The Diaries of a Cosmopolitan

Source: Count Harry Kessler (translated and edited by Charles Kessler), The Diaries of a Cosmopolitan 1918-1939 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson). p. 364

Text: Monday, 15 July 1929 / Berlin
Read in the BZ, midday edition, that Hofmannstahl’s elder son, Franz, has shot himself. At half past two cabled Hugo. In the evening went to Stroheim’s film The Wedding March. A work of genius which, with the savagery of a George Grosz, shows up the hollowness of pre-war Vienna’s glamour and its sugary trashiness of sentiment (that of Hollywood as well, incidentally). Here is the precise obverse of what has always enthralled Hofmannstahl and held him spellbound.

Comment: Count Harry Kessler (1868-1937) was an Anglo-German aristocrat and diplomat. His diaries are an exceptionally vivid and observant account of art and politics in Weimar Germany. The Wedding March (USA 1928) was directed by and starred Erich von Stroheim. Hugo von Hofmanstahl was an Austrian novelist and librettist. He died of a stroke at his son’s funeral the day after this diary entry.

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