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Gender and Modernity in Central Europe

The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Its Legacy

Edited by Agatha Schwartz

Publication Year: 2010

At the end of the nineteenth century, Austro-Hungarian society was undergoing a significant re-evaluation of gender roles and identities. Debates on these issues revealed deep anxieties within the multi-ethnic empire that did not resolve themselves with its dissolution in 1918. Concepts of gender and modernity as defined by the Habsburg Monarchy were modified by the conservative, liberal, radical right-wing and Communist regimes that ruled the empire’s successor states in the twentieth century. While these values have taken on new dimensions again in the post-Communist period, the Habsburg Monarchy’s influence on gender and modernity in Central Europe is still palpable.

With a truly interdisciplinary approach – drawing on the fields of women’s studies, gender studies, sociology, history, literature, art, and psychoanalysis – that touches on a variety of subjects – gender roles, sexual identities, misogyny, painting, writing, minorities – this volume explores the lasting impact of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in contemporary Central Europe, which is fraught with gender conflict and tension between modernist and anti-modernist forces.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a fascinating multi-ethnic society. Its experience and understanding of gender and modernity provides important, relevant lessons for today’s world as it becomes increasingly intercultural and as issues of identity become more and more complex.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Cover Page

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-14

The chapters in this volume represent a selection of papers, the abridged versions of which were initially presented at an international conference, with the same title as this book, held at the University of Ottawa between May 16 and 18, 2008. The papers, written by Canadian, American, and European scholars and academics working in history, literature...

Part I: Constructing Gender in Vienna and Beyond

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pp. 15-79

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Chapter 1: Ethnic and Sexual Tension in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: A Case of Mistaken Identity in Grete Meisel-Hess’s “Zwei vergnügte Tage”

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pp. 17-28

...“The word of our time is already found. Separation, breaking away, splitting—differentiation are the fundamental characteristics of our era: we stand under the sign of the Secession”: these words, written by the twenty-one-year-old aspiring author Grete Meisel in the year 1900, sum up the feeling that the turn of the century represented a new direction for humanity, a break from the past, with ...

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Chapter 2: Public Debates and Private Jokes in Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss: Effeminate Aestheticism, Virile Masculinity, or Both?

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pp. 29-46

Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss is now so popular that it borders on kitsch. No longer the purview of art cards and posters alone, the image decorates fridge magnets, drink coasters and even key chains. One might say that this frenzy for The Kiss cheapens it, but its iconic status also demonstrates the timeless, universal appeal of the work. ...

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Chapter 3: Modernity and Masculinity: Cycling in Hungary at the End of the 19th Century

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pp. 47-63

It has been argued that different existential conditions produce different habituses, which, again, can be transferred to various areas of practice. Consequently, sports— above all cycling, but also rowing, gymnastics, and athletics—may be regarded as indicators of changing behavioural patterns in different social groups...

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Chapter 4: Czech Mates: Locating and Gendering the Competing Habsburgian Presences at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893

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pp. 65-79

Among the innovations in sites inaugurated at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 were two with links to Austria–Hungary, and with critical implications for gender and modernity: the Midway and the library in the Woman’s Building. This paper details the contrasting forms of female participation in these two inaugural sites in order to establish the seductively emancipatory side ...

Part II: The Impact of Viennese Modernity in Literature

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pp. 81-115

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Chapter 5: Svevo’s Uomo Senza Qualità: Musil and Modernism in Italy

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pp. 83-101

Critics tend to concentrate on the importance of the land of Italy to the German imagination and of German thought to Italian intellectuals (see Magris 1996), but the literary interactions between Italian and German-speaking countries have been less frequently examined...

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Chapter 6: “Everything the Same as Here”: Misogyny in Czech Modernist Poetry at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century

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pp. 103-115

Maria Podraza–Kwiatkowska, a Polish literary scholar and specialist in literary modernism, claims in her study Salome i Androgyne (Salome and the Androgyne, (274–77) that the theme of the biblical Salome started to gain great popularity in European art from around 1880, and that the way in which she was depicted exposed her demonic nature...

