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The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938
Part One of this book shows how bureaucracy sustained the Habsburg Empire while inciting economists, legal theorists, and socialists to urge reform. Part Two examines how Vienna's coffeehouses, theaters, and concert halls stimulated creativity together with complacency. Part Three explores the fin-de-siecle world view known as Viennese Impressionism. Interacting with posit ...more
Published March 23rd 1983 by University of California Press
(first published January 1st 1972)
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Johnston makes a concerted effort to leave absolutely no stone unturned. He begins with a brief adumbration of the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, emphasizing its frivolity, decadence, and rampant materialism, especially among the nobility. The kind of bureaucracy that we associate with the writings of Karl Kraus and Kafka were only too real for Austrians, a mixture of both uniformity and indolence, or as Johnston says, “absolutism mitigated by Schlamperei.” He includes sections on both ...more
May 12, 2008 lisa_emily rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fin de siecle viennaphiles
Very dense essay-like chapters on various aspects of Viennese life at the turn of the century. Pretty smooth read considering its heft, covers the political, intellectual, economic and cultural mileu.
Feb 16, 2016 Miles Fowler is currently reading it
Just started this book, reading the chapter on economics and a little of the one about law. With such breadth of subject, from monarchism to philosophy and art and from Vienna to Prague and Budapest, Johnston cannot help being a little bit shallow; still, this is a must for someone trying to get a grasp of nineteenth and early twentieth century thinking on (indeed, smack in the middle of) the European continent.
"So hat Johnston 35 Essays aus der Feder von 25 bedeutender aber teilweise auch vergessener Essayisten zwischen 1910 und 1967 zusammengestellt, um den Beginn der österreichischen Identitätssuche abzubilden. Unter diesen Essayisten finden sich auch große Namen wie Robert Musil, Franz Werfel, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hermann Bahr, Hans Prager, Hugo von Hofmannsthal oder auch Friedrich Heer, von denen Johnston teils in Vergessenheit geratene Texte für seine Studie herangezogen hat."
Im Schlußwort gibt de ...more
Im Schlußwort gibt de ...more
May 25, 2014 Lauren Albert rated it liked it
This book was a serious struggle for me and I did end up skimming a lot. Like John says in his review (below) there is no overarching theme holding the book together and Johnston gives brief expositions of different thinkers which assumes a lot of prior knowledge. There is also very little social history. The index is poor with (as many books seem to have) a focus on mostly proper names which makes it difficult for the reader to look up general concepts that were (maybe?) introduced and defined ...more