Monday, January 21, 2008

Kraus' own Coffeehouse

Kraus' critque of the Coffeehouse literi seems to me as basely rooted in one overarching idea: the intellectuals who spend their days theorizing with one another are wasting their talents with language. He believed (obviously, seeing as writing was his own profession) that words wielded the power to persuade, revolutionize, and redefine. Genius, therefore, should be utilized rhetorically to incite change or reflection through publication or active reformation instead of idley in private conversation with one's piers. Without blatantly saying so, he was calling them lazy.


Whitney said...

I agree with you that Kraus was calling them lazy, in a way. He definitely critiqued their lack of engagement with the literature and the writing process versus their "nerves" as well as their self-contained society. I think too that part of his problem with literature specifically and the idea of wasted talent was because he saw around him so much disconnect between what was being written (like in the newspapers) and what was really going on and how the other writers claimed to be concerned with the issues of the modern world but really fell into the same trap as everyone else.

Sean said...

I agree that he could have been calling them lazy. His satire was very thick and I believe that he was possibly even insinuating that they weren't real artists because they didn't actively create. Rather, they congratulated themselves for their "new" art that wasn't really new at all. The fact that it wasn't new made it not art, at least I believe Kraus would suggest that. This is where I believe the lie comes in. Calling something art when art is supposed to be revolutionary and it isn't is a lie. So his satirical criticism basically shows these supposed artists to be lazy buffoons rather than artists.