Historical Context

Turn of the Century Vienna
In the 1890s, the dominant mood in von Hofmannsthal’s hometown of Vienna, the capital of the great...

(The entire section is 910 words.)

Literary Style

There are a few recurring images or motifs in the play that vividly bring out its themes. The first set of images...

(The entire section is 1073 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

Aeschylus, Oresteia, translated and with an introduction by Richmond Lattimore, University of Chicago Press,...

(The entire section is 443 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Del Mar, Norman. Richard Strauss: A Critical Commentary on His Life and Works. 3 vols. London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1962. Includes a highly readable account of Hofmannsthal’s play and its transformation into an opera.

Hamburger, Michael. Hofmannsthal: Three Essays. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1972. An excellent introduction to Hofmannsthal’s poems, plays, and libretti for English-speaking readers.

Hamburger, Michael. A Proliferation of Prophets: Essays on German Writers from Nietzsche to Brecht. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1983. Contains a highly readable essay tracing...

(The entire section is 178 words.)

Compare and Contrast

1900s: In Vienna, Arnold Schoenberg develops a new approach to composing classical music. He turns away from traditional harmony and...

(The entire section is 393 words.)

Topics for Further Study

Read Sophocles’ Electra and describe some of the similarities and differences between that play and von Hofmannsthal’s version....

(The entire section is 205 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

Von Hofmannsthal’s The Cavalier of the Rose (1912) is the English translation of his libretto for Strauss’s famous comic opera,...

(The entire section is 232 words.)