Fackel (Die-)

views updated


A Viennese satirical review published by Karl Kraus, Die Fackel (The Torch) played an important role in the intellectual life of the early twentieth century. From April 1899 until February 1936, it appeared three times a month, then at least once every four months. Kraus published it by himself and was the only writer on the review's staff after 1911. His primary target was the press and its promoters, who were the servants of the moneyed classes. Krauss was in favor of sexual freedom and an ethic of right-speech. Because of his antimilitarist position during the First World War, the publication was censored. A number of Kraus's articles and aphorisms have been collected in anthologies.

Sigmund Freud, who was already a reader of the publication in 1903, is quoted in it for the first time in 1905 with reference to his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality. In 1906 Die Fackel sided with Freud when he was accused of plagiarism by Wilhelm Fliess. Freud wanted to "join forces with Kraus," who showed an appreciation for Freud even though believing that art is more important than science and expressing reservations about the interpretation of dreams.

The tone changed in 1910 after Fritz Wittels, who had been a prolific contributor to the publication, presented a paper at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society entitled "The Neurosis of the Torch," in which he caricatures Kraus's aversion to the Neue Freie Presse as an expression of a desire to kill his father. Kraus then sharpened his barbs against psychoanalysis in aphorisms such as, "Psychoanalysis is a mental disease for which it assumes it is the therapy" (no. 376, June 1913).

Erik Porge

See also: Austria, Wittels, Fritz (Sigfried).

Source Citation

Die Fackel. (H. Fischer, Ed.). Munich: Kösel Verlag, 1968-1973, nos. 1-922, 39 vols.


Kaufholz-Messmer, Eliane. (1975). Karl Kraus. Paris: Editions de l'Herne.

Kraus, Karl. (1985). Pro domo et mundo. Paris: Gérard Lebovici.

. (1986). La nuit venue. Paris: Gérard Lebovici.

Nunberg, Hermann, and Federn, Ernst (Eds.). (1962-1975). Minutes of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. New York: International Universities Press.

Waldvogel, A. (1990). Karl Kraus und die Psychoanalyse: eine historisch-dokumentarische Untersuchung. Psyche: Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse und ihre Anwendungen, 44 (5), 412-444.