Department of Germanic Studies

Faculty Book Acknowledged by Center for Austrian Studies

Wed, October 12, 2016
Faculty Book Acknowledged by Center for Austrian Studies
Cover image for book

Katherine Arens book  Vienna’s Dreams of Europe: Culture and Identity beyond the Nation-State was awarded an honorable mention for the 2016  book prize awarded every two years by the Center for Austrian Studies iat the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. 

The commiittee noted:

"Katherine Arens’s Vienna’s Dreams of Europe: Culture and Identity beyond the Nation-State covers a vast period of Austrian cultural history—from the Enlightenment to the 1990s—that is usually viewed as one long series of disruptions. Arens looks for continuities instead, and in doing so she is able to define and examine a consistent Austrian identity that gets lost if one takes nation-states and nationalism to be norms.

Arens examines Austrian cultural identity without privileging a perspective of the development of German literature and society that has focused on the (German) nation-state. Austrian writers and artists, she shows, have consistently resisted the more typically German belief in drama as a moral institution with writers of genius leading a nation to its destiny. By contrast, Austrians from Sonnenfels to Grillparzer to Nestroy to Hofmannsthal to Schnitzler to the Wiener Gruppe to Handke have grounded their visions in accounts of existing, diverse communities. By grounding her meta-analysis in close and comparative readings of a broad range of texts, Arens creates a solid foundation for the wide-ranging ambitions of her book. Arens’s book is literary history, to be sure, but not in any narrow sense, since it shows how Austrian identity is created through the use of language(s) in public spaces. Hence this study is relevant to broader political, historical, and philosophical questions about what Austria has been and can be."
The award was announced at a reception at the recent German Studies Association Convention in San Diego.

Information on the book

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