A literary walk through Vienna

18.05.2021

If you have read the diaries of Arthur Schnitzler, Karl Kraus’ cheeky articles or the journalist Berta Zuckerkandl’s stories from her artist networking salon of the Fin de Siècle, then sometimes you can't help it: During a walk through Vienna - and if it’s only a walk from the subway to the Burgtheater or to the Theater in der Josefstadt – at every corner you will be reminded of this "world of yesterday," as Stefan Zweig calls it.

From Grillparzer and Nestroy to Peter Altenberg, Franz Werfel and Heimito von Doderer, but also Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Elias Canetti and, of course, Stefan Zweig: a walk through Vienna's city center with its palaces, coffeehouses and memorial plaques is always a walk through the city's literary history. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and, of course, read up on it, or look it up in the theater.
 

Read and watch 

It is not only the Literature Museum that offers a wealth of information about our Austrian writers and their connection to Vienna. The theaters, the Austrian National Library and the Sigmund Freud Museum can also easily fill a few gaps in one's education. Even back then, everyone knew everyone and everyone was somehow "connected" to each other in the Viennese cultural scene. ....
 

Literature Museum in the Grillparzerhaus | Vienna | © © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek/Pichler

Where literature can be found in Vienna

Viennese locations around writing

Sometimes the Viennese buildings and palaces, in which, for example, the museums or libraries are located, are once again worth a story of their own because of their history.
 

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© Österreichische Nationalbibliothek/Pichler

From the salon to the coffee house

120 years ago, the threads of art, culture and politics ran together in the salons of famous and influential women, but also in the coffee houses. Insider information, gossip and news were regularly "talked out" there. But also in many a box at the State Opera or the then new Burgtheater. Starting in the 1960s, the coffeehouse experienced a resurgence as a meeting place for literary figures, e.g. H.C. Artmann, Ernst Jandl and Thomas Bernhard.

Café Landtmann in Vienna | © © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

At home in the coffee house

Viennese coffee houses as havens of literature

Salonières, who invited people to "network" in their palaces, as well as coffeehouses for reading and discussing have not only existed in Vienna since Berta Zuckerkandl (her salon was above today's Café Landtmann). Salon life has been actively cultivated since the 18th century, and the first newspapers were published in coffee houses as early as 1720. It was precisely these newspapers that ensured that artists, literati and newspapermen met and continue to meet regularly in the coffee house. Or as the coffee house owner and writer Alfred Polgar said: "In the coffee house you’ll meet people who want to be alone, but need company to do so.”
 

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© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

Viennese sites of literature

Today you don't meet at the "Sirk corner" for a date anymore, probably not at the Strudlhofstiege in Währing either. Instead, people meet at subway stations, on the Danube Canal, or directly at a pub. In the past, however, these locations were popular places for rendezvous, but also simply places where the city "buzzed" like it does nowadays on Mariahilferstraße on a Saturday. Where else in Vienna has literature immortalized itself?

Horse-drawn carriage ride through the Outer Castle Gate to Heroes' Square | Vienna

Vienna, city of my dreams

Known literature locations

Nowadays, not many dare to read thick tomes like "Die Strudlhofstiege" or "The Last Days of Mankind", which are a reflection of the moral image of Vienna after the turn of the century and later. That's a pity, because that way we would sometimes see today's Vienna with different eyes.

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hotels: Hotel Astoria, Hotel Europa Wien, Hotel Rathauspark, Hotel Anatol, Hotel Ananas

Autor

Angelika Mandler-Saul

Angelika Mandler-Saul, who grew up in the Weinviertel region in Lower Austria, is a travel blogger and freelance author. Since 2013 she has been writing about her experiences and impressions while travelling throughout the world on www.wiederunterwegs.com. Her focus: nature and culture. She is regularly accompanied by her sooty black labrador Coffee, who is also good for many stories.
Angelika is particularly fond of travelling in her native country Austria, bringing her love of Austrian history and literature, travelling and writing under one roof. Travelling with culture: that sums it up precisely.

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