en4 | Research Strands
Biography as life that has been lived seems immediately accessible to personal experience; in fact, nothing seems so familiar, so self-evident, as the course of one’s own life. And yet, is it not like the phenomenon of time, of which St. Augustine writes in his Confessions: ‘If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not’? Read more
"Karl Kraus Online" is designed for people encountering Karl Kraus and his world for the first time, as well as for researchers who have specific questions about the material and the associated data. Read more
Biography and Cultural History - Viennese Modernism
‘Friends? We aren’t really friends – we just don’t make each other nervous.’ These words are attributed to the writer and dandy Richard Beer-Hofmann when talking about ‘Junges Wien’ (‘Young Vienna’), a group of writers who through their diverse activities had a decisive influence on the culture and aesthetics of Viennese Modernism. Read more
Schnitzler’s papers were saved from likely confiscation and destruction in Vienna in 1938 and brought to Cambridge, where the larger part of them is now held in the University Library (with other holdings in the DLA at Marbach and elsewhere). The archive includes earlier versions of many published works, as well as letters and other forms of life writing. The aim of this project is to provide a new account of the life’s work of this leading Modernist writer, as embedded in the cultural and intellectual historical context of the times in which he lived. It is intended that the project will take into account the discoveries that are emerging from the archive through the edition work.
The project Oskar Pastior – ‘The distinctive is good’. Components of a Biography, supported by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) will outline and develop the core components of Oskar Pastior’s biography, focusing on the complex relationship between his life and work, as well as his public reception. Oskar Pastior (1927-2006) is one of the most significant German-language poets of the twentieth century and received the Büchner Prize in 2006. The influence of Dadaist puns, Romanian Surrealism and the German literary tradition are drawn together in unique synthesis in his experimental poems. Read more
Ernst Jandl Online is conceived as a “Biblio-Biography” and is an approach that seeks to make a life visible without a narrative. The website contains the life history not of an author, but of his works.
The biographies of writers, academics and other public intellectuals are useful sources in understanding how cultural achievement is evaluated, narrated and instrumentalized. Reading about a person’s engagement with an important issue may also further public understanding of history, politics or culture. A life that offers plenty of room for reflection on these issues, and others, is that of Arthur Koestler (1905-1983). His life, as Danilo Kiš wrote, ‘contains the potential biography of every Central European intellectual – in its radical realization’. Read more
Mira Lobe (1913-1995), born Hilde Mirjam Rosenthal, was one of the most important German-language authors of children’s and young people’s literature of the twentieth century. Her works include enduring classics such as ‘The Grandma in the Apple Tree’ (1965), ‘I Am Me’ (1972), ‘The Robber Bride’ (1974), ‘Come, Said The Cat’ (1975), and ‘Valerie and the Good-Night Swing’ (1981). Her position among writers of children’s and young people’s literature was exceptional. She was a champion and role model for many, being seen as the doyenne of the genre in Austria. Read more
On 11 June 1965, a spectacular group reading in London’s Royal Albert Hall became a landmark event. Ernst Jandl, who until then was largely unknown, provoked ‘a pandemonious riot’ with a reading of his sound poems in front of an audience of 7,000. Today the performance artist Jandl counts as one of the best-known German-language poets after 1945. His poems reached, and continue to reach, far more than the proverbial 1,500 potential poetry consumers. Read more
The foundation of the Thomas Bernhard Archive in 2001, which made Bernhard’s literary estate available for academic analysis, provided the basis for the twenty-two volume critical edition by Suhrkamp Verlag, as well as for a thorough biographical portrait of the author. A considerable number of papers at the Bernhard archive in the Villa Stonborough-Wittgenstein in Gmunden, including typescripts of drafts and final versions of Bernhard’s works, as well as a large number of private documents, have now been made available for research. Read more
‘I have been approached by several people with regard to the writing of my biography. A very curious request … An inability to grasp the purely spiritual adventure’, notes Hugo von Hofmannsthal in November 1926, giving rise to the thought: ‘Whoever writes a biography makes himself equal to the subject’. Read more
Eugenie Schwarzwald, Frau Dr. Schwarzwald, Frau Doktor, Genia Schwarzwald, Genia, Genka. Born Eugenie Nussbaum on 4 July 1872 in a village in East Galicia, Schwarzwald made more than one name for herself as a reform pedagogue, journalist, social worker, and patron of the arts. To her friends and contemporaries she was Genia, a female genius, to her husband, Genka (a Slavonic diminutive), for many generations of pupils and protégés ‘Frau Doktor’ or simply ‘Fr. Dr.’. Read more
The literary estate of Leopold von Andrian (1875-1951) is frequently consulted, largely owing to Andrian’s connections to famous writers, especially Hugo von Hofmannsthal. The estate is, however, not merely literary, but also historical-political, documenting Andrian’s diplomatic career with numerous notes and papers regarding his activities in Athens, Rio de Janeiro, St. Petersburg, and Warsaw. Read more