Moszkowski, Alexandr

Tagged: Author

(1851-1934) Polish/German author, in Berlin from a relatively early age, where he became a well-known satirist of the contemporary political scene. In his excellent and encyclopedic Satire of Utopias, Die Inselt der Weisheit: Geschichte einer abenteuerlichen Entdeckungsfahrt [subtitle translates as "The Story of an Adventurous Expedition"] (1922; trans H J Stenning as The Isles of Wisdom 1924), the protagonists are guided by Nostradamus through an Archipelago each of whose Islands is devoted to a different principle governing the good life: a Platonic (see Plato) archipelago, a Buddhist utopia, an Island of Fine Arts, a pacifist culture, a reactionary culture, and so on. Of particular interest is Sarragalla, the "Mechanized Island", where the Technological utopianism of Walther Rathenau (1867-1922) is mercilessly satirized. The characters conclude that "every principle is bound to break down, somewhere, or, if its application is enforced, it is transformed into a caricature of itself". [BS]

see also: Automation.

Alexandr Moszkowski

born Pilica, near Kraków, Poland: 15 January 1851

died Berlin: 26 September 1934

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