Karl Anton Klammer

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Karl Anton Klammer (pseudonym KL Ammer ) (born October 13, 1879 in Vienna ; † March 8, 1959 ibid) was an Austrian officer and later publishing director who gained a certain importance and notoriety as a literary translator around 1910.


Klammer came from a family with a long military tradition and graduated from the military academy in Wiener Neustadt after graduating from high school . In 1902 he joined an Austro-Hungarian dragoon regiment as a young officer in eastern Galicia , where he was stationed for several years.

In Galicia, Klammer then wrote transcriptions of a large part of the then well-known poems of Arthur Rimbaud and the poems of François Villons under the pseudonym "KLAmmer" . Both appeared in book form in 1907.

After the end of the First World War, Klammer left the army and in 1919 joined the Freytag und Berndt publishing company in Vienna, which he headed until 1949. He largely stopped his literary activities.

Activity in culture

Klammer had already started writing poetry as a schoolboy. He also dealt with contemporary French poetry and tried, apparently not quite satisfied with his own products, to translate symbolist authors. When in 1899 he sent his own poems as well as some transmissions to the well-known German writer Richard Dehmel , he helped him to reprint and write . a. in the Berlin magazine Pan . In the same year, transmissions of Maurice Maeterlinck's poems appeared in the Wiener Rundschau . Today, “Ammers” Rimbaud and Villon transmissions are regarded as an important impetus for the development of German poetry before and after the First World War, especially that of Expressionism .

Klammer is also remembered because of the plagiarism scandal surrounding Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera , which Alfred Kerr triggered in Berlin in 1929. In the “Songs” included in the piece, Brecht had borrowed longer passages from Klammer's Villon transmission. The latter, who found the sensation rather unpleasant, agreed with the stage publisher Felix Bloch Erben on a compensation of two per thousand of the income. The success of Brecht's piece brought Klammer a considerable profit, with which he bought a vineyard in Grinzing (Vienna).

Klammer corresponded with important authors and scholars such as Franz Blei , Bertolt Brecht , Franz Theodor Csokor , Stefan George , Hermann Hakel , Hugo von Hofmannsthal , Maurice Maeterlinck , Henri Queffélec , Richard Schaukal , Erwin Schrödinger , Stefan Zweig .


  • Karl Klammer: Memories. From k. and k. Lieutenant Colonel Karl Klammer. In: highlands. Vol. 48, 1955/56, pp. 352-360
  • Maurice Maeterlinck: Poems. German from KL Ammer u. Friedrich v. Opole-Bronikowski. Jena: Diedrichs, 1906
  • Jean-Arthur Rimbaud: Life and Poetry. Transferred from KL Ammer. With a foreword by Stefan Zweig. Insel-Verlag, Leipzig 1907
  • François Villon: The Master's Works. Translated into German by KL Ammer. Zeitler, Leipzig 1907. Reissued in 1918 and, under the misleading title Ballads , again in 1930. After the Second World War, it was published by Reclam- Leipzig under the title Die sehr irreverlosen Lieder des François Villon and was reprinted several times.


  • Reinhold Grimm: Work and Effect of the Translator Karl Klammer . In: Neophilologus. Vol. 44, 1960, pp. 20-36
  • Barbara Haberlander: KL Ammer. Portrait of an Austrian translator . Dipl.-Arb., Salzburg 1992

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