Francis Michael Sharp – Vienna in the Fiction of Thomas Bernhard and Doron Rabinovici

Nr. 18    Juni 2011 TRANS: Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften

Section | Sektion: Cities in Austrian Literature

Vienna in the Fiction of Thomas Bernhard and Doron Rabinovici: A Study in Contrast

Francis Michael Sharp (University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, USA) [BIO]


 Konferenzdokumentation |  Conference publication


Neither Thomas Bernhard nor Doron Rabinovici was born in Vienna although the Austrian capital is the central location in much of their fiction.  Their texts convey an intimate familiarity with the city’s actual physical geography, its districts, streets, and neighborhoods, its social fabric, the cultural aura surrounding its world-class museums, concert halls, theaters and opera as well as its artistic, intellectual, and political history.  Both writers are thoroughly Viennese but each in his own way. Their contrasting views of Vienna’s character, their choices of which constitutive elements to emphasize and which to omit are ultimately rooted in their individual biographical and educational backgrounds, backgrounds that generate two idiosyncratic yet equally valid urban portraits.

Although Bernhard’s mother gave birth to Thomas, her illegitimate offspring in Holland, they soon returned to Austria where he was largely raised in the home of his maternal grandparents.  His grandfather—a minor writer fanatically devoted to his art—played the key role in his intellectual and artistic formative years.  He would later study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg nurturing the dream of a singing career.  And as Bernhard’s first autobiographical volume, Die Ursache suggests, it was Salzburg that served as the model for his ambivalent and highly emotionally-tinged depictions of Vienna in his later works.  Vienna, however, as the artistic and cultural center of Austria’s past and present renown, held an overpowering attraction for the aspiring writer, an attraction intrinsic to the experiences of artistically ambitious figures in Bernhard’s fiction as well.  For most of his adult life, Bernhard divided his time in Austria between Vienna and his country home in Ohlsdorf.

Rabinovici is the son of Eastern European Jews who had survived the Holocaust and found refuge in Palestine, where they met following the Second World War.  Born in Tel Aviv in 1961, he emigrated with his family to Vienna in 1964 and today holds both Austrian and Israeli citizenship.  Largely due to his competing interests and talents as a historian, journalist, and political activist, Rabinovici has published relatively little imaginative literature in comparison to the prolific Bernhard. Yet, in his second novel, Ohnehin (2004), the plot develops against a dynamic Viennese cityscape, alive and recognizable not only by the presence of familiar landmarks and neighborhoods, but also by the complex intermingling of ethnic groups as well as important political, and social issues at a significant point in late twentieth-century history.  The contemporary Vienna at the heart of his novel reveals the living remains of its past along with the outlines and implications of historical developments into the future.

If we look at Bernhard’s prose over a span of years, Vienna seems to materialize gradually as a major presence on the stage of his fiction.  Although still unnamed in his short story “Jauregg” (1966), the memory of Austria’s largest metropolitan area lingers in the mind of the narrator three years after he has fled to the country to work in his uncle’s stone quarry.  Contrary to any artistic or intellectual allure, the massive urban population had driven the narrator away: “Die Vorstellung, an jedem Tag in der Frühe während des Aufwachens unter der Last von einer Million und siebenhunderttausend Menschen mein Tagewerk verrichten zu müssen, hat mich beinahe umgebracht” (116). 

Five years after “Jauregg,” Bernhard’s better known narrative “Gehen” (1971) appeared, the first of his works to mention Vienna by name.  The story reflects the beginnings of a pervasive ambivalence toward the city that is particularly striking in the later novel Holzfällen (1984).  Oehler, one of the narrative’s two main characters, tells how he  had abandoned Vienna thirty years earlier for a lengthy stay in America, only to come back to its “Innere Stadt” (476), where he can no longer find a single name familiar to him from his youth.  In his eyes every aspect of the city has changed in such “entsetzlicher Weise” (475) that he walks the streets pondering suicide.  Prior to the main “event” of the narrative when his walking partner Karrer suffers a nervous collapse during a heated argument in a clothing store, Oehler alludes to their discussions about the “fürchterlichste(n) Umstände(n)” under which he had left Vienna.  Although never revealed in the story, the reasons for Oehler’s departure from the city of his origins can be easily inferred.  Thirty years prior to the publication of “Gehen” in 1971 would situate his departure at a point in history when Vienna’s Jewish population found emigration the only solution to an extremely perilous political state of affairs.  Ejected by his homeland three decades earlier, yet unable to feel at home in America and drawn back to Vienna, Oehler is a victim of his own ambivalence.  For him as well as the scientist Hollensteiner, whose story is told in the course of the larger narrative, Vienna simultaneously represents unequivocal rejection as well as an irresistible attraction.  Stymied by his inability to obtain funding for his research at home, Hollensteiner turns to German sources which acknowledge and support his genius, yet he is unable to leave Vienna and finally takes his own life.

In Wittgensteins Neffe: Eine Freundschaft, a novel published in 1982, the narrator declares with Bernhardian conviction the enduring Viennese rejection of one of its most accomplished scientists: “Die Wiener haben, das ist die Wahrheit, heute noch nicht den Sigmund Freud anerkannt” (105).  Like any of Bernhard’s characteristic narrative harangues, those concerning Vienna or the Viennese leave no room for argument, are no invitation to dialogue, but amount to extensions of an incessant and opinionated monologue.  To be sure, Vienna’s lack of appreciation of local genius is not always without reason and, at times, has comic effect.  Rudolf in Bernhard’s novel Beton (1982) has tried without success for ten years to write the first line of his study of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.  The comedy of his situation arises when he expresses anxiety at the prospect of his sister spreading rumors in Vienna that he is a failure (21).  As his other rants about the city demonstrate, this genius manqué despises it for its imagined rejection yet loves it for its imagined praise of an achievement very much in doubt.

In the works published during the final decade of his life, Bernhard’s allusions to actual Viennese locations and landmarks increase in number and frequency. Ruminating on the pros and cons of life in the city, the narrator of Wittgensteins Neffe mentions in passing the Hotel Sacher and the Graben Hotel, names familiar to any tourist.  Although he admittedly can sometimes engage in literary pursuits in the Sacher, his negative comments intensify as he goes on to denounce the entire Viennese coffeehouse culture, citing the “völlig heruntergekommene Café Hawelka” (139), once one of the most prominent meeting places of the leading authors, as typical.  Like countless other artistically ambitious Viennese the narrator suffers from an endemic “Kaffeehausaufsuchkrankheit” (139), a potentially debilitating disease because it exposes them to mirror images of themselves.

For the narrator of Holzfällen (1984) who has just returned from London, Vienna—especially the “Innere Stadt”—is full of emotionally charged locations which he ostensibly desires to avoid but to which he is involuntarily drawn.  It is on the Graben, a street he had vowed to shun on his return from London, that he encounters the Auersbergers, an encounter setting the narrative chain of events in motion.  Against his conscious intent, he is pulled back into an artistic social circle—that “Wiener Gesellschaftshölle” (9)—which he had abandoned twenty-six years earlier.  Its perils, he believes, lie in wait not only on the Graben, but on the “Kohlmarkt, selbstverständlich, die Spiegelgasse . . . die Kärtnerstraße . . . die Stallburggasse und die Dorotheergasse. . . die Wollzeile und die Operngasse” (9).  Already nauseated after meeting the Auersbergers and accepting their invitation to a “künstlerisches Abendessen” in their city home in the Gentzgasse, the narrator walks in the direction of the Stephansplatz, catches his reflection in a mirror outside the “Aidakaffeehaus” (25) and falls prey to a sense of disgust with himself as well as his former friends and their circle of the artistically and socially pretentious.

