Mark Twain in Vienna
Gerlinde Ulm Sanford (Syracuse University, New York) [Bio]
Quite a bit has been written already about Mark Twains stay in Vienna. However, just recently, a number of letters came to light that Mark Twain had written to the Austrian Journalist and Feuilletonist Eduard Pötzl (1851-1914). In addition to exploring the information in these hitherto unknown letters, I would also like to elaborate on Mark Twain's famous presentation on the German language: "Die Schrecken der deutschen Sprache." He gave this talk on October 31, 1897 in Vienna and spoke in German. Furthermore, Mark Twain's presentation "German for the Hungarians," as well as a few other works reflect his impressions of Austria. I intend to elaborate on several more works interesting in that context, among others especially on an important essay with the title "Stirring Times in Austria", published in Harper's Magazine in February 1898. In this essay, Twain writes about the growing political strains in Vienna that later led to World War I and the end of the Habsburg Monarchy.
Mark Twain had remained in Vienna for twenty months. Shortly before leaving, he was even granted an audience with Emperor Francis Joseph. In the New York Times of June 11, 1899, Johannes Horowitz gives an interesting report on this audience. About Mark Twain's writings during his Viennese stay Horowitz comments: "To the many people who asked him about the work he had done in Vienna, Mark Twain replied that he had written a book about present-day persons - which, however, was not to be published till a hundred years after his death."