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Georg Trakl Memorial Center

George Trakl was born in Salzburg in 1887 as the son of an ironmonger. He died at the age of 27 at the outset of World War I in the garnison hospital in Cracow. Within only a few years he had written a body of literature which gave him a special rank in the German lyric poetry of the 20th century. Georg Trakl lived with his family in Salzburg up to the age of 21. He subsequently returned to stay for various periods of time. Thus, the poet's memorable experiences were associated with the city's locales and are embodied in his poetry and prose. Several poems carry the names of certain places in Salzburg in their titles, others are influenced by the architecture and atmosphere of the city in their imagery. Seven "Trakl sites" are marked by plaques of his poetry but it must be remembered that in his verse Trakl always created inner human situations from outer inspirations. His schoolfriend, Erhard Buschbeck, once remarked that writing poetry had been Trakl's "innermost concern and lonliest obligation". In Trakl's poetry the city receives the enigmatic face of a sphinx: hand in hand with the images arising from his receptiveness for beauty, stillness and warmth is the feeling of transience and decay. Trakl did not feel able to cope with life. His failure in school, the futile attempts to become a pharmacist and later the frequent fluctuations between Salzburg, Vienna and Innsbruck appear to have turned him into a man haunted by fear and a sense of guilt with a remarkable ability to transform his thoughts into poetic images. His interest for the liturature of French Symbolism and his preoccupation with the "Wiener Moderne" or modern Viennese literary trends developed into a unique metaphoric language that has meanwhile earned international recognition. His works have been translated into 26 languages. A research and memorial site has been installed at the poet's birthplace on the Waagplatz in Salzburg which is open to the public for guided tours. On display are handwritten and personal documents of the poet, pieces of furniture from his family's home, secondary literature and an introductory movie. Material pertaining to the poet's life (1887-1914, manuscripts, photographs).


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