbrugger!), e Auto da fé (1935) di Elias Canetti.

    description
    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 più 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 cose
    Serve una lingua nuova, che Lord Chandos non conosce (la lingua di Freud?).

    description
    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 ciò che non ha parola.
    Italo Calvino: Lezioni americane - “Molteplicità”.

    description
    Prima Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa Moderna Torino 1902.

  2. Mike Puma 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 doppelgänger 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 more; more, 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. [P] says:

    Dear Lord Chandos

    This 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 more 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 more 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. Eddie Watkins 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 more 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. Lee Klein 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 more 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 sophomore's submission to a creative writing workshop. For example: Everything came to pieces, the pieces broke into more 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. Markus says:

    Der Brief des Lord Chandos
    Bu 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.

  7. Justin 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 siècle 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 more frightening than the forest, more 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.

  8. Jim Elkins says:

    I'll just add a little to Daniel Myers's review on Amazon.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 Amazon). [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 Amazon), 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *