Hofmannsthal, Hugo von

Hofmannsthal, Hugo von

biographical name

(born Feb. 1, 1874, Vienna, Austria—died July 15, 1929, Rodaun, a suburb of Vienna) Austrian poet, dramatist, and essayist. Born into an aristocratic banking family, he made his reputation with lyric poems (the first published when he was 16) and verse plays, including The Death of Titian (1892) and Death and the Fool (1893). He renounced lyrical poetry in a 1902 essay and thereafter turned to theatre; his later plays include Christina's Journey Home (1910), Everyman (1911), The Difficult Man (1921), and The Tower (1925). In 1906 he began a celebrated collaboration with the composer Richard Strauss; their remarkable first opera, Elektra (1908), was followed by Der Rosenkavalier (1910), Ariadne auf Naxos (1912, revised 1916), Die Frau ohne Schatten (1919), and others. In 1920 he cofounded the Salzburg Festival with Max Reinhardt.

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