Franz Blei

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Franz Blei (1918)

Franz Blei (born January 18, 1871 in Vienna , Austria-Hungary , † July 10, 1942 in Westbury , New York , USA ) was an Austrian writer, translator , editor and literary critic .


Lead was the son of a wealthy cobbler. He attended the Stiftsgymnasium Melk . After studying in Vienna, Zurich, Geneva and Bern, where he received his doctorate in economics in 1895 with a dissertation on the Abbé Galiani's dialogues , he was editor of the magazine Die Insel from 1900 . He belonged to the circle around Victor Adler and was friends with this.

Blei was best known as an essayist ( Prinz Hypolit and other essays , Insel-Verlag, Leipzig 1903, etc.) and as an editor of magazines and erotic texts (e.g. the magazines Der Amethyst , 1905, and Die Opale , 1907, or die Collection of erotic baroque literature Das Lustwäldchen , 1907 ff.) And philosophical essays on pornography. Franz Kafka made his debut in one of his magazines - Hyperion (1908–1910 published by Hans von Weber , Munich) . He translated Charles Baudelaire , Paul Claudel , Choderlos de Laclos , Marcel Schwob , André Gide , Nathaniel Hawthorne , Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde . In addition, he published as editor including Robert Walser . For Robert Musil , with whom he was a lifelong friend, he published Der Lose Vogel (Leipzig 1912/13) and Summa (1917). In the 1920s he was an important contributor to the cultural magazine Der Cross-Section .

His best-known work as a writer and critic is The Great Bestiary of German Literature (first in 1920 in Munich, from 1922 with Rowohlt ). There, lead, mockingly or ironically, described all important authors in alphabetical order as more or less exotic animals. He describes “the Hesse” as “a lovely forest pigeon that gives the city dweller the sensation of nature, thanks to small glands, from which it exudes an odor that is reminiscent of the scent of fir '”. In later editions, Blei's “ Bestiary ” was expanded to include articles on Robert Musil and Hermann Broch , whose names are only mentioned in encrypted form in the preface. Some of his dramas or dramatic translations were also set to music, including Das Nusch-Nuschi 1920 by Paul Hindemith and his translation of André Gides König Kandaules by Alexander Zemlinsky (→ The King Kandaules ). Blei's pseudonyms as the author include Medardus and Doctor Peregrinus Steinhövel.

Blei lived in Munich, Berlin and Vienna before emigrating to Cala Rajada (Mallorca) in 1932 for financial and political reasons . In 1933, Blei's books were banned from public libraries in Germany and were sorted out. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in the summer of 1936, a painful odyssey began for Blei that took him to New York via Vienna, Florence, Lucca, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Marseille and Lisbon. He was married to the dentist Maria Franziska Lehmann (born January 2, 1867 in Offenburg; † November 8, 1943 in Gengenbach). The marriage, which was never divorced, although the spouses largely went their separate ways soon after the birth of the first child, comes from the daughter Maria Eva Sibylla (born March 22, 1897 in Zurich, † March 14, 1962 in Costa da Caparica / Portugal) and the son Peter Maria (born June 17, 1905 in Munich; † July 18, 1959 in Wädenswil / ZH). Both died childless.

In 1959 Bleigasse in Vienna- Favoriten was named after him.

Works (selection)

  • The powder puff. A ladies' breviary. From the papers of Prince Hippolytus . Hans von Weber publishing house , Munich 1908
  • Mixed fonts . 6 volumes. Georg Müller , Munich 1911
  • The boy Ganymede. Moral Tales , 1923
  • The great bestiary of literature , 1923
  • Women and Adventurers , 1927
  • Glory and misery of famous women , 1927
  • Heavenly and earthly love in the fate of women , 1928
  • Unusual People and Fates , 1929
  • On detective novels, short article in Frank Heller : Marco Polo's millions. Psychoanalytic detective novel. Series: Die Roman-Rundschau, 6. Der Strom-Verlag, Vienna 1929
  • Story of a life , 1930 (autobiography; new edition Paul Zsolnay, afterword Ursula Pia Jauch , Vienna 2004, ISBN 3-552-05310-7 )
  • Men and masks , 1930
  • The Divine Garbo - with an afterword by Greta Garbo , 1930
  • Creature's Lust , 1931
  • Talleyrand or Cynicism , 1932
  • Contemporary portraits , 1940
  • Franz Blei: Letters to Carl Schmitt 1917-1933 . In collaboration with Wilhelm Kühlmann ed. u. explains v. Angela Reinthal. Manutius, Heidelberg 1995, ISBN 3-925678-53-0 .
  • Franz Blei - André Gide . Correspondence (1904-1933) , 1997


