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The Whole Difference:
Selected Writings of Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Hugo Von Hofmannsthal
Edited by J. D. McClatchy

Hardcover | 2008 | $55.00 | £45.95 | ISBN: 9780691129099
520 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4
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Hugo von Hofmannsthal is one of the modern era's most important writers, but his fame as Richard Strauss's pioneering collaborator on such operas as Der Rosenkavalier and Die Frau ohne Schatten has obscured his other remarkable writings: his precocious lyric poetry, inventive short fiction, keen essays, and visionary plays. The Whole Difference, which includes new translations as well as classic ones long out of print, is a fresh introduction to the enormous range of this extraordinary artist, and the most comprehensive collection of Hofmannsthal's writings in English.

Selected and edited by the poet and librettist J. D. McClatchy, this collection includes early lyric poems; short prose works, including "The Tale of Night Six Hundred and Seventy-Two," "A Tale of the Cavalry," and the famous "Letter of Lord Chandos"; two full-length plays, The Difficult Man and The Tower; as well as the first act of The Cavalier of the Rose. From the glittering salons of imperial Vienna to the bloodied ruins of Europe after the Great War, the landscape of Hofmannsthal's world stretches across the extremes of experience. This collection reflects those extremes, including both the sparkling social comedy of "the difficult man" Hans Karl, so sensitive that he cannot choose between the two women he loves, and the haunting fictional letter to Francis Bacon in which Lord Chandos explains why he can no longer write. Complete with an introduction by McClatchy, this collection reveals an artist whose unusual subtlety and depth will enthrall readers.


"Hofmannsthal, with no completed novels to his name, was probably always going to be severely handicapped. Of the three recent selections in English--a little sputter of interest from the last ten years that probably marks a diminuendo as much as a revival--only J.D. McClatchy's makes any sort of effort to represent him in his fullness and variety, with a clutch of poems, a couple of stories, some essays, the first scene from Der Rosenkavalier, and two plays: that comedy, Der Schwierige, and the risible late tragedy The Tower, in an equally risible translation by Alfred Schwarz."--Michael Hofmann, London Review of Books

"This elegant anthology of key writings by the Austrian writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal provides Anglophone readers with an excellent selection of his writings. . . . The choice of these plays . . . is particularly praiseworthy, since they reveal the sophistication and cultural pessimism of one of the most talented and fruitful European writers of his time. McClatchy's introduction is concise and useful."--J. Hardin, Choice

"We should be glad . . . to be given back the literary works and plays that comprise this volume."--Mara Caden, Opera News

"A fascinating body of work, and it's exciting to have it available."--Plays International

"This book is well worth reading: it gives not only access to the key works of one of the most important German authors of the last century, and the most relevant literature written on him in English, but also clearly and precisely illustrates what Hofmannsthal's reputation was based upon!"--Eberhard Eichenhofer, European Legacy

"This book will be especially welcome to scholars, teachers, and students of both Austrian and fin de siecle literature and culture. It should also encourage publishers and translators to make more of Hofmannsthal's works available in English."--Reinhard Mayer, Translation Review


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