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Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries

Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries: Continuities and Discontinuities around 1900 and 2000

Ernst Grabovszki
James Hardin
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 242
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  • Book Info
    Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries
    Book Description:

    This volume of new essays by widely-published scholars from the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Austria examines the artistic, social, political, and historical continuities and discontinuities in Viennese literature during the periods around 1900 and 2000. It takes its impetus from the idea that both turns of the century are turning points in the development of Austrian literature and history. The essays show comprehensively that in both historical periods literature not only reflects societal conditions and political issues, but also serves as a medium of criticism and opposition to them. Ernst Grabovszki's introduction sets the context of literature in Vienna in 1900 and 2000, and is followed by essays exploring the following topics bearing on the city's literature across the two periods: writing about Vienna (Janet Stewart); art and architecture (Douglas Crow); psychoanalysis and the literature of Vienna (Thomas Paul Bonfiglio); poetry in Vienna from Hofmannsthal to Jandl (Rüdiger Görner); Austrian cinema culture (Willy Riemer); Austrian-Jewish culture (Hillary Hope Herzog and Todd Herzog); Austrian women's writing (Dagmar C. G. Lorenz); Karl Kraus and Robert Menasse as critical observers of their times (Geoffrey C. Howes); and Venice as mediator between the Viennese metropolis and the provinces (John Pizer). The figures treated range from Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Sigmund Freud, Theodor Herzl, Karl Kraus, Peter Altenberg, Franz Grillparzer, Joseph Roth, Bertha von Suttner, and Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach in the earlier fin de siècle to Elfriede Jelinek, Robert Schindel, Robert Menasse, Josef Haslinger, Ernst Jandl, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and Marlene Streeruwitz in the current period. Ernst Grabovszki teaches at the University of Vienna. James Hardin is professor emeritus in German at the University of South Carolina and editor of the series Studies in German Literature, Linguistics, and Culture.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-607-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Notes on Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries
    (pp. 1-24)
    Ernst Grabovszki

    One who deals with fin-de-siècle Vienna is often confronted with clichés. Elisabeth Leinfellner-Rupertsberger sums it up:

    Das Wien und mit ihm das Österreich der Jahrhundertwende sind zu einer Utopie im ursprünglichen Sinne des Wortes geworden, zu einem raum- und zeitlosen Mythos, einem Pandämonium mit mythischen Versatzstücken: dem guten alten Kaiser, der täglich seinen Tafelspitz ißt — so schon bei Josef Roth; dem weisen Ratgeber, Freud; der dämonischen Verführerin, Alma Mahler-Werfel; dem hauslosen Kaffeehausliteraten, Peter Altenberg; dem leutseligen Bürgermeister, der nur ein kleines bisserl antisemitisch ist, Lueger; und dem exilierten und in Österreich erst nach seinem Tod langsam bekanntgewordenen und schließlich in...

  5. I. Literature

    • The Written City: Vienna 1900 and 2000
      (pp. 27-49)
      Janet Stewart

      In 1891, Vienna’s boundaries were extended to include the outer suburbs (Vororte), adding nine further districts (Bezirke) to the existing ten, and bringing the total population to 1,365,170. Vienna was at this time both capital city and seat of the multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian Empire. According to Baedeker’s 1892 guide to the city, its reputation as a place of artistic importance had grown considerably over the preceding decades, especially with the construction of the Ringstrasse and its collection of impressive monumental buildings.¹ Begun in 1861 and completed in 1873,² the Ringstrasse provided the impetus for the development and expansion of Vienna. By...

    • Notes from the Counter-World: Poetry in Vienna from Hugo von Hofmannsthal to Ernst Jandl
      (pp. 51-66)
      Rüdiger Görner

      In his satirical poem “Goethe und Hofmannsthal” Karl Kraus (1874–1936) suggested, somewhat misleadingly, that the gap of one century between both poets had been of no stylistic consequences.¹ Thus, Kraus concluded, the reader could not tell one poet from the other. Given their impeccable (read: sterile) poetic form Goethe and Hofmannsthal, Kraus predicted, would in future become even more interchangeable.

      It seems, however, that much, perhaps everything, has changed since 1900 — in Vienna and elsewhere. Would anyone nowadays feel tempted to follow Kraus’s example and write a poem on Hofmannsthal and Ernst Jandl (1925–2000)? What is left for...

    • Austrian Women and the Public: Women’s Writing at the Turn of the Centuries
      (pp. 67-88)
      Dagmar C. G. Lorenz

      At first glance, the difference between the role of women in the public sphere in 1900, at the fin de siècle, and in 2000, at the millennium, appears tremendous. In terms of fashion, educational opportunities, employment, legal and civil rights, participation in the dominant culture and gender role expectations, the long-skirted, corseted suffragettes seem light years apart from women who take their active and passive voting rights for granted, see nothing unusual in single motherhood and abortion, and dress whichever way they choose, in skirts, pants, shorts, suits, and gowns.¹ Yet writings of contemporary avant-garde, Marie-Thérèse Kerschbaumer (b. 1936), Elfriede...

