Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “1913: The Year Before the Storm” as Want to Read:
1913: The Year Before the Storm
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

1913: The Year Before the Storm

by
3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,019 ratings  ·  203 reviews
A witty yet moving narrative worked up from sketched documentary traces and biographical fragments, 1913 is an intimate cultural portrait of a world that is about to change forever.
The stuffy conventions of the nineteenth century are receding into the past, and 1913 heralds a new age of unlimited possibility. Kafka falls in love; Louis Armstrong learns to play the trumpet;
...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Melville House (first published 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about 1913, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about 1913

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,244)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kalliope




This is a book to be read in 2013, as a Centennial celebration of that year during which the arts lived in great excitement before they boiled over. There is still time to celebrate the succession of events, episode and snippets that peppered that year of aesthetic fertility.

Illies has traced the activities of the players month by month jumping from anecdote to anecdotes occurring at about the same time. Reading this book therefore reads like a Merry-Go-Round in which colourful figures turn in f
...more
·Karen·
1913: Thomas Mann's drama Fiorenza is a debâcle, to his eternal chagrin; Kafka's marriage proposal to Felice is a debâcle, to his eternal relief; Hugo von Hofmannsthal sees nothing but debâcle in Austrian high aristocracy, total cultural bankruptcy and Vienna at the mercy of the rabble; and Rilke has toothache.

'Die Brücke' is full of tension, but holds until May, Matisse and Picasso admire each other's work and Hitler paints chocolate box water colours of famous tourist sights in Vienna and Müni
...more
Bennet
Such an endearingly irreverent yet empathic account, and what a year! I just love this book and hope you do too. The following random excerpts should give you the gist.

(February) And so the capital of the modern age anno 1913 is Vienna. Its star players are Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schnitzler, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Adolf Loos, Karl Kraus, Otto Wagner, Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Georg Trakl, Arnold Schonberg, and Oskar Kokoschka, to name but a few. Here the battles raged: ab
...more
Quappe
Ein-Satz-Review

Beschränkter Horizont (viel Berlin, Wien, ein Happen Paris und zwei Sätze Amerika - ausserdem nur Kunst mit einem Löffelchen Politik), klischierte Künstlervorstellung (Trakl, ach, schreibt sich zu Tode, Thomas Mann, deutscher Bourgeois, feiert seinen Erfolg), kumpelhaft-augenzwinkender Erzählstil und ranzige Rückgriffe auf sexuelle Besonderheiten (Kokoschka, Trakl, C.G.Jung), dies alles kann der Missgünstige bemäkeln, aber Hand aufs Herz: Wäre Geschichtsunterricht je so unterhalts
...more
Hans-Peter Merz
Eine Fleißarbeit? Oder doch eine beeindruckende Gesamtschau eines Jahres, das von großer Bedeutung für die europäische Geistesgeschichte ist? Illies hat auf jeden Fall eine Menge an Material zusammengetragen, das er witzig, sarkastisch oder auch manchmal mit einem sardonischen Lächeln präsentiert.

Was bekommen wir auf rund 300 Seiten angeboten? Eine nach Kalendermonaten gegliederte Aufstellung der Reisen, Handlungen, Nervenzusammenbrüche, Liebschaften, Trennungen und Produktionen der Großen der M
...more
Ian
This is a portrait of The World in 1913, the world in this context being writers, artists and intellectual figures in Europe. The book was written by a German guy so it is a bit more centred on Vienna, Munich and Berlin than elsewhere, though I think that is where the action was back then anyway (with some stuff also going on in Paris etc.). In some ways there is a certain comic nostalgia to this, as we follow all these people going about their work, their feuds, their love affairs and their neu ...more
Laura
Jul 27, 2013 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bettie, Carey, Gundula
Recommended to Laura by: Themis-Athena
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Florian Illies's impressionistic portrait of a society that is about to change forever.


