Austrian Literature since 1990

In contrast to the unified Germany, the years 1989/90 are not a major turning point for Austrian literature, but the global political upheavals are reflected in the topics and subjects (e.g. the renewed proximity to the former countries of the Danube Monarchy). The latest Austrian literature is in the context of all German-language literature, but sets its own accents. Many of the young Austrian authors still settle in Germany.

Its own narrative gesture found N. Gstrein, A. Hotschnig, Marianne Fritz, Lilian Faschinger, M. Köhlmeier v. a. with his Homer adaptations, as well as R. Menasse, who also deals with the spiritual foundations of Austrian identity in essays. R. Schneider achieved a sensational success on the German-speaking book market with “Schlafes Bruder” (1992), the modern version of an artist novel, and J. Haslinger was also very successful with “Opernball” (1995), which uses the structures of the thriller. In contrast, F. C. Zauner describes in his monumental cycle »The End of Eternity« (1992–96) far-reaching rural life, albeit as an anti-idyll. R. Schrott is internationally oriented; in new translations and adaptations he prepares works of world literature for the present; By playing with the lyrical forms of world literature, F. Czernin seeks a new relationship to language. Female experiences of the different generations, predominantly characterized by lack of illusion, but also by rebellion, are reflected in the novels and stories of Marie-Thérèse Kerschbaumer, Anna Mitgutsch, Evelyn Schlag and Margit Schreiner. Of the poets who went public in the 1990s, C. Aigner and G. Eichberger should also be mentioned.

The works of younger authors often get their own character from a specifically Austrian theme: D. Rabinovici deals with Jewish-Austrian history and self-understanding in narrative prose and essays, Ernst Molden (* 1967) combines black humor with Viennese color, Franzobel makes links with it his language-playful texts to the Vienna School, Olga Flor (* 1968) to the traditions of the family novel of Austrian literature. Experimental texts come from Kathrin Röggla, T. Glavinic demonstrates a versatile narrative talent in his novels. Stylistically sovereign, e.g. In the 1990s, Paulus Hochgatterer (* 1961), A. Geiger and D. Kehlmann presented novels and short stories, some of which played with surrealist means. E. Hackl’s prose is not bound to any literary role models.

In the 1990s, too, Graz provided new impulses for contemporary Austrian literature: after P. Glaser had already explored the possibilities of digital literature in the 1980s, Walter Grond (* 1957) organized the scene through a variety of initiatives.

According to 800zipcodes, the Austrian drama of the present is still determined by the radically provocative pieces by Elfriede Jelinek. W. Schwab, who suddenly became famous in the early 1990s, continued the tendencies of the anti-popular play. In her plays (as well as in her novels) Marlene Streeruwitz addresses the futile attempts of women to assert themselves in the male world. A. Fian articulates satirical criticism of time in artificial texts (so-called dramolets). Representatives of Austrian drama after the turn of the millennium include: Handel Klaus (* 1969) and Ewald Palmetshofer (* 1978), whose pieces are determined by a thoroughly composed linguistic rhythm and negotiate basic issues of human existence (Handel Klaus) as well as the disorientation of their own generation (Palmetshofer). Ferdinand Schmalz (* 1985) combines the comedic folk piece with socially critical messages in his word acrobatic texts.

So far, one Austrian writer has received the Nobel Prize for Literature: Elfriede Jelinek (2004).

Austrian literature

Important works of Austrian literature (selection)

19th century

  • F. Raimund: “The Alpine King and the Misanthrope” (1828, piece)
  • N. Lenau: “Poems” (1832)
  • J. N. Nestroy: “The Evil Spirit Lumpacivagabundus or The Liederliche Kleeblatt” (1835, Posse)
  • F. Grillparzer: “The waves of the sea and the waves of love” (1840, tragedy)
  • A. Stifter: “Colorful Stones” (1853, short stories), “Der Nachsommer” (1857, novel)
  • L. Anzengruber: “The Perjurer” (1871, drama)
  • Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach: “The Community Child ” (1887–88, novel)

20th century

  • A. Schnitzler: »Der Reigen« (1900, comedy)
  • P. Rosegger: “When I was still a forest farmer’s boy” (1900-02, autobiographical stories)
  • R. M. Rilke: “The way of love and death of the cornet Christoph Rilke” (1906, lyrical prose), “Duineser Elegien” (1923)
  • A. Kubin: »The Other Side« (1909, novel)
  • H. von Hofmannsthal: »Jedermann« (1912, drama)
  • F. Kafka: “The Trial” (1925, novel)
  • Ö. von Horváth: “Tales from the Vienna Woods” (1931, play)
  • J. Roth: »Radetzkymarsch« (1932, novel)
  • R. Musil: “The Man Without Qualities” (1930–43, novel)
  • H. von Doderer: “The Strudlhofstiege” (1951, novel)
  • Ingeborg Bachmann: “The starded time” (1953, poetry)
  • E. Jandl: “Loud and Luise” (1966, poetry)
  • P. Handke: “Slow Homecoming” (1979, short stories)
  • Elfriede Jelinek: »The Piano Player« (1983, novel), »Burgtheater« (1984, play)
  • T. Bernhard: »Heldenplatz« (1988, piece)
  • C. Ransmayr: »The Last World« (1988, novel)
  • Marlene Streeruwitz: »Posterity. A travel report « (1999, novel)

21st century

  • Elfriede Jelinek: »Greed« (2000, novel)
  • T. Glavinic: “How to Live” (2004, novel)
  • Franzobel: »The Festival of Stones« (2005, novel)
  • A. Geiger: “We’re fine” (2005, novel)
  • Kathrin Röggla: »who set the alarm« (2010, short stories)

The literature of South Tyrol

Contemporary South Tyrolean literature is closely linked to Austrian literature through history and language. N. Kaser is the key figure in their independence. Other important representatives of the older generation are the storytellers F. Tumlerand J. Zoderer, the younger generation (some of which no longer live in South Tyrol, but remains thematically connected to their homeland) will be among others. represented by the poet Gerhard Kofler (* 1949, † 2005), by the poet and narrator Anita Pichler (* 1949, † 1997), by the narrator Helene Flöss (* 1954), by the narrator Sepp Mall (* 1955), by the versatile Sabine Gruber (* 1963) and by Oswald Egger (* 1963), who experimented intensively with language in all genres. Since at the present time in South Tyrol, in addition to the dominant German-language literature, there is also a development in Italian and Ladin, some of the authors mentioned also write in these languages.

Austrian Literature since 1990