/ edited by Patrick Greaney and Sabine Zelger. Translated by Patrick Greaney, with translations from the Slovenian by Ana Jelinkar and Stephen Watts
Los Angeles : Les Figues, 2020
(= In Other Words ; 6)
After 1945, a vibrant literary avant-garde emerged in Austria that has remained mostly unknown outside of the country. Their first publications appeared in a cultural and political environment still largely determined by seven years of Nazism (1938-1945) and four years of Austrofascism (1934-1938). Its writers drew on traditional and experimental methods to hollow out existing literary conventions and propose new ones, using montage, appropriation, satire, irony, and nonsense. Despite many shared intentions, though, the Austrian avant-garde was far from unified. Some of its writers repeated the authoritarian gestures and practices of the fascist period; others contributed to the creation of feminist and queer counterpublics by creating alternative presses, new kinds of literary events, and political writers’ collectives.
An Austrian Avant-garde offers a critical survey of experimental writing from Austria that captures the tensions inherent in the history of the avant-garde. Starting with texts from the 1950s by the Vienna Group, the anthology offers a survey of the complex, contested landscape of post-1945 Austrian literature, with an emphasis on the work of women writers. The editors’ preface and their introductions to individual texts offer contextualization and commentary that make the anthology accessible to a wide readership.