Born December 9, 1901, in Fiume, Hungaria, Odon von Horvath studied in Budapest and Vienna before choosing Germany as his adopted homeland. Disturbed, however, by the political climate, Horvath took up playwriting and launched a vicious attack on fascism with plays such as Tales from the Vienna Woods ( 1930), a farce about complacent townspeople who stand idly by as Nazi forces rise to power. Along with other works such as Revolt on Hill 3018 (1927) and Kasimir and Karoline (1931), this play won Horvath considerable admiration from the intellectuals of his day and even landed him the Kleist Prize in 1931. Unfortunately, his theatrical activities also brought him to the attention of the very men he was attacking, and in 1933, Horvath was forced to flee Germany, fearing for his life. Undaunted, the playwright relocated to Austria where he continued to write both plays and novels, the most important of which include The Stranger from the Seine (1933) and Figaro Gets a Divorce (1937). Ironically, his accurate predictions of the horrors that were to come in Germany and his timely abandonment of that troubled country did little to preserve his life. He died on June 1, 1938, in Paris, France, during a rainstorm, when a falling tree branch fell upon him. Horvath's plays were banned in Germany during the 1930s and the decades that would follow, but they were successfully revived in the 1960s when they exerted an enormous influence on the works of younger German dramatists such as Franz Xaver Kroetz, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and Botho Strauss.
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