Jim
I started this book on the last day of 2013; it turned out to be a great way to end the year. This book was originally published in German, so it's no great surprise that most of its figures are from Berlin, Vienna and Prague. Some will be familiar to English readers (Kafka, Mann, Picasso); others like Oskar Kokoschka, "the ugliest man in Vienna," less so.

In one respect, this book is a merry survey of the birth of modernism; in another it's all foreshadowing – the horrors of 1914 are right aroun
...more
Katrin
Die Idee ist gut, die Zeit um 1913 interessiert mich sowieso sehr, der Autor ist nett ... aber trotzdem hat mich das Buch enttäuscht. Erstens, weil es nicht so originell ist, wie ich dachte. Er hat halt akribisch alles rausgesucht, was in dem Jahr passierte, und es in kleinen Anekdoten hintereinander geschrieben, vieles als immer wiederkehrender Running Gag: die verschwundene Mona Lisa, Alma Mahler und ihre Beziehungen, der junge Hitler, etc. Das ist ganz schön, und er hat auch manchmal witzige ...more
Diane S.
3.5 Quite a clever construct, using short narratives or biographical information. the author pieces together the world using notable personages as a guide to the world in the year before the Great War was fought.

So many interesting tidbits, including the Lutz, the skater jump, this was apparently the year that this was first performed by a man named Lutz of course. A young Hitler recently rejected from art school, Stalin, Lenin, the theft of the Mona Lisa. Getrude Stein, Picasso, who had to prov
...more
Tamara
This was fun. I don't know if it adds up to anything much, but it is fun. The weaving together of little details and anecdotes of the lives of artists (and Stalin) scattered across central Europe, month by month, adds up to something that feels almost novelistic itself. Wry, semi-sympathetic, semi-condescending, and not very pretentious, I think it does manage to give something of a sense of the place, at least for this particular class of people. Better than the other 1913, though not as good a ...more
Peter
14.08.2014 Ich wollte nur die erste Seite lesen und jetzt bin ich auf Seite 41....
27.08.2014 Sehr amüsantes Buch und eine unglaubliche Aufgabe für den Autor. Nicht so sehr die Informationen, Geschichterln usw. die sich im Buch finden,sondern die Streichungen wären interessant. Ein Vielfaches musste Illies weglassen - und das war sicher das Schwierigste beim Schreiben des Buches. Die Frage was fällt weg - furchtbar für den Autor. Der Ton ist amüsant es wird nie langweilig im Gegenteil. Das Buch m
...more
Will
Imagine a monthly magazine devoted to, not the vapid celebs of Hollywood, but the best-known artists and writers of Europe (plus a few from England, various intellectuals and scientists, and some hangers-on). Every month you’d dive into the details, and emerge knowing everything that was worth knowing. And you’d be further elevated by the knowledge that it wasn’t even gossip, because the author had access to their actual diaries and letters.