Translations (selection)


  • Maria Blei: Diary for daughter Billy, 'Your love is wild as the torrent'. Edited and commented by Angela Reinthal, afterword by Gerhard Hubmann, Vienna: Böhlau Verlag 2017
  • Ulrich E. Bach: "That is a smooth receipt for the complete irrelevance of my life and activities". Franz Bleis lonely exile , in: John M. Spalek , Konrad Feilchenfeldt , Sandra H. Hawrylchak (eds.): German-language exile literature since 1933. Volume 3. USA: Supplement 1 . Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2010 ISBN 978-3-11-024056-6 , pp. 3–13
  • Gregor Eisenhauer : Franz Blei: The writer. A biographical essay. With texts by Franz Blei on Robert Walser, Eugen Arram, Frank Wedekind, Karl Kraus and Buck Whaley on CD. Elfenbein Verlag, Berlin 2004
  • Dietrich Harth (Ed.): Franz Blei. Mediator of literatures . European Publishing House , Hamburg 1997, ISBN 3-434-52002-3
  • Helga Mitterbauer: Restless retirement. On the emigration of Franz Blei. In: With the accordion. Journal for Literature of Exile and Resistance, 14th year, No. 3, Theodor Kramer Society Vienna, November 1997 ISSN  1563-3438
  • Helga Mitterbauer: A man with many qualities. Study on the role of Franz Bleis as a cultural mediator, Graz Diss. 2000
  • Helga Mitterbauer: The networks of Franz Blei. Cultural mediation in the early 20th century. Francke, Tübingen 2003
  • Paul Raabe : Franz Kafka and Franz Blei. In: F. Kafka. A symposium. Dating, finds, materials. Verlag Klaus Wagenbach , Berlin 1965, pp. 7-20.
  • Karl H. Salzmann:  Blei, Franz. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1955, ISBN 3-428-00183-4 , p. 297 ( digitized version ).
  • Thomas Markwart: The theatrical modern. Peter Altenberg, Karl Kraus, Franz Blei and Robert Musil in Vienna . Hamburg 2004
  • Werner Röder; Herbert A. Strauss (Ed.): International Biographical Dictionary of Central European Emigrés 1933-1945 . Volume 2.1. Munich: Saur, 1983 ISBN 3-598-10089-2 , p. 116

Web links

Wikisource: Franz Blei  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Ulrich E. Bach: Franz Blei , 2010, p. 3
  2. ^ Gregor Eisenhauer : Franz Blei, the literary man: a biographical essay, Volume 1 , Elfenbein Verlag, Berlin 2004. p. 10
  3. ^ Karl H. Salzmann: Franz Blei Neue Deutsche Biographie 1955, p. 297
  4. ^ Franz Blei: Prince Hypolit and other essays as digitized versions in the Internet Archive
  5. Hermann Hesse: Trees. Reflections and poems. Edited by Volker Michels . With photographs by Imme Techentin. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1952; Paperback edition: Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-458-32155-1 , p. 2.
  6. Ursula Pia Jauch (afterword) in: Franz Blei, Story of a Life , Vienna: Zsolnay 2004, p. 516
  7. Gabi Einsele: This circle around - let's say Maria Lehmann in Dietrich Harth: Franz Blei, mediator of cultures. Hamburg 1997, ISBN 3-434-52002-3 , p. 223
  8. Angela Reinthal, introduction to: Uma biblioteca reencontrada - a doação Sibylle Blei - Sara Halpern, Catálogo, 2. parte, BNP, Lisboa 2011, p. 49
  9. only in this edition, not in another from 1929