    • Dreams of Interpretation: Psychoanalysis and the Literature of Vienna
      (pp. 89-116)
      Thomas Paul Bonfiglio

      The first edition of Die Traumdeutung (translated as The Interpretation of Dreams, 1913) bears a publication date of 1900, although it actually appeared in Vienna in November 1899. This is consistent with the pivotal temporality of a work that looks retrospectively into the nineteenth century and prospectively into the twentieth. In 1931, Freud said of his first and arguably most important book, “It contains, even according to my present-day judgement, the most valuable of all the discoveries it has been my good fortune to make.”¹ In terms of the influence not only on his later publications, but also on humanistic...

    • Venice as Mediator between Province and Viennese Metropolis: Themes in Rilke, Hofmannsthal, Gerhard Roth, and Kolleritsch
      (pp. 117-131)
      John Pizer

      In a manner similar to Vienna, the historical, social, and aesthetic contradictions of Venice have led to its engagement as both backdrop and narrative subject by writers for centuries. German literature’s most famous treatment of the Italian city’s bifurcated character, its oscillation in a subject’s perceptual field between ornate, elaborately staged beauty and concomitant putrefaction and decadence, is Thomas Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig (1912). Because their own capital, Vienna, has also been imbued throughout its existence by these polar but intertwined attributes, Austrian writers do not tend to treat Venice in the antithetical, alienated manner of Mann. Austrian writers...

    • Critical Observers of Their Times: Karl Kraus and Robert Menasse
      (pp. 133-152)
      Geoffrey C. Howes

      Karl Kraus (1874–1936) and Robert Menasse (b. 1954) both oversaw an Austria in the last days of its respective form of existence, and both authors’ appraisals of the Austrian condition provoked controversy among readers and critics of various political stripes. Their acerbic wit, intelligence, and literary talent place Kraus and Menasse close to the center of the Austrian public discourse of their times. Most important, in addition to their expository and polemical writings, both authors created literary works in which major cultural, political, and philosophical questions of the day assume a complex and compelling aesthetic life. This essay will...

  6. II. Arts and Culture

    • Art and Architecture 1900 and 2000
      (pp. 155-178)
      Douglas Crow

      With these words, Hermann Bahr (1863–1934), writer, critic, playwright and journalistic provocateur, invoked Vienna’s artists at the end of the nineteenth century. Bahr foresaw the rise of a new ideal of beauty, which he proclaimed in apocalyptic terms: “Die Gerechtigkeit wankte und die Sitte ward erschüttert und der Glaube brach. Und alles ward neu. Und eine neue Schönheit ging mit jeder neuen Sonne auf, mit fremdem Namen und mit fremdem Antlitz und befremdsam geschmückt.”¹

      Though seemingly novel, the “neue Schönheit” had theoretical underpinnings in Kant’s eighteenth-century doctrine of the autonomy of aesthetic standards. Over time, Kant’s theories were given...

    • Literature and Austrian Cinema Culture at the Turn of the Centuries
      (pp. 179-204)
      Willy Riemer

      Austrian film has had some remarkable accomplishments in recent years. At the 2001 film festival in Cannes Michael Haneke’s Die Klavierspielerin (The Piano Teacher, 2001) received three major awards: the Grand Prix of the Jury, as well as the awards for best actress (Isabelle Huppert) and best actor (Benoît Magimel); Jessica Hausner’s feature debut Lovely Rita (2001) was accepted for screening at Cannes, as was Ruth Mader’s short Nulldefizit (Zero Deficit, 2001). At the 1999 festival in Venice Nina Proll received the Mastroianni award for her superb performance in Barbara Albert’s Nordrand (Northern Skirts), and in 2000 at Locarno the...

    • “Wien bleibt Wien”: Austrian-Jewish Culture at Two Fins de Siècle
      (pp. 205-220)
      Hillary Hope Herzog and Todd Herzog

      Wien ist anders.” This was the bold proclamation at the center of a recent advertising campaign to promote tourism in the city of Vienna. The motto appeared on posters and brochures juxtaposed with the familiar images of the city marketed to tourists: the golden Johann Strauss statue, the Lippizaner horses, the Hofburg, St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The effect of the images is to transport the viewer back to the days of Habsburg rule, to conjure up the image of the city that is most familiar — Vienna at the turn of the last century. Clearly the slogan is at odds with the...

  7. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 221-222)
  8. Index
    (pp. 223-232)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-233)