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Diaries, 1898-1902 Paperback – Bargain Price, June, 2000

ISBN-10: 0801486645

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 494 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (June 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801486645
  • ASIN: B005Q8B16S
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,423,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Alma Mahler was born in Vienna in 1879. As the daughter of the landscape painter Emile Schindler, she was afforded easy entrance into the cultural life of the city; it seems that by the time these diaries open there was no part of the artistic, musical, literary, and theatrical life in fin-de-siècle Vienna with which Alma was not intimately connected. Before marrying the composer Gustav Mahler in 1902, Alma had already been a pupil and lover of Zemlinsky, Klimt, and Burckhard. (And after Mahler died she married Walter Gropius, had an affair with Oskar Kokoschka, and then married Franz Werfel.) In combining the naiveté of a teenager on the cusp of womanhood with a wonderfully frank account of a remarkable time and place, Alma has left a priceless and unique record of personal and artistic history. The editor and translator Antony Beaumont rightly comments that reading the diaries is like "raising a curtain, behind which stands the Vienna of 1900 in all its majesty. So close that you can almost reach out and touch it". --Nick Wroe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Alma Schindler is 18, beautiful, musically talented and besieged by beaus from the cultural elite of Vienna as her surviving diary opens. When it closes, she is 21 and about to marry composer Gustav Mahler, who is twice her age. In between, she falls in and out of love with painter Gustav Klimt. Although the editors' claim that the diary makes fin de siecle Vienna vivid isn't entirely justified, it is also beside the point: the main attraction here is Alma herself. In these four turn-of-the-century years, Alma grows less and less innocent of what men want from her. Increasingly she becomes what she calls a flirt but, judging from her diary, might better be described as a tease, until?on the last pages?she succumbs to the passions she has excited. The entries, which were edited from 22 original exercise books when the author, in her early 80s, determined to improve them, include her reactions to Viennese musical life and the intense Wagner worship that reigned. Also inescapable is Vienna's vicious anti-Semitism, which Alma shares despite her attraction to Jewish men. Her diary is largely a thermometer measuring the rising emotional temperature of a shrewd and coquettish young woman. Alma was never far from the center of 20th-century culture: after Mahler (and the period covered in this diary), she would go on to marry and be widowed by architect Walter Gropius and novelist Franz Werfel. Some attempts at slang in Beaumont's translation grate ("gob" for "mouth," "tore me off a strip" for "disparage"). So well does he capture Alma's youthful impetuousness and celebrated entanglements, however, that the book will find a wide audience. Eighteen photos were not seen by PW, but Alma's drawings in the text, especially of herself, are revealing.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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It is also very reminiscent of the stream of consciousness dialogue style presented in some of Schnitzler's stories.
And how did it happen that she married Mahler so quickly? "Please God, give me some great mission, give me something great to do!"
rassenna ic
Her time with Gustav Mahler is fascinating and sheds an interesting light into his character and fears at this time.
Dr. Jean-marc Alter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Plumb on September 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a long-term diary writer myself I was interested in Mahler-Werfel's diary and the manner in which the voice of the nineteen-year old woman is expressed (and the next two years of her life). Often when I reread my own writings I cringe at my ideas and philosophies when I was young and it takes some time for me to empathise with myself and regain a feeling for the person I was. One of the great features of these diaries is that they truly express the voice of the nineteen-year old, they have not been edited to provide a more sophisticated voice. Perhaps Mahler-Werfel cringed a bit at herself in the way I do, perhaps that is why she never published these diaries during her lifetime, although we do know she gave it some consideration. But I think it is important that we heed the voice expressed in youthful writings because it reassociates us with the people we once were, and hopefully gives us greater empathy with the youth of today.
The most challenging aspect of these diaries is Mahler-Werfel's revelations of her growing sexual awareness with its contradictions, rapid changes of view, hesitancies, self criticism, and intemperate admissions. This is emotional and at times erotic writing. While we can allow Mahler-Werfel the licence to say what she wants about herself, it is less readily acceptable that she describes the behaviour of her partners - some of them quite historic figures. But this is the voice of youth going through very tumultuous personal times. Most people move through these times with varying degrees of ease and distress. Mahler-Werfel's writing reminded me of Wedekind's play `Springtime Awakening'. The awakening is not satisfactory for all - and is sometimes disastrous. For Mahler-Werfel we can only speculate.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr John Haueisen VINE VOICE on April 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Biographies can easily become subjective, as they rely upon the person telling the story. With diaries, we have almost a first-hand look at what the writer was thinking.

These diaries of Alma Mahler reveal the usual thoughts and feelings of a teenage girl and young woman. Alma desperately wishes to "be somebody," but she's not sure of how to achieve it. She spends years studying music, and practicing composition, but her works are simply fair or good, but not remarkable.

Then, she finds out what she's really outstanding at: attracting brilliant artists from all fields. This includes men such as Gustav Mahler, the composer, Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus architect, Franz Werfel, the novelist, Alexander von Zemlinsky, the composer, Gustav Klimt, the painter, Oskar Kokoschka, another painter, and many others.

Although her own art never achieved for her the fame she would have liked, perhaps she inspired all these other greats to go beyond what might have been their own limitations. There is a tendency, as you will see from photographs of Alma, to believe that men were attracted to her because of her spectacular beauty. But as you will see from these diaries, her personality must have also played a large role. She is coquettish, yet honest, and vacillates between between overestimating her successes, yet feeling humble about how much more she wishes she could be.

But what I believe you will find the best feature of this book, is seeing geniuses like Gustav Mahler and Walter Gropius, through the eyes of a young woman, who saw them up-close, as real, live men. It's like traveling back in time, for a close-up, personal look at these famous artists.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By rassenna ic on May 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
Alma Schindler - the goddess, the muse, the center of attention ... How did she manage that? How did she become an obsession of so many genial men, a thing of admiration of the Secessionist Vienna? But simply - she was a remarkable woman. And also, happened to be pretty and at the right place at the right time, born into an artistic family. It was said that she had a hearing defect. She would move closer to her companion in order to hear better. Men found that irresistible.
One would expect her to be vain and conceited. Through her diary, we entered her mind - she is none of that. At least, not more than any of us. She is an insecure girl. She has fears, doubts about herself, she loves passionately... Alas, her anti-Semitic feelings are shocking. At first, she is quite tolerant and objects anti-Semitic sentiments. Then she changes. One can only find the reason in propaganda being already pretty aggressive. She lives among Jewish families, loves Jewish men and marries two of them. Why then? And how did it happen that she married Mahler so quickly?
"Please God, give me some great mission, give me something great to do!" She could have been quite a good artist. Her drawings show certain talent that could have been developed into something much more. She could have taken drawing classes and maybe, her mission would have been even greater. But she pursued music even though it
seemed that she lacked the talent - not one of her opera impressions on the notepaper correspond to the real score. She never composed a great opera she dreamed of. But she left her mark in the history of arts and love.
This book is a great document. The correspondence between the authors just adds to the value. I only wish there were more photos of Alma as well as letters that she received.
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