Part III: The Contribution of Jewish Women to Viennese Modernity

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pp. 117-150

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Chapter 7: The Jewish Salons of Vienna

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pp. 119-132

From 1780, when Fanny von Arnstein founded her salon, to 1938, when Berta Zuckerkandl escaped to Paris, salons flourished in Vienna, providing forums for cultural innovation and new possibilities for women. Throughout this span of more than 150 years, very few of the Jewish women who hosted salons in Vienna sacrificed their Jewish identities...

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Chapter 8: “If a Woman Should Be True to Her Natural Destiny, She Ought Not to Compete with Men”: Jewish Intellectual Women between Anti-Semitism and Misogyny in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

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pp. 133-150

This paper aims to investigate the lives of intellectual Jewish women in fin-de-siècle Vienna, and to examine the role that gender and ethnicity played in shaping their identities. The term “Jewish women” is used here according to the broad definition formulated by Paula Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore (xxii), who suggested...

Part IV: Early Psychoanalysis and Its Legacy

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pp. 151-199

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Chapter 9: Woman as Theory and Theory-Makerin the Early Years of Psychoanalysis

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pp. 153-168

“Throughout history, people have speculated a lot on the enigma of femininity.… You will not have escaped worrying about this problem, those of you who are men. To those of you who are women, this will not apply, as you yourselves are the problem.” Sigmund Freud’s lecture “Femininity” (1933) starts with the above reflection...

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Chapter 10: Metapsychological Mythopoiesis: On Sándor Ferenczi’s Theory of Sexual Difference and the Agonic Conception of Life

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pp. 169-183

It is generally acknowledged that the writings of Sigmund Freud and his immediate disciples play a decisive role in postmodern thought on religion. However, theoreticians of religion and historians of psychoanalysis are seldom inclined to explore the connections between the psychoanalytical critique of religious history...

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Chapter 11: Gender, Hysteria, and War Neurosis

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pp. 185-199

The “dream castle era” of the fin de siècle, as described by Stefan Zweig in his autobiography Die Welt von gestern (The World of Yesterday), collapsed on June 28, 1914. In a letter written on that day to his Hungarian colleague and former student Sándor Ferenczi, Sigmund Freud discussed a few pertinent professional...

Part V: The Historical and Cultural Legacy of Austria–Hungary

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pp. 201-250

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Chapter 12: The Internment of Political Suspects in Austria–Hungary during the First World War: A Violent Legacy?

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pp. 203-218

The outbreak of the First World War presented the Habsburg empire with a new and unexpected challenge to its policy on its subject nationalities, caused by the sudden movement of displaced populations fleeing from the various war zones into the interior. Cisleithania in particular was the setting for a huge wave of destitute refugees coming from the frontier areas...

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Chapter 13: Engendering Borders: The Austro–Yugoslav Border Conflict following the First World War

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pp. 219-233

Although Austria and Slovenia share a common history as parts of the Habsburg empire, and today both countries are member states of the European Union, there is still considerable tension between them because of the Slovene minority in Carinthia, Austria’s southernmost province. The ethnic prejudices still alive today have been nurtured...

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Chapter 14: From “Guardian Angel of Hungary” to the“Sissi Look-Alike Contest”: The Making and Remaking of the Cult of Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary

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pp. 235-250

Almost immediately after her marriage in 1854 to the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, Queen Elizabeth of Hungary (1838–1898) began her rise as the subject of myths, cults, and countercults. Her instant popularity among Hungarians, sparked by her beauty and her rumoured sympathy toward Hungarians, turned into...

Works Cited, by Chapter

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pp. 251-287


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pp. 289-292


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pp. 293-337

E-ISBN-13: 9780776618975
E-ISBN-10: 0776618970
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776607269
Print-ISBN-10: 077660726X

Page Count: 344
Publication Year: 2010