The Shadow of Austria’s Past


Austria’s history is rich in many ways, and literature has been a strong reflection of it since the beginning. The Wadlheim affair of the late 1980s shone a light on the Nazi past of the nation. A wave of artists and intellectuals rose to protest the fact that little had been said about Austria’s participation in the atrocious Second World War. This led new writers to pen their thoughts on the weight that their country’s history continued to affect their present.

The turn of the century brought a wave of literates confronting the issues that Austria had long forgotten. Gerhard Roth wrote Die Archives des Schweigns, where he highlights how the nation’s history has affected today’s social and political systems. Robert Schindel’s work highlights the importance of the Holocaust and its relationship with Vienna, a city that he considers often forgets.

 

London's Space For Austrian Literature

It would, therefore, be unfair to say that Austrian literature - even from long before the turn of the century - has not had a great impact on the German-language literature. In fact, it has had such great influence in modern literature that the Institute of Modern Language Research of the University of London is home to the Ingeborg Bachmann Center for Austrian Literature (IBC). Anyone interested in the works of Franz Kafka, Thomas Bernhard or Rainer Rilke, amongst others, can attend the numerous seminars, lectures and workshops that the Center offers.