The Long Shadow of the Past

June 2017
15 black and white illustrations
214 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, PER004030, HIS040000

The Long Shadow of the Past

Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film, and Culture

Katya Krylova

Examines key contemporary Austrian literary texts, films, and memorials that treat Nazism and the Holocaust for what they reveal about the country's contemporary politics of memory.

Winner of the 2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award

The process of coming to terms with its National Socialist past has been a long and difficult one in Austria. It is only over the past thirty years that the country's view of its role during the Third Reich has shifted decisively from that of victimhood to complicity, prompted by the Waldheim affair of 1986-1988. Austria's writers, filmmakers, and artists have been at the center of this process, holding up a mirror to the country's present and drawing attention to a still disturbing past.
Katya Krylova's book undertakes close readings of key contemporary Austrian literary texts, films, and memorials that treat the legacy of Nazism and the Holocaust. The analysis focuses on texts by Robert Schindel, Elfriede Jelinek, and Anna Mitgutsch, documentary films by Ruth Beckermann and by Margareta Heinrich and Eduard Erne, as well as recent memorial projects in Vienna, examining what these reveal about the evolving memory culture in contemporary Austria. Aimed at a broad readership, the book will be a key reference point for university teachers, undergraduates, and postgraduates engaged in scholarship on contemporary Austrian literature, film, and visual culture, and for general readers interested in confrontations with the National Socialist past in the Austrian context.

KATYA KRYLOVA is Lecturer in German, Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen, UK. The Long Shadow of the Past is her second book.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Confrontations with the Past
Melancholy Journeys to the Past: The Films of Ruth Beckermann
Reconstructing a Home: Nostalgia in Anna Mitgutsch's Haus der Kindheit
Silencing the Past: Margarete Heinrich's and Eduard Erne's Totschweigen and Elfriede Jelinek's Rechnitz (Der Wurgeengel)
Historicizing the Waldheim Affair: Robert Schindel's Der Kalte
Missing Images: Memorials and Memorial Projects in Contemporary Vienna
Conclusion: Living with Shadows


Winner of the 2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award

Krylova's essays are thoroughly researched, lucidly written, and should be of interest to students of cultural studies and history. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW [Edward T. Larkin]

Katya Krylova's excellent new book was completed between the [Austrian] presidential and national polls [of 2016 and 2017]. . . . Krylova's introduction gives an excellent overview of the diverse strands of activity; her five chapters offer detailed analyses of particular works. . . . Krylova is able to develop a fascinating narrative. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES [Joachim Whaley]

[A] fascinating study . . . . [A] must read for all scholars interested in Austrian literature, film, and culture. GEGENWARTSLITERATUR [Joseph W. Moser]


Krylova's carefully researched The Long Shadow of the Past is a must-read for Austrian memory study scholars. It captures profoundly interconnected worlds of memory, trauma, and repression of the past with politics, culture, history, and family histories; it recognizes both progress and setbacks in Austria's reckoning with its past; and it invites an open dialogue about cultural memory. JOURNAL OF AUSTRIAN STUDIES [Eva Kuttenberg]

Krylova has produced a timely, informative, engaging, and well-written treatise on Austria's ongoing memory struggles. [It] would be informative and digestible reading for students in a course on the topic, and should be of interest to all scholars concerned with how Austria and other nations confront the long shadow of the past. GERMAN QUARTERLY [Sharon Weiner]

Krylova's book is a timely and welcome addition to various fields of study, among them, memory studies, Holocaust studies and Austrian cultural studies. Krylova's analyses demonstrate what happens when trauma and repressed national history continue unresolved. THE INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR [Nicole Calian]

This is a well-considered study of Austrian Holocaust denial and the ways in which film, literature, and memorial images have led the nation toward a complete understanding of its share of guilt in the events of WW II. . . . Highly recommended. CHOICE [E.G. Wickersham]

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