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Book Review: Extinction, by Thomas Bernhard

To the Point of Extinction Both during his life and after his death, Thomas Bernhard excited controversy. When he was accepting a minor national award in 1968, he said by way of thanks, “It’s ridiculous, if one thinks of death.” He was also to insert a clause in his will that, if it had been […]

Thomas Bernhard, Literary Prize Fighter

As we watch Mario Vargas Llosa step up to accept his Nobel gold from King Carl Gustaf in this season of literary awards, and a handful of fortunate National Book Award winners pocket their $10,000 checks after a fancy ceremony in Manhattan, we should reflect anew on the most honest way to assess such rituals. […]

Kreisky: Nostalgia for Progress

Theater pieces, exhibitions, a commemoration in the Hofburg, podium discussions, lectures and presentations – a celebration of Bruno Kreisky, Austria’s longest serving chancellor, who would have been 100 year’s old Jan. 22. Kreisky died just over 20 years ago, after serving as chancellor from 1970 to 1983, much of it with an absolute majority, and […]

Tradition Under Threat

It is early Sunday afternoon, Oct. 31 at the Café Wortner in the 4th district, one of Vienna’s most appealing traditional cafes, recently voted “Best Kaffeehaus in Vienna” by the Chamber of Commerce (WKO) earlier this year. Partly it’s the setting, set back behind a fountain in a small triangular pocket park on the Wiedner […]

Heldenplatz, The Hero’s Square

Even today, 94 years after the Empire was dissolved, the monumental presence of ancien régime Austro-Hungary hangs over Heldenplatz. The square, the Hofburg palace courtyards and adjoining gardens are all public thoroughfares, in places lacking the gates and fences to lock even if they wanted to. But the weight of history is surely there: On […]

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