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Franz Blei

Franz Blei

Franz Blei
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Playwright
Was Writer Critic Linguist Translator Playwright Literary critic
From Austria
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Social science
Gender male
Birth 18 January 1871, Vienna, Austria
Death 10 July 1942, Westbury, New York, Nassau County, New York, U.S.A. (aged 71 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Franz Blei (pseudonyms: Medardus, Dr. Peregrinus Steinhövel, Amadée de la Houlette, Franciscus Amadeus, Gussie Mc-Bill, Prokop Templin, Heliogabal, Nikodemus Schuster, L. O. G., Hans Adolar; January 18, 1871, Vienna – July 10, 1942, Westbury, Long Island, New York) was an essayist, playwright and translator. He was also noted as a bibliophile, a critic, an editor in chief and publisher, and a fine wit in conversation. He was a friend and collaborator of Franz Kafka.


He was the son of a shoe-maker and trained as an architect. As a member of the Jewish literati, he was at great risk in German-occupied Europe and eventually succeeded after a lengthy odyssey to reach the USA in 1941 where he settled in New York City.


He translated into German work by Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde and Molière among others and also published his own monograph on the paintings of the symbolist Felicien Rops. He was also a prolific editor of small-press journals.

Kafka said of him: "Franz Blei is much cleverer, and greater, than what he writes." (Janouch, 1971. "Conversations With Kafka").

Amethyst and The Opals

From December 1905 - November 1906 he was the editor of the private magazine Amethyst (pub. Hans von Weber) and then The Opals, which were available by subscription only and were mildly pornographic. The journals featured the artwork of Aubrey Beardsley and Felicien Rops, texts by Jules Laforgue and also erotic prose from translated texts by Paul Verlaine and classic erotic plays and poems from around the world. Only 800 numbered copies were produced of each issue, and the young Kafka had a subscription. The Opals was the first to publish Carl Einstein's Bebuquin, the first German expressionist novel. These literary small-press journals, known about by Kafka scholars for many decades, became the basis for a silly season press story in 2008, in The Times of London, when a novelist promoting a new book claimed to have discovered Kafka's 'secret pornography stash' among his archived papers.


From 1908 to 1909 he co-edited the short-lived journal Hyperion with Carl Sternheim, which was the first to publish work by a young Franz Kafka. The first issue published a short fragment of Kafka's story "Description of a Struggle". More substantial extracts of the work were published in the final issue of Hyperion in the spring of 1909. Extracts from another seven Kafka works were also published in the magazine.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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