Rudolf Kassner’s biography (1873-1959)

1892 Studies German literature, Latin, and philosophy in Vienna.

1895-1896 Studies national economics, history, and philosophy at the University of Berlin. Kassner attends lectures by the historian Heinrich von Treitschke. He is enthused by the world of the theater, which will become an important basis for his reflections on the role of the actor as well as for his physiognomic views. In 1896, Kassner returns to Vienna, where he completes his dissertation, entitled “Der ewige Jude in der Dichtung” (“The Eternal Jew In Poetry”). He graduates in 1897.

1897-1898 Kassner resides in England (London and Oxford).

1900 During a sojourn in Paris, Kassner discovers Cézanne well ahead of his time. Encounter with André Gide, for whom he translates Philoktet.
Publication of Die Mystik, die Künstler und das Leben. Important works on English literature.

1902 Encounter with Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

1905-1911 Travels in North Africa, India, Russia, Turkestan. Publishes Der indische Idealismus (Indian Idealism) and Die Elemente der menschlichen Größe (The Elements of Human Grandeur).

1907 Encounter with Rainer Maria Rilke.

1914-1919 Kassner lives in Vienna, where he marries Marianne Eissler in 1914. During the war, he studies mathematics and physics. At this time, Einstein’s work and foundational mathematical texts are beginning to appear. Encounter with Einstein in Vienna. Frequent excursions to Berlin, where he meets Georg Simmel, Gerhart Hauptmann, and Walter Rathenau.

1919 From this time on, Kassner enjoyed friendships with Charles Du Bos, André Gide and Paul Valéry.

1923 Kassner travels to Valais. In the course of his brief stay, he meets with his friend Rainer Maria Rilke.

1924-1931 Trip to Rome and the beginning of annual trips to Paris.

1938 Beginning of the “third creative period” (in Kassner’s own words), on the eve of the Second World War.

1945-1946 With the help of Swiss friends, Kassner settles in Sierre (Valais); he teaches at the University of Zurich.

1947 From September 10, 1947 until his death on April 1, 1959, Kassner resides as permanent guest in the Hôtel Château Bellevue in Sierre.

1949 Kassner receives the Gottfried Keller Prize.

1955 Kassner receives the Schiller Prize in the city of Stuttgart, in particular for his work Der Zauberer (The Magician).

1957 Kassner receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Zurich.

1959 Rudolf Kassner dies on April 1st following a long illness. His gravesite can be found in the Sierre cemetery.