"He was the greatest writer of our age" noted Arthur Schnitzler in his diary in July 1929, just a few days after Hugo von Hofmannsthal's death. "Few people have been idolised as unquestioningly and loved as absolutely as he was," said Rudolf Borchardt. Hofmannsthal's life was that of "the incredible intense tragedy of a poet" wrote Felix Salten, hinting at tensions which confronted one of the last, great poets of a dying European age. It is certainly true that Hofmannsthal managed successfully throughout his life to erase traces of his personal life. In spite of an abundance of secondary literature, we only have a vague picture of him. Ulrich Weinzierl, who is an authority on modernity, is ready to change that. With stylistic panache, he looks at Hofmannsthal's ambivalent relationship to his Jewish ancestry, at his interaction with the aristocracy and above all at his relationships – including of an erotic nature – with others. Weinzierl succeeds in revealing Hofmannsthal as a great writer and as a person in whom the depths of the fin de siècle are visible.
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