More than twenty years earlier, the narrator had—like Bernhard himself—graduated from Salzburg’s Mozarteum.  Although he had given up the idea of an artistic career right after graduation, his meeting with the Auersbergers had reversed that decision and he had often sung at artistic evenings in one of their two residences.  Based on his own earlier disappointments as well as those of others, his attitude toward Vienna’s promises and disappointments had soured over the intervening years.  Vienna attracts the artistically gifted with its promises of prizes and honors, then rejects them.  With the hyperbolically creative language typical of Bernhard’s best prose, the narrator labels Vienna “eine fürchterliche Genievernichtungsmaschine . . . eine entsetzliche Talentzerstrümmerungsanstalt” (97).  The only avenue for the artistically gifted to find success is emigration; those who remain in Vienna are destined to become “lebende Kunstleichname” (99).

After arriving at the dinner party, and before the arrival of the “Burgschauspieler,” the main guest and central artistic attraction for the evening, the narrator assumes the role of a one-person audience for a kind of pre-performance put on by the other guests.  He isolates himself from them in an adjacent room from where he can watch, listen to, and react internally to their conversations.  His thoughts swing constantly between memories of similar gatherings years before and what he is now hearing and observing.  Hours later in the evening when the long anticipated guest of honor arrives—the actor from the Burgtheater –the guests switch roles.  They leave the “stage” on which they have been performing for the narrator and join him as the audience at the dinner table for the main performance of the evening, the long-winded oration during the meal of the newly arrived guest.

Similar to the narrator’s attitudes toward Vienna, those of the actor also seem at first consistently extreme and ambivalent: “Wir hassen diese Stadt und lieben sie doch, wie keine andere” (172-173).  One hundred pages further into his monologue, the text intermittently disrupted by the narrator’s memories of those around him, he suggests that his own emotional attachment to the city is less conflicted than first indicated.  The pluralized pronoun of his earlier general declaration of ambivalence does not encompass the artistically successful, but only the failures.  These, he declares—in metaphorical language describing Vienna as an art mill (“Kunstmühle” 280)—are cruelly ground down and finally crushed.  The city’s historically accrued cultural and artistic celebrity implies, quite simply, demands and expectations that are beyond the abilities of most aspirants.  While the actor views these demands and expectations as distinctive, as the highest in Europe, they are out of reach of most would-be artists: “Aber in Wahrheit, sagte der Burgschauspieler jetzt, sind die Ansprüche, die hier in Wien an die Kunst, aber vor allem an die Musik & an die Schauspielerei gestellt werden, die allerhöchsten in Europa. . . “ (288).  Other artists may be cruelly crushed and rejected by Viennese standards, but for the successful and acclaimed stage performer, the ambivalence toward the city is transformed into an admiration of its high demands on artists.  His recognition in Vienna supplies the narcissistic energy fuelling his monologues, while rejection leads to isolation and silence in the case of the narrator or to suicide in the case of his former friend Joana.

Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum provides the center stage for Bernhard’s novel Alte Meister: Eine Komödie (1985), a stage located more firmly in the culturally rich heart of the city than that of any Bernhard work except Heldenplatz (1988), his last and most controversial play.  Clara Ervedosa has commented on the museum’s history and its heavily symbolic connotations:

in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts enstanden, wurde das Kunsthistorische Museum mit dem Ziel errichtet, die Kultur- und Kunstsammlungen des österreichischen Kaiserhauses zu beherbergen.  Dementsprechend haben auch die Lage und der historisierende Stil des Kunsthistorischen Museums eine symbolische Aussagekraft.  (178)

The novel’s central figure Reger writes music criticism for the New York Times, but his main activity in the novel is sitting on a bench in the Museum’s Bordone-Saal in front of Tintoretto’s Weißbärtigen Mann several times a week at precisely the same time of day.  He occasionally takes in performances at the Burgtheater together with the narrator Atzbacher, as he does at the end of the novel.  Its very last word is Reger’s magisterial, if abbreviated critical pronouncement that the performance of Kleist’s Zerbrochener Krug that night had been “entsetzlich” (311).

