Altenberg, Peter eigentlich Richard Engländer#
b. Vienna, March 9, 1859, d. Vienna, Jan. 8, 1919; writer, a master in the art of savoir-vivre. A Viennese merchant's son, he was given a typical upper middle class education. After abandoning successively his studies of law and medicine as well as his bookseller's apprenticeship he was diagnosed as having a "hypersensitive nervous system" that rendered him unable to work. His pseudonym "Altenberg" came from a village of the same name on the River Danube. Afflicted by constant depression and nervous breakdowns, A. was one of the most important authors of the group Jung-Wien ("Young Vienna") until his death. His contradictory personality manifested itself in a healthy, vegetarian diet accompanied by the excessive intake of alcohol and pills. The contents and form of his prose are fully in line with the emotions and inner unrest of the fin-de-siècle bohemian. Karl Kraus strongly supported A. and his work.
Works#Wie ich es sehe, 1896; Ashantee, 1897; Was der Tag mir zutraegt, 1900; Prodromos, 1905; Maerchen des Lebens, 1908; Neues Altes, 1911; Vita ipsa, 1918. - Edition: Gesammelte Werke, 5 vols. (only 2 published), ed. by W. Schweiger, 1987.
Literature#H. C. Kosler (ed.), P. A., Leben und Werk in Texten und Bildern, 1981; A. Barker, Telegrammstil der Seele. P. A. - eine Biographie, 1998.