So this is 1913; it’s fluff of course, but entertaining
...more
Becky
An interesting look at 1913, seen month by month and pretty much day by day through minor events in the lives of some of the greatest names of the age. Basically we hear about social inconveniences such as trouble at one of Gertrude Stein's dinner parties, or issues Kafka was having at home. This is an unusual way of presenting a history and did add to my understanding of the cultural life of 1913. The book is heavily tilted towards the German speaking world with the majority of the entries comi ...more
Matthias
Klischeevorstellungen von damaligen Künstlerexistenzen (ach! diese armen Künstler, man muss sie ja irgendwie behüten, diese possierlichen Wesen, seufz seufz laberfasel), absolut eurozentrisches Weltbild (Österreich schien nur aus Wien zu bestehen, Deutschland nur aus Berlin, Frankreich nur aus Paris, andere Teile Europas oder gar der Welt Fehlanzeige). Kaum politische Fakten, anekdotische Versatzstücke zu Kunstwerken, die einem wenig bringen außer ein bisschen Unterhaltung, keine Hintergründe. E ...more
Sally
Man sollte Vorsicht walten lassen, wenn Feuilletonisten das Buch eines der ihren so über den grünen Klee loben. „Brilliant“… und was las man da nicht alles… Das Buch verpackt Geschichte in überschaubare Häppchen, ist mit Fleiß recherchiert und geschrieben in nettem Plauderstil. Zweifellos gut lesbar und anfangs kurzweilig, aber man ermüdet doch angesichts des nicht enden wollenden Stroms an oberflächlichen Anekdötchen und Geschichtchen, die sich nicht wirklich zu einem tieferen Bild verbinden, w ...more
Kay Sachse
Ein Jahr vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg passiert die (deutsche) Kulturszene noch einmal Revue und präsentiert sich in all ihrer Vielfältigkeit, in ihren Gegensätzen und Widersprüchen. Ob große Künstler wie Thomas Mann oder kleine Lichter wie Marika Rökk, sie finden in ihrem Sein und Werden, in ihren persönlichen Befindlichkeiten einen Platz in diesem faszinierenden Panoptikum dieses Vorabends der ersten großen Katastrophe des 20. Jahrhunderts. Ein anregender Bogen, der viele Leser verdient und zum Auf ...more
Guido
Zo start ‘1913’. ‘Januari. Dit is de maand waarin Hitler en Stalin elkaar tijdens een wandeling in het Schlosspark van Schönbrunn ontmoeten, Thomas Mann bijna als homo ontmaskerd en Franz Kafka bijna gek van liefde wordt. Er kruipt een kat bij Sigmund Freud op de sofa. Het is erg koud, de sneeuw knerpt onder je schoenen. Else Lasker-Schüler zit aan de grond, wordt verliefd op Gottfried Benn, ontvangt een paardenbriefkaart van Franz Marc, maar noemt Gabriele Münter een niksnut. Ernst Ludwig Kirch ...more
Keith
Four days from now, as I write this, the one hundredth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife will be observed. That shooting in Sarajevo, an act of terrorism that truly changed the world, erupted, for reasons still being debated, into a general European war. The publishing industry has, unsurprisingly, released a large number of new histories of the war. Many of these are military histories canvassing the tactics and strategy, or lack of, that determined the h ...more
Joanna
Jak to się czyta! Kupiłam na plażę, przeczytałam jeszcze w pociągu. Ta książka to opis fermentu myślowo-towarzyskiego w rok przed końcem świata, gdy kultura święciła swój złoty wiek - miesiąc po miesiącu. Katar Rilkego miesza się z zerwaniem Freuda z Jungiem, których wiązała "jedynie cienka nić dawniej przeżytych rozczarowań", Matisse "wśród amerykańskiej publiczności uchodzi za największego prymitywa, co zwykle jest najlepszym dowodem jakości na długie lata", Strawiński powoduje bójki w filharm ...more
Nene La Beet
Jeg elskede denne bog. Og det på trods af at jeg måtte Google en stor del af de forfattere, malere og politiske personligheder, der omtales i den. Men hvor konstant uvidenhedsgoogling ellers kan føles irriterende eller endda ydmygende, så følte jeg her, at jeg blev klogere og klogere og fik større og større indsigt i en (for mig) forsømt kultur - den tyske. Jeg er fx helt høj over at have mødt en håndfuld tyske expressionistiske malere, som jeg aldrig havde hørt om og over at have lært en masse ...more
Ted
highly recommended by Michael Dirda, Washington Post 11/21/13
Will
On November 20, Kafka went to the cinema and wept.
Val
1913 was an exciting year for anyone interested in art, poetry, literature, architecture, music, ballet, theatre, film, photography, philosophy or psychoanalysis. Florian Illies is interested in all of them, and in who amongst the various artists, poets, authors, etc. was having sex with whom. Many of his artistic luminaries were neurasthenic hypochondriacs and he tends to poke fun at them.
He has an engaging writing style and he makes his subject appealing. His own preferences and opinions show
...more
George Matysek
You can't ask for a more dynamic opening two paragraphs than what Florian Illies provides in "1913: The Year before the Storm."