Sitting for hours surrounded by some of Vienna’s most imposing cultural treasures, where the stature of Vienna’s cultural history is most palpable, Reger has developed a defensive mode against the demands it implicitly makes on its contemporary residents.  He recommends distortion, exaggeration, and caricature as methods of existential self defense against any overwhelming artistic or cultural achievement.  Instead of passively submitting to a painting in reverential wonderment and awe, for example, the percipient must react with ridicule: “Wenn wir längere Zeit ein Bild betrachten und ist es das ernsthafteste, wir müssen es zur Karikatur gemacht haben, sagte er, um es auszuhalten” (117).  Reger contends at one point that every potentially overpowering image of authority threatening the viewer with passivity—including parents, bosses, even Immanuel Kant—needs to be countered with ridicule and caricature.  Bernhard implies precisely such an interpretation of his central character’s odd behavior.  The ultimate motivation for Reger’s obsessive staring at Tintoretto’s masterpiece lies in an ongoing attempt to arrive at an accommodation with its artistic power.      The author himself employs caricature, what he calls the “Höchstkraft des Geistes” and “diese einzige Überlebenskraft” (121), in a particularly pointed way against the city itself.  He counters its culturally imposing history with Vienna’s alleged reputation for filthy toilets: “Wien ist ganz oberflächlich wegen seiner Oper berühmt, aber tatsächlich gefürchtet und verabscheut wegen seiner skandalösen Toiletten” (162).  A few pages further on, he continues this strategy of countering the ethereal and artistically daunting aspects of the city with its most crudely offensive facet: “die Wiener Toiletten und die Wiener Aborte [sind] insgesamt die schmutzigsten auf der Welt . . .” (168). 

As the final and definitive act in Bernhard’s last novel Auslöschung (1986), the narrator declares his intention to erase his family’s past, one stained by collaboration with the Nazis, by bequeathing the family estate Wolfsegg to the Israeli Cultural Community in Vienna.  One critic calls it Bernhard’s “single decidedly political book” (Weinzierl 192), noting its appearance the same year as the Waldheim controversy when the Austrian past resurfaced after years of silence.  “Das Schweigen unseres Volkes über diese tausenden und zehntausenden Verbrechen ist von allen diesen Verbrechen das größte,” the narrator and heir to Wolfsegg tells his sisters (192-193).  Another critic fails to see the novel’s definitive act as a real solution, calling it a “mechanistic ‘Happy End’” and “an explicit refusal to bear the burden of Austrian history.”  (Heidelberger-Leonard 191)

While the National Socialist era and its repression in postwar Austria make a late entry into Bernhard’s works, this painful topic looms large in the Viennese setting of Rabinovici’s first two novels, Suche nach M and Ohnehin.  The plot of the earlier novel centers on the lives of first and second generation Jewish Holocaust survivors in a postwar Vienna, unnamed but clearly recognizable, where:

War criminals were not brought to court and everything recalling the crimes once committed as well as actions provoking persecution and mass murder was deliberately ignored rather than prosecuted.  Guilty parties were just not to be found in a country that claimed to be without blemish.  (Search 29)(1)

Against this backdrop of national silence and suppression of perpetrator guilt, the novel focuses on the survivor guilt of the Jewish fathers and the barrier of silence between the generations that complicates the identity formation of their sons.

While Bernhard sprinkles his texts with the names of well-known coffeehouses, one coffeehouse predominates over all others in Rabinovici’s fictional Vienna.(2) At the very beginning of Suche nach M (7), Jakob Scheinowiz, a main figure in the novel on his way to a holiday dinner with friends in the Jewish community, makes a short stop at the unnamed but clearly identifiable Café Prückl on the Doktor-Karl-Lueger-Platz.  In Ohnehin the author underscores the particular significance of this café for Viennese Jews:

Auf dem Platz vor dem Lokal stand das Monument des einstigen Bürgermeisters Karl Lueger, der als erster mit einer Massenbewegung Wahlen gewonnen hatte und deshalb vom jungen Adolf Hitler verehrt worden war. (80)

For Rabinovici, local anti-Semitism clearly has historical roots in Karl Lueger, the anti-Semitic mayor of Vienna first elected in 1895, exactly one hundred years before the time of the novel.   He is an historical figure who may have set an example for Hitler, but more importantly in Rabinovici’s eyes, Lueger prefigures a political figure of his own day, Jörg Haider, “der bereit ist, mit Populismus des Ressentiments Stimmen zu gewinnen.” (Sie sollten es merken) While Waldheim represents Austria’s desire in the 1980s to forget the sins of its Nazi past, Haider embodies what Rabinovici called in a Spiegel interview “a prototype for the future” (Broder 280), a prototype rooted in the days of Freud’s Vienna. 

