A great American writer’s confrontation with a great European critic – a personal and intellectual awakening. Karl Kraus: satirist. Controversialist. Forgotten voice of the early twentieth century.Jonathan Franzen: bestseller. Contrarian. One of the greatest novelists working today. Recalling his student days, the celebrated author of ‘The Corrections’ and ‘Freedom’ recounts his discovery of Kraus and presents his own translations and annotations of the philosopher’s most famous essays. A pioneer of self-publishing, Kraus brilliantly attacked the mass media and the dehumanizing machinery of technology and capitalism. A notoriously difficult writer, Kraus has met his match in Franzen: a popular novelist unafraid to voice unpopular opinions. In the extensive footnotes Franzen explains why Kraus is relevant today – while also revealing his own intellectual and personal preoccupations.