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Harry Graf von Kessler: Star Witness of the Modern Age

The Man in the Panama Hat

Rudi Meulemans

After fleeing Nazism, Harry Graf von Kessler (1868-1937) emigrated to Mallorca and wrote his memoires, a retrospective of his cosmopolitan, modern life. The Count knew everyone, and everyone knew the Count.

Harry Kessler was an intellectual dandy, and politics and art were the focus of his life. He defended the arts from every form of political interference. As an arts patron, lover of males, publisher, thinker and writer, he pledged himself to no one and refused to live according to other people’s expectations.

The more the writer becomes absorbed in his subject, the closer he gets to himself. What begins as a literary tracking exercise turns into a search for himself.
De Standaard

In 'The man in the Panama Hat', Rudi Meulemans takes us on a journey through a changing world in the early twentieth century by way of
art, theater and politics. Harry Graf von Kessler wanted to be a new man. The modern age, with its limitless possibilities and unexplored temptations, was his laboratory.

In his well known lavish and empathic style, also displayed in his nonfiction debut 'Beyond the Borders', Rudi Meulemans paints a detailed portrait of a fascinating man in a fascinating age.