By structuring the present moment of the novel Ohnehin as an intermingling of two living pasts with current social and political concerns, Rabinovici captures the complex texture of contemporary Vienna in fiction.  The main actions of the novel take place on the city’s multicultural Naschmarkt in the year 1995.  As a writer of fiction Rabinovici has consistently underlined the contemporaneity of his prose: “It’s always only a question of the present time” (Wie es war 24).(3)  Yet as the historian also knows, the here and now of every society is permeated by its past, a permeation that gives direction to its prospects and potential. The year 1995 gave Austrians reasons to look backward as well as forward in time: it marked the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II, the fortieth anniversary of its national independence from the occupying powers as well as Austria’s entry into the European Union.  Two layers of the more distant past resonate repeatedly in the lives of the novel’s characters.  These historical strata woven into the fabric of the novel’s present moment are the latter days of the Austrian Empire at the end of the nineteenth century and the rise and fall of National Socialism several decades later.(4)

Matthias Beilein makes reference to an interview with the author, where he listed several other current events in 1995 that were of particular interest to him and would find their way into his novel.  (86 und die Folgen 132) The wars in Yugoslavia had reached a high point that year and a wave of xenophobic violence had surged across the Austrian landscape.  Two refugees from war-torn Yugoslavia play major roles in the novel, Flora Dema, a video artist from Kosovo and her cameraman Goran, a Serb from Belgrade.  They walk the streets of Vienna attempting to confront Austrians with their own xenophobic attitudes and pointing out the roots of these attitudes in the anti-Semitism of the past.  The year 1995 also marked the beginning of a political campaign by the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) for an eventual coalition government with Haider’s FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria).  In an essay of that same year, Rabinovici declared his intention of making every political effort to resist any such coalition.  It was also in this essay that he challenged the government’s slogan from the previous year—“Wien bleibt Wien”—coined to reassure conservatives that membership in the European Union would make no changes in Vienna’s essential character.  Rabinovici’s defiant response, made in both the essay and the novel, was that the slogan embodied the: “gefährlichste Drohung, die eine Stadt je ausgesprochen hatte.” (“Literatur und Republik” 228 and Ohnehin 181)

During the last two decades of the twentieth century the numbers of foreign nationals in Austria increased dramatically.  By 1991 two thirds of these came from Yugoslavia or Turkey with almost 40% of this population residing in Vienna.  (Fassmann  56, 58)  At the beginning of Ohnehin, the main character of the novel, Stephen Sandtner, is watching a talk show on television when he is overcome by nausea as a popular journalist appears on screen.  Sandtner anticipates with dismay words that he has lately been hearing in the media so incessantly, a phrase he himself speaks out loud: “”Einmal muß Schluß sein” (10).  As if on cue, the journalist on the screen immediately repeats the phrase and is greeted with wild applause by the television audience.  These familiar words reflect the xenophobic populist solution to the widely perceived “Überfremdung” in Austria at the time.  The word itself suggests an inundation of the native population by “foreigners” and had been declared the “Unwort des Jahres” or the negative buzzword of the year in Germany in 1993.  The word was to become the centerpiece of the unsettling slogan—“Stopp der Überfremdung”—used by Haider’s Freedom Party in the election campaign of 1999.

In the novel, such xenophobic appeals to the electorate were already being made four years earlier.  One of Sandtner’s many conversations on the Naschmarkt with his multi-ethnic circle of friends includes a discussion of a flare-up of populist electioneering.  On a personal visit to this heart of multicultural Vienna, the candidate of the radical right (“Der Kandidat der Rechtsrechten” 179)—flanked by security and media—had mocked its residents for their lack of fluency in German.  Later in the novel, this same candidate attends and speaks at a gathering of veterans and former members of the Waffen-SS in Krumpendorf, a town in Kärnten.  He praises these former warriors as “decent human beings” (244), admiring their strength of character for having remained loyal to their convictions over the decades.  With this episode, Rabinovici inserts an actual event into his novel, one that occurred on September 30, 1995.  Moreover, he quotes some of Haider’s own words to the veterans.  The event, broadcast on television and seen by thousands across the country, provoked a minor scandal in Austria.  (Peri)

As an organizer and speaker, Rabinovici played key roles at two huge political rallies in Vienna, first in November 1999 and then in February 2000, both in protest against the inclusion of Haider’s Freedom Party in a coalition government.  After the disputed coalition had in fact been formed, the protesters took to the streets.  Their demonstrations culminated on the 19th of February with a massive rally of 300,000 on Vienna’s Heldenplatz.  In his speech at the rally, Rabinovici warned of the danger to democracy that such a pact with the extreme Right portended; he demanded the dissolution of the government and new elections.  Speaking for the hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered on the square, he proclaimed a “democratic offensive” and a strategy of massive “resistance.” (“Rede am Heldenplatz”)

The political activist Rabinovici and the dramatist Bernhard reflect very different relationships to and attitudes toward Vienna’s Heldenplatz.  For Josef Schuster’s wife in Bernhard’s controversial last work, Heldenplatz, this site of Hitler’s announcement of the Anschluss in 1938 still reverberates with the jubilation of the Austrian masses fifty years later.  The sounds of the cheering crowds symbolize the virulence of anti-Semitism, still alive and well but—in the opinion of her husband—“noch viel schlimmer als vor fünfzig Jahren” (11).  The Jewish Professor Schuster had initially fled the city for Oxford before the war but was lured back in the fifties.  Yet, years later, he perceives a palpable toxicity, stubbornly resistant to time’s curative effects, and it drives him to suicide before the play begins.  His suicide represents an act of final surrender to an overwhelming political past that remains constant and intractable.  In contrast, the reaction of the political activist Rabinovici to the remnants of the Austria’s National Socialist past is not surrender, but resistance. 

He underlined the importance of political resistance in his non-fiction work Der ewige Widerstand (2008), a study of its history and forms over the centuries.  In the novel Ohnehin, he places no real hope for political change in any of his native Austrian characters but rather in the example of multi-ethnic cooperation open to daily view on the Naschmarkt.  While the two refugees from the wars in Yugoslavia, Flora and Goran—who at novel’s end must leave Vienna—serve as insistent reminders of historical lessons still unlearned, the Naschmarkt itself functions as a kind of problematic social dream still unrealized.  Resistance to the resurgence of populist xenophobia and the anticipation that Vienna might in fact be ready for change in this first year of Austria’s entry into the European Union suffuse the novel with optimism about this dream.  Affirming this optimistic view of the Naschmarkt, Rabinovici—who personally shops for vegetables there twice a week—has said:

Ich hatte das Gefühl, daß sich in den letzten Jahren am Naschmarkt etwas Neues getan hatte.  Das hat etwas ausgedrückt.  Dieser Ort ist nicht nur der urbanste, sondern er entschließt eine neue, eine andere Urbanität, anders als jene, die wir in den Kaffeehäusern vorfinden.  Die Kaffeehäuser erinnern an ein untergegangenen Wien.  Der Naschmarkt läßt Wien an andere Zentren unserer Zeit anschließen.  (Beilein 86 und die Folgen  321)


