Count Leinsdorf

It is Count Leinsdorf, not Count Stallburg, who actually originated the great patriotic campaign.

His Grace was the originator of the great patriotic campaign. When the disturbing news reached him  from Germany, it was he who had come up with the slogan, “Emperor of Peace.” This phrase instantly evoked the image of an eighty-eight-year-old sovereign–a true father of his people–an uninterrupted reign of seventy years. The image naturally bore the familiar features of his Imperial Master, but its halo was not that of majesty but of the proud fact that his Fatherland possessed the oldest sovereign with the longest reign in the world. Foolish people might be tempted to see in this merely his pleasure as a rarity–as if Count Leinsdorf, had, for instance, rated the possession of the far rarer horizontally striped “Sahara” stamp with watermark and one missing perforation over the possession of an El Greco, as in fact he did, even though he owned both and was not unmindful of his family’s celebrated collection of painting–but this is simply because these people don’t understand what enriching power a symbol has, even beyond that of the greatest wealth. (I,89)

 Leinsdorf has the self-assurance of one born into a royal family rooted in feudal times, where everyone had an organic, natural position in society.

Brought up in a religious and feudal spirit, never exposed to contradiction through having to deal with middle-class people, not unread, but as an after effect of the clerical instruction of his sheltered youth prevented for the rest of his life from recognizing in a book anything other than agreement with or mistaken divergence from his own principles, he knew the outlook of more up-to-date people only from the controversies in Parliament or in the newspapers. And since he knew enough to recognize the many superficialities there, he was daily confirmed in his prejudice that the true bourgeois world, more deeply understood, was basically nothing other than what he himself conceived it to be. (I,90-91)

 Yet the Count is not unaffected by the times. See, for instance, his city dwelling.

Where the staircases led to the entrance gate a tall doorkeeper stood in a heavy braided coat, his staff in his hand, gazing through the hole of the archway into the bright fluidity of the day, where pedestrians floated past like goldfish in a bowl. On the border between these two worlds rose the playful tendrils of a rococo façade, famed among art historians not only for its beauty but because its height exceeded its width. It is now considered the first attempt to draw the skin of an expensive, comfortable country manor over the skeleton of a town house, grown tall because of the middle-class urban construction of its ground plan, and represents one the most important examples of the transition from feudal landed splendor to the style of middle-class democracy. (I,91-92)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: