Austria Literature After World War II
The postwar period
In the post-World War II climate, Austrian and German writers appear to be united by a painful and ungrateful problem, by ideological and aesthetic choices not linked to a precise geographical horizon (the philosopher L. Wittgenstein has a significant influence). The most valid lyrics move in contact with the most lively formalizing experiences in Europe: above all P. Celan, poet of the war tragedy, and I. Bachmann, poetess of existential concern. On a Kafkaesque trail, I. Aichinger sets her storytelling activity. In the name of experimentation, a symptom of an insecurity that is much more than just aesthetic-cultural, cenacles and groups are formed, among which the Wiener Gruppe stands out (F. Achleitner, HC Artmann, K. Bayer, G. Rühm, O. Wiener), formed in 1952 and operating until 1964.
From this and other avant-garde groups the most lively authors of the 1960s receive their first requests: Artmann, O. Wiener, E. Jandl, F. Mayröcker, and from similar experiences P. Handke, who managed to innovate in the field of both fiction and theater. Next to him, P. Turrini, H. Eisendle, B. Frischmuth, G. Jonke, P. Rosei, J. Winkler affirm themselves, in varying degrees linked to the province with well-differentiated outcomes, while in the lyric the melancholy vein is highlighted by Austria Kolleritsch, the meditative character of J. Schutting and the intimism of B. Schwaiger. In parallel, J. Ebner offers testimony of his brooding pessimism, H. Rosendorfer reconnects to the tradition of an extravagant and imaginative narrative and Austria Brandstetter expresses a humanism of solid roots. Champion of entertainment literature is JM Simmel, and meanwhile Ch. Ransmayr stands out for his dense realism. The most prestigious name is, however, that of T. Bernhard, who, tenacious to the point of stereotype in its geometry entirely devoted to the negative, manages, together with Handke, to shake up the Austrian theater, traditionalist and hostile to renewal. Even the new genre of radio drama, involving some of the most gifted authors such as Aichinger, Bachmann, the poet essayist R. Bayr, G. Fritsch, Mayröcker, the avant-garde writer G. Rühm, helps bring some innovation. For Austria 2005, please check ehealthfacts.org.
The end of the twentieth century
The 1980s are characterized by widespread pluralism. On the. and on its identity the writers continue to reflect in different forms and ways: Austria Kolleritsch, founder of the Graz Group, gives a summary of the history of Austrian culture, also analyzed by G. Roth. R. Schindel addresses the problem of Jewish identity and the relationship between Jews, Austrians and Germans after the Holocaust. However, G. Fritsch’s definition of an Austrian literature as a literature of “separate voices” still seems valid. This is confirmed by the heterogeneity of the Grazer Autorenversammlung (1973-83), an association in which members of the Wiener Gruppe (E. Jandl, F. Mayröcker, E. Gerstl), politically committed authors such as M. Scharang and the writers of Graz lived together, such as the aforementioned Handke, Kolleritsch and Roth, B. Frischmuth, W. Bauer, Jonke, Eisendle and I. Puganigg. While Bauer’s theater mixes grotesque comedy, provocation and raw realism, Eisendle uses techniques and systems of scientific investigation, experimenting with a hybrid genre, halfway between autobiography and reflection on its illusory, and Jonke, in the same dismantling of traditional forms, reaches up to the synaesthetic representation of reality. Scharang directs his attacks to the Austria in the form of a novel, while Puganigg pushes the game of relationships and communication to the extreme, transforming it into verbal challenges. Frischmuth arrives, from feminine cosmologies drawn in a trilogy of the 1970s, to territories on the border between dream and reality, also touching the political dimension of the Austrian past. During the 1980s and 1990s Mayröcker’s texts – both prose,
If the most relevant items of the end of the 20th century. those of Bernhard and Handke remain, there is no shortage of significant new authors. Austria Fian, in his novels and microdramas, proposes himself as a critic of the Austrian literary scene; N. Gstrein, adopting multi-perspective narrative techniques, tells the life of the small Austrian villages; Austria Mitgutsch favors psychological themes and the analysis of the sense of strangeness; J. Haslinger reflects on the situation of the to. contemporary and also transfers the careful observation of reality into his creative writing; E. Hackl recounts cases of extreme existences in document-novels; W. Kofler constructs his stories in a satirical style, made up of literary and political allusions. A complex interweaving of history, fantasy and mythology is the one offered by C. Ransmayr, in which the search for traces becomes a metaphor for the postmodern. The provocation of ‘antipornographic novels’ by E. Jelinek, Nobel Prize for literature in 2004, becomes an ideological and political pamphlet in theatrical texts, which denounce the emergence of disturbing xenophobic attitudes.