“To the Age Its Art, to Art Its Freedom.” That abbreviated manifesto of the Viennese Secession, releasing the visual and plastic arts from an imprisoning aesthetic, would presumably carry over to all aspects of cultural performance – which, however, at the turn of the century, had nothing like the performative insolence of the long-neglected Johann Nestroy. Nor did Austrian theatre and culture escape the dynastic censorship that continued through modern history, from Schnitzler to Handke to Bernhard, who found the theatre “disgusting,” the censor still in the wings, and wrote more recently for it with a venomous critique. The critique was there, too, among the rebellious painters who became the Viennese Actionists, only too ready for scandal in a repressed culture that sent several of them to jail, though one of them now, Hermann Nitsch, has become a much-respected iconic figure. The atmosphere of Viennese culture, before and after the Secession, has been characterized by Freud and the alternative to Freud, Weininger, who performed his own suicide, and by the magisterial Karl Kraus, in his encyclopaedic drama, The Last Days of Mankind.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 263-282
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.