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Rethinking Vienna 1900

Rethinking Vienna 1900

Edited by Steven Beller
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Rethinking Vienna 1900
    Book Description:

    Fin-de-siecle Vienna remains a central event in the birth of the century's modern culture. Our understanding of what happened in those key decades in Central Europe at the turn of the century has been shaped in the last years by an historiography presided over by Carl Schorske'sFin de Siecle Viennaand the model of the relationship between politics and culture which emerged from his work and that of his followers. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to question the main paradigm of this school, i.e. the "failure of liberalism."

    This volume reflects not only a whole range of the critiques but also offers alternative ways of understanding the subject, most notably though the concept of "critical modernism" and the integration of previously neglected aspects such as the role of marginality, of the market and the larger Central and European context. As a result this volume offers novel ideas on a subject that is of unending fascination and never fails to captivate the Western imagination.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-478-6
    Subjects: History

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-vii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. x-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-26)
    Steven Beller

    It is a generally accepted fact that Vienna at the beginning of the twentieth century was the birthplace of a major part of the modern culture and thought which forms the basis of our consciousness to this day. While Vienna’s importance is perhaps not seen as being as great as it appeared a decade or so ago when it could be called “the birthplace of modernity,” the Habsburg capital still remains as a central fixture in the conventional picture of the origins of modernism. What is interesting about this is that, for a very large part of this century, this...

  7. Chapter 1 Vienna 1900 Revisited: Paradigms and Problems
    (pp. 27-56)
    Allan Janik

    Forty years ago Robert Kann published his penetratingStudy in Austrian Intellectual History.¹ This book was a pioneering effort in a field, Austrian cultural history, which has subsequently burgeoned. Kann’s legacy has been recognized and honored in many ways, not least being the annual Kann Memorial Lecture, but the full significance of hisStudy in Austrian Intellectual Historyfor our understanding of Austrian cultural history has rarely been realized. It is the neglected contribution which Kann’s book made to the discussion ofmethodin Austrian cultural studies that interests me here.

    My concern is with models of explanation, rather than...

  8. Chapter 2 Rethinking the Liberal Legacy
    (pp. 57-79)
    Pieter M. Judson

    In a review of Carl Schorske’s influentialFin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culturetwo decades ago, John Boyer noted the “uneven monographic base” from which Schorske had drawn his portrayal of Austria’s liberals.¹ At that time the study of imperial Austrian politics and culture around 1900 relied on a tentative, preliminary, and often inadequate reading of a few limited sources on liberalism. This was highly problematic in Boyer’s view because much of the Schorske thesis and many of its later variants relied on important, if unexamined, assumptions about the nature of liberal influence on Austrian society. These assumptions cast liberalism as...

  9. Chapter 3 Fin de Siècle or Jahrhundertwende: The Question of an Austrian Sonderweg
    (pp. 80-104)
    James Shedel

    Prominent in our current vision of Vienna 1900 is the image of theSecessionsgebäudeand the famous inscription above its portal, “Der Zeit ihre Kunst, der Kunst ihre Freiheit”(To the time its art, to art its freedom). Less prominent, indeed almost vanished from our line of sight, however, is another coeval fixture of Vienna’s landscape, theBurgtor. It too carries an inscription above its entrance, “Justitia Regnorum Fundamentum” (Justice is the foundation of kingdoms). Two more contrasting structures and sentiments are hard to imagine; one a pioneer of geometric art nouveau, the other a prudent example of neo-classicism; the former...

  10. Chapter 4 Theodor Herzl and Richard von Schaukal: Self-Styled Nobility and the Sources of Bourgeois Belligerence in Prewar Vienna
    (pp. 105-131)
    Michael Burri

    The years following the deaths of Theodor Herzl and Richard von Schaukal have added to the distance that already separated the two during their lifetime. At the turn of the century in Vienna, neither writer could be said to have been close to the other, personally or creatively. Herzl, after a brief term as Paris correspondent of theNeue Freie Presse, had become its feuilleton editor. An author of short stories, dramas, and novels, he was also the renowned leader of the Zionist movement. Younger and less accomplished, Schaukal was an Austrian civil servant with great expectations, a writer known...

