Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Councillor Georg von Geyrenhoff

Councillor Georg von Geyrenhoff (GAY-ohrg GI-rehn-hohf), a retired civil servant who assumes the roles of narrator, editor, and chronicler of the story of “Our Crowd” and other people during 1926-1927 in Vienna. He revises and edits the story again in 1955, when he feels he can be more objective. He requests others to aid him in writing about events that he cannot personally witness, accepts unsolicited manuscripts for inclusion in edited form, and directs a team of assistants who are unaware that they are spies, reporters, and collaborators for him. His major concern in 1955 is to examine the events of twenty-eight years before, including the burning of the Palace of Justice in 1927 by an angry mob of demonstrating workers. Geyrenhoff sees this event as leading to the takeover of Austria by the Nazis and its destruction in World War II.

Kajetan von Schlaggenberg

Kajetan von Schlaggenberg (KAY-yeh-tahn fon SCHLAHG-gehn-behrg), a professional writer, major collaborator on the chronicle, and modern ideologue. Kajetan is enraged by the popular notion that the ideal of feminine beauty is the extremely thin woman. He develops “Kajetan’s Theory of the Necessity of Fat Females to the Sex Life of the Superior Man Today.” Geyrenhoff extensively censors this “Chronique Scandaleuse” of fat women because he considers it one of the foolish and dangerous ideologies that imperil society. Kajetan is the greatest provider of information on the second life of the people from all segments of society in Vienna. In 1927, he ends his flirtations with ideologies and becomes a serious novelist.

Anna Kapsreiter

Anna Kapsreiter (KAPS-ri-tehr), an elderly widow and author of “Kap’s Night Book.” This book is a diary of thirteen dreams that Anna has during the early months of 1927. Geyrenhoff includes them in the chronicle without editing because they disclose an unusual perspicacity of the times. She actually predicts the future, although no one knows that until 1955.

Ruodlieb von der Vlantsch

Ruodlieb von der Vlantsch (REWOHD-leeb fon dehr vlayntsh), the author of a manuscript about sorceresses. Like Kajetan’s “Chronique Scandaleuse,” Geyrenhoff includes this story to offer another example of an...

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The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

When Geyrenhoff sets out to write the diary of “Our Crowd,” he is dealing for the most part with characters from similar social and economic backgrounds, that is, the upper-middle class in Vienna. The group is occasionally brought together by Captain von Eulenfeld for a night of drunken carousing, wild automobile chasing through the various districts in Vienna, and generally debauched disturbances of the peace. The membership of “Our Crowd” includes the narrator; Kajetan and Quapp von Schlaggenberg; Rene von Stangeler and Grete Siebenschein; the history student Dr. Neuberg and his fiancee, Angelika Trapp; the newspaper cartoonist Imre von Gyurkicz, who is a friend of Quapp; and the Hungarian diplomat Geza von Orkay. They seem to believe that they have to play the role of the younger generation, since they have experienced World War I and the subsequent change from the monarchy to the republic. In reality, however, they were no longer part of that generation; they were living in a “second reality.”

Leonhard Kakabsa belongs to a very different part of Viennese society. He is a young factory worker who is satisfied with his position in life and seeks no change in his occupation. Quite by accident and out of curiosity, he begins to teach himself Latin one day. He works hard and diligently on this task, but without a particular goal or change in life-style in mind. In time, he realizes that he has acquired the ability of intellectual freedom, since...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Bachem, Michael. Heimito von Doderer, 1981.

Books Abroad. XLII, no. 3 (1968). Special Doderer issue.

Falk, Thomas H. Heimito von Doderer’s Concept of the Novel: Theory and Practice, 1970.

Hamburger, Michael. From Prophecy to Exorcism, 1965.

Hesson, Elizabeth C. Twentieth Century Odyssey: A Study of Heimito von Doderer’s “Die Damonen,” 1983.

Politzer, Heinz. “Heimito von Doderer’s Demons and the Modern Kakanian Novel,” in The Contemporary Novel in German, 1967. Edited by Robert R. Heitner.

Weber, Dietrich. Heimito von Doderer, 1987.