In the first second of 1913, Illies writes, a gunshot rings out through the dark night. Police arrest a 12-year-old reveler named Louis Armstrong who "had wanted to see in the New Year in New Orleans with a stolen revolver." The gunman is sent to the Colored Waifs' Home for Boys, where his unruly behavior continues.

Out of desperation, the institution's director hands the
...more
Marti
You have to be a serious expert on the history of early 20th Century German art and literature to really appreciate this. To really be effective it should contain more reproductions of paintings etc. (although the good thing about Google is you can find most of it online). In fact I was Googling quite often which is why I did not give this four stars. I was kind of fascinated although I felt like I was at a party where everyone was in on all the jokes and gossip except me (a lot histrionics and ...more
Tayla
The concept behind this book is great. Take a year, assemble random snippets of history that are mostly loosely connected by group of people (largely artists of some form or another) and create an engaging if disjointed narrative.
It's flaw, if it is one, is the same as its strength: brevity. While engaging the entries offer little or no context (which is the point, I know), but for readers without a strong or even rudimentary knowledge of German history it's tough to be engaged with the figures
...more
Zuzana
Zase jedna knížka, která mi dokázala, jak jsem nevzdělaná. Ale přesto se mi velmi líbila a i moje částečné znalosti stačily k tomu, abych si ji užila. První půlka byla na 5 hvězdiček a hýřila jsem nadšením. V druhé půlce se mi zdálo, že autor trochu ztratil dech a už to nebyla taková jízda. (Může to být ale tím, že tam bylo víc informací, které jsem nezvládla pobrat. Nevím.)
Bez ohledu na to, kolik jsem dala hvězdiček, tuto knížku doporučuji všem, které toto období (malíři, hudba, spisovatelé, ar
...more
Florian Ebeling
Dieses Buch handelt davon was die modernen Maler und Dichter im Jahr 1913 gemacht haben. Das ist interessant weil vieles davon immer noch modern erscheint, nur dass es geschah in einer Zeit als Kaiser regierten. Andererseits ist es schwer einzuordnen in welchem Masse sie für ihre Zeit standen. Die Akteure die immer wieder erscheinen, Thomas und Heinrich Mann, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Picasso, Oskar Kokoschka, Else-Lasker Schüler, Gottfried Benn, George Trakt, Siegmund Freud, usw. scheinen in ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 74 75 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914
  • The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
  • 1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War
  • The Red Prince
  • The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War
  • Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
  • In Times of Fading Light: A Novel
  • Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880-1918
  • Perilous Question: Reform or Revolution? Britain on the Brink, 1832
  • July 1914: Countdown to War
  • Dawn of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends
  • The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century
  • The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London's Golden Age
  • The War That Ended Peace: The Road To 1914
  • A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees
  • Imperium
  • Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War
  • Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age
Author Florian Illies has worked as culture editor for major German newspapers and magazines, and is a co-founder of "Monopol" a magazine for art, literature and lifestyle.
More about Florian Illies...
Generation Golf. Eine Inspektion Anleitung zum Unschuldigsein Generation Golf Zwei Ortsgespräch Kleines Deutsches Wörterbuch

Share This Book

“Het moet trouwens toch maar eens afgelopen zijn met de 'moderniteit' in dit jaar - dat is zo'n rekbaar begrip, door tijdgenoten en latere generaties telkens anders geïnterpreteerd en door iedere generatie steeds weer in een ander tijdsgewricht geplaatst, dat het eigenlijk helemaal niet geschikt is om de ontzaglijke niet-gelijktijdige gelijktijdigheid die het jaar 1913 vooral kenmerkt naar behoren te schetsen.” 1 likes
“Vroeg naar bed gaan - dat vonden de immer onuitgeslapen pioniers van de moderne kunst het moedigst denkbare gevecht tegen depressie, drank, zinloze verstrooiing en de voortstormdende tijd.” 1 likes
More quotes…