ratings · Published: Jun 16th, 2015
Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play "der Schwierige" opened in 1921 at a time of great change and uncertainty in both Austria and Germany. A work that is light hearted, comic and thought-provoking, its affectionate portrayal of the Austrian nobility is an enduring vignette of the bygone age of the Viennese salon. Its central character, the Count Kari Buehl, is "the difficult gentleman," both seeking and running away from love, caught between action and inaction and forever undecided. The play questions the value of words in true expression and the nature of communication in society - the misunderstandings that ensue are a pleasure to behold.
The play has been newly translated from the German into English by Nicholas Stephens. Nicholas graduated in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, and currently lives in Hong Kong.