For the past two decades, Carl Schorske has been one of the most interesting writers in the field of late nineteenth-century Austrian history. The appearance of this handsomely illustrated collection of his essays - most of which originally appeared in historical journals - provides an opportunity to reflect on the nature of his contribution. The book consists of seven studies on topics ranging from the Ringstrafienstil in urban planning to Kokoschka's expressionism and Schoenberg's musical explorations. The finest, entitled "Politics in a New Key," is an examination of the irrational "sharper key" in political rhetoric and deportment which arose in Austria in the 1880s. Here the qualities of Schorske's craft are exhibited at their best: a perceptive eye for the prevailing imagery of the day, the ability to weave a tight fabric of analysis around a few central themes, and an often deft (though occasionally overwrought) prose style. The essays are held together by a few well-chosen motifs: e.g., generational conflict between liberal fathers and rebellious sons, the sense of undirected flux which preoccupied the intelligentsia, upper middle-class aestheticism and status envy for the aristocracy, and the notion of threatened masculinity which surfaced so often in the arts. These are not unfamiliar themes in Austrian cutural history and literary criticism, but Schorske develops them with uncommon skill.
German Studies Review
Required Publisher's Statement
Article DOI: 10.2307/1429289
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1429289
Ritter, Harry, "Fin-de-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture – Book Review" (1981). History Faculty and Staff Publications. 29.
Subjects - Names (LCNAF)
Schorske, Carl E.. Fin-de-siècle Vienna; Klimt, Gustav, 1862-1918; Kokoschka, Oskar, 1886-1980
Vienna (Austria)--Intellectual life--19th century; Austria--Politics and government--1867-1918