In the Shadow of Empire
Title Details

266 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

8 b/w illus.

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House

In the Shadow of Empire

Austrian Experiences of Modernity in the Writings of Musil, Roth, and Bachmann

by Malcolm Spencer

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
The first book to consider together the responses of the great Austrian writers Musil, Roth, and Bachmann to the crisis of modernity.
Austria was not the only European country whose old order disintegrated in the early twentieth century, giving way to the crisis of modernity, nor the only country whose literature bears the marks of this crisis. But modernity's onset was experienced differently in Austria: in the words of Karl Kraus, it served as "laboratory for the fall of world civilization." This book examines the crisis as reflected in fiction written by Robert Musil, Joseph Roth, andIngeborg Bachmann between 1920 and 1970. After examining the elusive concept of modernity, Malcolm Spencer looks at the responses of the three authors to the central themes of modernity: fragmentation, nationalism, the end of empire, and ambivalence. Chapters on Musil examine his understanding of the ancien régime in Austria and his analysis of the ideological stage of modernity. Spencer then considers Roth's more negative reaction, showing the post-imperial novel Radetzkymarsch to be a nostalgic response to the collapse of Habsburg Austria and the rise of fascism. The final chapter looks again at the end of empire, not in the work of writers who lived through it, but through that of one who experienced it as a historical and cultural legacy: Ingeborg Bachmann.

Malcolm Spencer is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. He teaches German and French at Walton High School, Stafford, UK.
Introduction: Negotiating Modernity in the Austrian Context
Modernity, Nationalism, and the Austrian Crisis
Vater, Landesvater, Gottvater: Musil and the Ancien Régime
Enemies of the Empire in Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften: Sepp, Feuermaul, and Schmeisser
"Europe is committing suicide": Joseph Roth's Radetzkymarsch
"How much home does a person need?": Ingeborg Bachmann's "Die Wege zum See"
Conclusion: Austria and What It Means to Be Modern
Bibliography
Index
"A thoughtful acount of Austria's modern transition." AUSTRIAN HISTORY YEARBOOK
"Spencer begins his comparison of three works of Austrian fiction with a definition of modernism -- a daunting task. He tailors his remarks to the central European context to good effect and provides a wide variety of supplemental material. Well executed and organized." CHOICE
"[C]onspicuously well written; the author is sensitive and perceptive in his handling of literature." JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES
"Spencer's approach to the topic of modernity as a narrative or narratives, rather than a monolithic set of specific characteristics, is convincing, especially in the context of the complex Austrian panorama." MONATSHEFTE

Paperback

9781571134745

October 2010

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781571138002

September 2008

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Title Details

266 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

8 b/w illus.

Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture

Imprint: Camden House