The torch

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The torch
Torch Kraus 1899 (1) Cover.jpg
description Cover of the first edition of “Fackel”, April 1899
Area of ​​Expertise satirical magazine
publishing company Publishing house Die Fackel, Vienna
First edition April 1,  1899
attitude February 1936
editor Karl Kraus
Article archive All expenses
ZDB 212722-2

Die Fackel was a satirical magazine published by Karl Kraus from 1899 to 1936 .

In addition to the drama The Last Days of Mankind , Die Fackel is the main work of Kraus, who wrote and published it for the most part by himself.

Content and characteristics

In the preface to the torch , Kraus renounces all consideration for party political or other ties. Under the motto "What we kill", which he countered the lurid "What we bring" of the newspapers, he told the world - especially that of writers and journalists - the fight against the phrase and developed into probably the most important champion against it Neglect of the German language.

The torch came out as a booklet with a red cover, roughly in A5 format . In the first few years the title page showed a drawing of a torch in front of the silhouette of Vienna with the symbol of the theater and the performing arts - the ancient theater masks that symbolize comedy and tragedy. Since his former publisher had secured the rights to it, Die Fackel later appeared with a sober title that consisted only of text.

From the beginning the contributions came mainly from Kraus, but in the first few years there were also contributions from other authors in the Fackel , among others by:

Memorial plaque in Vienna-Landstrasse

From 1912 until shortly before his death (the last torch was published in February 1936) (with rare exceptions) all of the original contributions to the torch were written by Kraus himself. Conversely, the overwhelming part of his work is to be found in the torch ; he published little outside the torch .

The entire torch comprises over 20,000 pages and 922 “numbers”, whereby Karl Kraus made it a habit to have double, triple and quadruple numbers appear. From the first four-fold issue in the summer before the First World War, the scope varies up to the 316 pages of the sixteen- fold edition No. 890 to 905 with the title Why the torch does not appear . As a result of this close bond with practically the only author, the torch appeared irregularly (or, as Kraus himself put it: in an informal sequence ), with occasional interruptions that can be traced back to trips, visits, summer vacations, etc.

Elias Canetti , an avid visitor to Kraus' lectures, refers to the magazine and its author in his autobiography entitled The Torch in the Ear .


From 1901 Die Fackel was published by the Viennese printing company Jahoda & Siegel . Kraus reprinted particularly important articles from the torch in book form. There are also some compilations that contain individual articles. The Kösel-Verlag and the Zweausendeins- Verlag (scaled down here) have published reprints of the complete torch. A complete edition of the torch on CD-ROM published by KG Saur Verlag was sharply criticized by the Viennese Germanist Andreas Weigel . From 2016 onwards, Hansebooks Verlag offered selected volumes subject to licensing as printed works on demand and / or as e-books.

  • Karl Kraus: The torch . 12 volumes. Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt am Main, DNB  550332332 ([1977] ff.).
  • Karl Kraus: The torch. Full text edition and complete reproduction of the original pages of all 922 editions (1899–1936) . Foreword by Christian Wagenknecht . 2nd, revised edition. Zweiausendeins, Frankfurt am Main 2007, ISBN 978-3-86150-695-9 (22,500 pages, DVD-ROM).


  • Gilbert J Carr: Karl Kraus and The Torch. Essays on the history of reception . Studies, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-89129-050-0 .
  • Heinz Lunzer, Viktoria Lunzer-Talós, Marcus G. Patka (eds.): “What we kill”: “The torch” by Karl Kraus [An exhibition by the Jewish Museum of the City of Vienna, June 23 - November 1, 1999]. Mandelbaum, Vienna 1999, ISBN 3-85476-024-8 .
  • Wolfgang Hink: The torch. Bibliography and index from 1899 to 1936 . 2 volumes. Saur, Munich a. a. 1994, ISBN 3-598-11175-4 .
  • Alexander Lang: "The origin is the goal". Karl Kraus and his "Zion of the Word" . The Jewish eschatological concept in the “torch” (=  European university publications. Series 1: German language and literature . Volume 1657 ). Lang, Frankfurt am Main [a. a.] 1998, ISBN 3-631-32686-6 (Zugl .: Heidelberg, Univ., Diss., 1997).
  • Friedrich Pfäfflin (ed.): The "torch" run. Bibliographic directories. Magazines that ignited from the “torch”, role models, parasites and sheets from the spirit of the “torch”. A phenomenon of the century . German Schiller Society, Marbach 1999, ISBN 3-933679-24-9 .
  • Werner Welzig : Dictionary of idioms for the magazine "Die Fackel" published by Karl Kraus 1899-1936 . Publishing house of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna 1999, ISBN 3-7001-2768-5 .

Web links

Wikisource: The Torch  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Collection Verlag Jahoda & Siegel at the University of Innsbruck
  2. Andreas Weigel: "Glasses without glasses" . Exemplary failed CD edition of Karl Kraus' magazine "Die Fackel". In: Michael Ritter (Ed.): Praesent 2007. The literary events in Austria from July 2005 to June 2006 . Edition Praesens, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-7069-2007-7 , p. 37-59 .