Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A flirt and a Hypochondriac Vegetarian

Art is life, life is life, but to lead life artistically is the art of life.
People who are interested in something they are not interested in at all
A happy couple: he does what she wants and she does what she wants
Religion is a kind of ideal application of persecution complex on human nerves
There is only one thing indecent with nakedness, and that is to find nakedness indecent.

Though Altenberg loved all women, and wrote of loving them frequently and well, he was as ugly and as mostly chaste as Socrates. That, at least, was the philosopher to whom he was often compared by Platonists eager to pay his tab at the Café Central, that symposium on Vienna’s Herrengasse where Altenberg received both visits from the muses and his mail. Not only was the author a flirt, and a hypochondriac vegetarian, but he was also a smoker, drinker and addict of morphine who, prematurely aged, found himself institutionalized in sanatoria, and converted to Catholicism. He slept in cheap hotels, and the list of those who footed his bills reads as if a short history of the modern German arts: Hermann Hesse, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Max Reinhardt most of all. Adolf Loos was a supporter, and Schnitzler, Rilke and Kafka, the last of whom called him, with a touch of jealousy, perhaps, “a genius of trivialities,” admired and even emulated his style
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