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Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture Paperback – December 12, 1980


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Book ed edition (December 12, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394744780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394744780
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Not only is it a splendid exploration of several aspects of early modernism in their political context; it is an indicator of how the discipline of intellectual history is currently practiced by its most able and ambitious craftsmen." --David A. Hollinger

From the Publisher

"Not only is it a splendid exploration of several aspects of early modernism in their political context; it is an indicator of how the discipline of intellectual history is currently practiced by its most able and ambitious craftsmen." --David A. Hollinger

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Customer Reviews

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If they really had been liberals, their power might have decayed even sooner, but that is another issue.
Harry Eagar
The Hapsburg empire that had tied together a great variety of national and ethnic groupings for centuries was becoming unglued.
exurbanite
It is very detailed, but readable, and comes with great pictures and diagrams that illustrate what the author is describing.
Brian B Schellenberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
Carl E. Schorske has aptly chosen Vienna to explore the development of the birth of modernism. At the turn of the century, Vienna, with its wide lane Ringstrasse and intellectual attracting cafés was a stage; and it is only fitting that people strode across this stage with a sense of purpose and graduer which influences much of what we think of as "modern" whether it be art, music or thought. From Schnitzler to Freud to Klimt, Schorske shows how the stage like facade of Vienna was built during an era of decay; an era where the empire found itself on the brink of destruction and the industrial revolution had cleanly severed peoples' ties to traditions which had given life meaning. And the loam of decay, a well-spring of desperation, caused the great thinkers of Vienna to search for something to hold onto as one century slipped into the next. Schorke, with a clean prose style, captures the search for meaning across a number of intellectual and cultural movements in Vienna. The history of Vienna at the turn of the century reads like the history of modern thought and Schorske does a remarkable job of convincing his readers that, truly, the desperation felt at the end of the Hapsburg empire was not merely an Austrian phenomena, but a cultural wave which swept across the world and which, on stage, in psychology and in art, still carries in its wake the most contemporary of ideas.

To learn more about fin-de-sicle Vienna, try Arthur Schnitler's "The Road into the Open." Frederic Morton's, "A Nervous Splendor" and Hilde Spiel's, "Vienna's Golden autumn."
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is simply a phenomenal book. Schorske jumpstarted an interest in fin-de-siecle Vienna in the 1960's and opened the door for a plethora of scholars to build upon his work. Schorske's ideas are nothing short of brilliant and profound.
Granted, this is a tough read. The language is difficult, often verbiose. But never unnecessarily so. The subject matter is intrinsically complex and Schorske's diction only mirrors that.
One need not be a specialist to read this, though perhaps a good level of intelligence and fortitude to make it through some very complex ideas. It is a book to be read and re-read, at various intervals in life, particularly after a visit to Vienna where Schorske's words really come to life.
I lived in Vienna for two years, and in fact wrote my Masters thesis on the Viennese identity crisis at the fin-de-siecle. Schorske's book is one I can always go back to and still get something out of. It is ever-challenging and ever-fascinating.
If you are interested in a particular spin to traditional theories on Viennese modernity, read Jacques LeRider's "Modernity and Identity Crisis," whose thesis is that turn-of-the-century Vienna forshadowed postmodernism. LeRider takes Schorske up several notches, and therefore the two books are good to read one after another.
This book in not for everyone, but at the same time I feel it does not exclude either. If you've come across this review with no particular interest in Viennese modernity or intellectual history, I urge you to try this book anyway. It is rich enough to enrapture even the mildly curious mind.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By David Kim on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading Schorske is like riding a time machine to Vienna around the tumultuous late 1800s to 1900. He covers an electic array of topics. However, he has a central focus: to show the radical changes and interconnection between arts & politics at the turn of the century vienna (fin de siecle). But, be warned, Schorske is an intellectual historian, and though his exposition is easy to read, his themes are academic and copiously detailed.

Schorske first lays out the setting of a growing city. He describes the monumental architectural project of the Ringstrasse (the Ring Street around central Vienna) and the rising liberalism and shifting wealth this represented.

The more interesting, and key, episode of the book involves the reactions to this change in Austria, in the form of new politics, anti-semitism, Zionism, and of the ramifications in Arts, Sciences and Music. Specifically, Schorske writes about transformations of viennese politicians, medical doctor Sigmund Freud, artist Gustav Klimt, and musician Arnold Shoenberg. The "vignettes" of these figures are academic and marvelously entertaining. What's surprising is how closely these key figures in 20th century intellectual development were connected; Vienna was a small city, after all. As I said, you'll feel like you're walking through the bustling streets of Vienna, and spotting Freud or Mahler (though Schoerske doesn't cover Mahler) on a leisurely stroll.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nathanael Lynn on March 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Carl Schorske's ambitious attempt and describing the social and political situation at the end of the 19th centrury in Vienna is a must for any person interested in the rise of modernity. Schorscke succeedes in looking at the situation in Vienna from an insiders view. He dives into the culture and politics of the emerging city and closely examins all the factors and people that led to the rise of Vienna as the capital of Europe in the end of the 19th century. His chapter on Gustav Klimt is outstanding and deeply shows how he was an artist who symbolized the Viennese people and the modernity movement. For furthur reading I suggest "All That Is Solid Melts Into Air" by Marshall Berman.
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