  11. Chapter 5 Marginalizations: Politics and Culture beyond Fin-de-Siècle Vienna
    (pp. 132-153)
    Scott Spector

    In assessing the legacy of Carl E. Schorske’s seminalFin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture,¹ we come to the question of whether or not we can speak of a Schorskean “paradigm” of the relation of cultural products and political contexts, and whether that paradigm has become dominant in the historical study of culture. Since Schorske argued that the case of Vienna 1900 was exceptional, rather than exemplary, he seems not to have posited it as a “paradigm” in the narrow sense, and yet his book has without doubt influenced a whole range of culture-historical work beyond the study of turn-of-the-century Vienna....

  12. Chapter 6 Freud’s “Vienna Middle”
    (pp. 154-170)
    Alfred Pfabigan

    Repression, the Oedipus complex, the Freudian slip—these concepts have become so embedded in the universal language of Western modernity, that it seems as though the immense success of Freud in sheer quantitative terms has bypassed any “resistance” there might be in principle to the psychoanalytic view of the world. The success of Freudian thought, indeed, has not come primarily in the scientific community to which Freud addressed his discoveries, but rather through a popularization process, which has given the Freudian contribution to our culture a multitude of meanings. Everyone has his or her own Freud: “sleek American psychoanalysis,”¹ advertising,...

  13. Chapter 7 Popper’s Cosmopolitanism: Culture Clash and Jewish Identity
    (pp. 171-194)
    Malachi Haim Hacohen

    Karl Popper admired one nationalist statesman: the founder of Czechoslovakia, Thomas Masaryk. The Czechoslovak Republic, Popper thought, was exemplary for its humanity, democracy, and industry. But its achievement, he emphasized, had been dearly bought. “The dissolution of the Old Austrian Empire was partly Masaryk’s work. [It] proved a disaster for Europe and the world.”¹ “The old Austria” represented almost idyllic multiculturalism. It “was a reflection of Europe: it contained almost innumerable linguistic and cultural minorities. Many of these people who found it difficult to eke out an existence in the provinces came to Vienna.”² This created “a permanent population-blend (Mischung)...

  14. Chapter 8 A Matter of Professionalism: Marketing Identity in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna
    (pp. 195-219)
    Robert Jensen

    Imagine this vignette of Viennese artistic culture in 1910. A young artist and two celebrated architects are sitting around a coffeehouse table, doing business. The artist, Egon Schiele, age 20, is selling a drawing to the older architect on the recommendation of his younger colleague. A nude, it belongs to a suite of large drawings Schiele made of his sister Gerti in the spring of 1910, from which he also produced two paintings.¹ His client is Otto Wagner, the dean of an extraordinary group of Viennese architects and designers. Wagner decides to capture the ritual flavor of the exchange—it...

  15. Chapter 9 The Image of Women in Painting: Clichés and Reality in Austria-Hungary, 1895–1905
    (pp. 220-263)
    Ilona Sármány-Parsons

    Ever since Carl Schorske’s bookFin-de-Siècle Viennafirst focused the attention of cultural and art history on Vienna, most references to Austro-Hungarian culture of thefin de sièclehave tended to project the Viennese pattern onto the whole region. It is only local scholars who have attempted to correct this perspective when writing on Czech, Polish, or Hungarian culture, but they too have often narrowed the focus by discussing one nation only. Thus the publications of Czech, Polish, or Hungarian scholars tend to move within the framework of their own national discourse and neglect the comparative dimension with other cultural...

  16. Chapter 10 Afterthoughts about Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: The Problem of Aesthetic Culture in Central Europe
    (pp. 264-270)
    Mary Gluck

    Fin-de-siècleVienna” conjures up a complicated set of images. It is, first of all, a famous book of essays that reinterpreted Viennese cultural life at the turn of the century. But it is also an academic phenomenon that was inspired and generated by those essays. On the most abstract level, however, we have to see “fin-de-siècleVienna” as a generalized vision of modernist culture, based on a particular theory about the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

    Undoubtedly, the most immediate association of the term is with Carl Schorske’sFin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture, first published as a book in 1980,...

  17. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 271-284)
  18. Index
    (pp. 285-292)