"An organization of the disorganized..."
December 8, 2010 10:22 AM   Subscribe

The University of Washington's Vienna: 1900 collects a number of pieces from the height of Austrian café society.


"The Letter of Lord Chandos," Hugo von Hoffmannsthal's study of aphasia.

Young Törless, a novel by Robert Musil.

"Rules for my Reserved Table," by Peter Altenberg. ("Political conversations must not go beyond the phrase: I think things are stirring in America!")

"Theory of the Café Central," by Alfred Polgar.

La Ronde, a play by Arthur Schnitzler; best known as the basis for Max Ophüls' film of the same name.

Previously: A look at Stefan Zweig, the last luminary of Old Vienna.
posted by Iridic (8 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Great post!

That essay about Zweig linked from the post you link to is gloriously vituperative. I always meant to make a mega-Zweig post based around that essay, but then Joe Beese beat me to it.

I wonder, now that Mitteleuropa is no longer cut in half by the Iron Curtain, whether Vienna can rise again in cultural importance. Prague is showing signs of just that. Berlin has certainly swung back mightily. In fact, that's kind of going on all around Europe right now. Even Paris seems like it's rising from it's stylish slumber. Of course, given the trends of European history, just as things really get awesome, some completely insane war will break out and everything will go back to zero for another few decades.
posted by Kattullus at 10:34 AM on December 8, 2010

[this post means nothing to me]
posted by Eideteker at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

A "mega-Zweig" sounds like a German unit of measurement.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:46 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Reading Die Verwirrungen des jungen Zöglings Törless I was struck by the casual perversion among boys in a military internat.

Wittgensteins Vienna by Janik and Toulmin is also a great read about the cultural Vienna around 1900. It was a fascinating intellectual time in a state that was about to vanish after WWI.
posted by joost de vries at 11:07 AM on December 8, 2010

that Hofmann piece is just delicious; great post.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 11:30 AM on December 8, 2010

Now I am so annoyed that I lost my old paperback of Young Torless, which had the most interesting artwork on the cover, which is not one of the half dozen or so different covers on Google Images.

It was a stunning pencil drawing of two grim students looking down towards a thin manacled hand reaching up...
posted by ovvl at 12:43 PM on December 8, 2010

Fantastic post... danke!
posted by scody at 3:24 PM on December 8, 2010

I chuckled when I first read that Hofmann article about Zweig in the LRB earlier this year: "the Pepsi of Austrian writing." Hilarious.
posted by webhund at 8:32 PM on December 8, 2010

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