The Hidden Poet (Der Verkleidete Dichter)

Egon Friedell

People are strange. They run around lost and confused, looking for art and poets. They want to heighten their lives, have the meaning of the times explained to them, and experience beauty. They leaf through old books, but they talk to people who have been empty shells for ages. They look, worried and stressed, for a new light on the horizon. There is none to be seen, because the horizon is the wrong place to look for it. It must shine among them, next to them, inside them. But they never look there. They think that a poet must arise like a distant, blinding sun, in ostentatious blood-red colours. But poets are not ostentatious.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles (Der Hund von Baskerville)

Egon Friedell

As Herr Fischer, the director of the Vienna Intimate Theatre, suggested to me, for a modest, but uncertain, remuneration, to assist in the direction of his repertoire, he said roughly the following, »You would be just the right person to fill a big gap. We have really good actors and actresses, a mighty director, and an exceedingly forbearing scenery designer. We are only missing one ingredient: a man of letters. Every modern theatre has at least one of them. It is no longer possible to present a programme of acting alone. The actors only master their own roles, they don’t have an overview of the entire work. They don’t know when it was written, what influenced the playwright, or the aesthetic principles which he followed. And anyway, they are so superficial, so gimmicky. And now, dear Doctor, please devise your programme.«

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