en1/1 | The Institute

The Institute was founded by the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft in 2005 in cooperation with the University of Vienna, the Austrian National Library, the Jewish Museum Vienna and the Thomas Bernhard Privatstiftung. Four years later, two further partners joined the consortium – the German Literature Archive in Marbach and the Frankfurter Goethe-Haus / Freies Deutsches Hochstift.  Following a successful evaluation procedure, the Institute adopted new research strands in 2012 in cooperation with the University of Vienna, the Austrian National Library, the Wienbibliothek (Vienna City Library), and Bixa TechnoConsulting. In 2015, the Department of German and Dutch at the University of Cambridge became a further member of the consortium.

With a broad research programme connecting archival research with historiography, literary studies and the digital humanities, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography is committed to furthering the dynamic interdisciplinary field of life-writing.

Comprising an international team of researchers, the Institute conducts fundamental research into the theory of biography, reflects critically on the historical conditions of life-writing, and develops scholarly biographical projects. Previous work at the Institute has looked at the life and work of key figures of Austrian Modernism: Leopold von Andrian, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Eugenie Schwarzwald, Thomas Bernhard and Ernst Jandl.

A focus on Austrian Modernism has been maintained with a forthcoming exhibtion on the Young Vienna circle and a scholarly biography of Arthur Schnitzler. Further biographical projects have been established on Karl Kraus, Mira Lobe, Arthur Koestler and Oskar Pastior. The development of virtual biographies aims to make a significant contribution to the digital humanities.

The results of the Institute’s work are communicated to the public via an ongoing series of publications, symposia and exhibitions, and presented to students at universities in Austria and abroad through numerous lectures and seminars. In 2012, an annual Ludwig Boltzmann Lecture at the University of Cambridge was established.



Mirror and Mask: Constructions of Biographical Truth
Inside Stories: Film and Biography
The Many Lives of Biography: Biography as Paradigm of Cultural Studies
Biography and Religion
IABA Europe Conference 2013: Beyond the Subject - New Developments in Life Writing
Hungary 1919. The Allure of Communism
Tradition in Viennese Modernism (15.-16.12. 2014)


Thomas Bernhard (2009, Austrian Theatre Museum)
Ernst Jandl (2010, Wien Museum)
Mira Lobe (2014/2015, Wien Museum)


Ludwig Boltzmann Institute
for the History and Theory of Biography

Porzellangasse 4/1/17
1090 Vienna

Tel.: +43-1-4277 43099
Email: office@gtb.lbg.ac.at

Neu/ New: Symposium Der „neue Mensch“ und das politische Imaginäre in Mitteleuropa 1918/1919

Universität Wien, Campus AKH, Alte Aula

Die interdisziplinäre Tagung soll den „neuen Menschen“ als zentrales Motiv eines auf die historischen Ereignisse reagierenden, sich in Form von wissenschaftlicher Theoriebildung, gesellschaftstechnischen Entwürfen, literarischen Figurationen, politischen Experimenten u.a. manifestierenden Imaginationsprozesses untersuchen.