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Late 19th Century Austria

 
 
Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 10:00 am
Any suggestions of books or memoirs that might help me learn what day to day life was like for non-aristocratic people in Graz and Vienna during the second half of the 19th century (1850-1900)? History books are fine, so are memoirs. I'm trying to write a screenplay about a person living in that time period and I don't feel completely comfortable with my knowledge of the period.
 
joefromchicago
 
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Reply Fri 18 May, 2012 10:10 am
@jdickstein,
There's Frederic Morton's books Thunder at Twilight and A Nervous Splendor. Those deal mostly with the upper classes, though. Likewise, Carl Schorske's Fin de Siecle Vienna is mostly cultural history, mainly dealing with art, architecture, and politics, although there are some insights that might be helpful to you.

You might want to take a look at Brigitte Hamann's Hitler's Vienna, which can give you a sense of what life was like for a lower class drifter in Vienna in the first years of the twentieth century. I haven't read it, but I've heard good things about it. You could also look at John Lukacs's Budapest 1900, which isn't, of course, about Vienna or Graz, but which can give you an idea of what everyday life was like at the turn of the twentieth century in the Habsburg Empire.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
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Reply Sat 19 May, 2012 07:08 am
@jdickstein,
If you read German, you could try to get your hands on works by Alfons Petzold, an early-20th-century Austrian labor-writer. Among his works, his autobiographical novel Das rauhe Leben ("The rough life") probably comes the closest to what you want.
joefromchicago
 
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Reply Sat 19 May, 2012 08:18 am
@Thomas,
Fiction would be a good place to start, but I'm not familiar with any late-nineteenth-century Austrian fiction that deals with the middle- or lower-classes. Roth's Radetzky March is about the lower nobility and the army, and Musil's Man Without Qualities is about the upper classes and the bureaucracy. Drama might be an alternative, but again Austrian dramatists like Schnitzler and Hofmannsthal were mainly focused on the bourgeoisie and the upper classes. The naturalists and realists were all in Germany. Gerhart Hauptmann's The Weavers describes conditions among the lower classes. Something like that might be useful, as I doubt that the German working class was significantly different from the Austrian working class.
Thomas
 
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Reply Sat 19 May, 2012 08:22 am
@joefromchicago,
I agree, on all counts. Oskar Maria Graf's Leben meiner Mutter would add a realistic perspective on country life (in Bavaria). Amazon says it's available in English (used, at collector prices), so perhaps you can get it in a library.
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jdickstein
 
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Reply Sun 20 May, 2012 05:09 pm
@jdickstein,
Thanks for the help everyone
0 Replies
 
 

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