  • Beilein, Matthias. 86 und die Folgen: Robert Schindel, Robert Menasse und Doron Rabinovici im literarischen Feld Österreichs. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2008. Print.
  • “Unter falschem Namen. Schweigen und Schuld in Doron Rabinovicis Suche nach M.” Monatshefte. 97. 2 (Summer 2005): 250-269. Print.
  • Bernhard, Thomas. Alte Meister: Eine Komödie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  • —. Auslöschung: Ein Zerfall. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1986. Print.
  • —. Beton. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1982. Print.
  • —. “Gehen.” Thomas Bernhard: Die Erzählungen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1979. 405 —494. Print.
  • —. Heldenplatz. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1988. Print.
  • —. Holzfällen: Eine Erregung. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1984. Print.
  • —. “Jauregg.” Thomas Bernhard: Die Erzählungen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1979. 116—128. Print.
  • —. Die Ursache: Eine Andeutung. Salzburg: Residenz, 1975. Print.
  • —. Wittgensteins Neffe: Eine Freundschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1982. Print.
  • Broder, Henryk M. “Wut im Land des Lächelns.” Der Spiegel 21 Feb. 2000: 280 – 285. Print.
  • Ervedosa, Clara. “Vor den Kopf stoßen”: Das Komische als Schock im Werk Thomas Bernhards. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2008. Print.
  • Fassmann, H. und Münz, R. Einwanderungsland Österreich? Historische Migrationsmuster, aktuelle Trends und politische Maßnahmen. Wien: Jugend und Volk, 1995. Print.
  • Heidelberger-Leonard, Irene. “Auschwitz als Pflichtfach für Schriftsteller.” Antiautobiografie: Zu Thomas Bernhards Auslöschung. Eds. Heidelberger-Leonard and Hans Höller. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1995. 181-196. Print.
  • Peri, Anat. “Jörg Haider’s Antisemitism.” ACTA Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism: A Special Research Unit of SICSA, The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 2001. Web. 4 Mar 2011.
  • Rabinovici, Doron. Der ewige Widerstand: Über einen strittigen Begriff. Wien: Styria, 2008. Print.
  • —. Interview. „Sie sollten es merken: Interview mit Doron Rabinovici.“ By Franziska Werners and Markus Gick. 2003. Web. 1 March 2011.
  • —. “Jidnität. Angeln aus christlicher Sicht oder Gibt es ein jüdisches Erzählen im deutschen Gegenwartsliteratur?” Die Lebendigkeit der Geschichte: (Dis-) Kontinuitäten in Diskursen über den Nationalsozialismus. Eds. Lappin, Eleonore and Bernhard Schneider. St. Ingbert: Röhrig, 2001. 524 – 532. Print.
  • —. “Literatur und Republik oder Ganz Baden liest die Krone.” Was wird das Ausland dazu sagen?: Literatur und Politik in Österreich nach 1945. Ed., Gerald Leitner. Wien: Picus, 1995. 127—139. Print.
  • —. Ohnehin. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2004. Print.
  • —. “Rede am Heldenplatz, 19.2.2000.”
  • —. Suche nach M.: Roman in zwölf Episoden. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1997. Print.
  • —. “Wie es war und wie es gewesen sein wird. Geschichtsschreibung und Literatur zur Shoah.” Wespennest 128. 4 (September, 2002): 20-24. Print.
  • Sharp, Francis Michael. “Doron Rabinovici’s Ohnehin: Selective Memory and Multiple Pasts.” TRANS Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften / Internet Journal of Cultural Studies. Published/Hosted by Research Institute for Austrian and International Literature and Cultural Studies, 16 (April 2006). 3 March 2011. Web.
  • —. trans. The Search for M. By Doron Rabinovici. Riverside, CA: Ariadne, 2000. Print.
  • Weinzierl, Ulrich. „Bernhard als Erzieher: Thomas Bernhards Auslöschung.“ Spätmoderne und Postmod erne: Beiträge zur deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur. Ed. Paul Michael Lützeler. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1991. 186 – 196. Print.


1 Matthias Beilein notes of the novel’s opening pages: “Die Topographie Wiens ist hier deutlich erkennbar nachgezeichnet, ohne den literarischen Ort zu nennen.” (“Unter falschem Namen” 251) 2“Für Rabinovici ist das Café Prückl mehr als nur ein Kaffeehaus, denn wegen seiner stadttopographischen Lage spiegelt dieser Ort auch Wiener Geschichte wider. In all seinen Büchern mit fiktionalen Texten findet es Erwähnung. Und es sind immer Juden, die am Denkmal für Karl Lüger vorbei ins Café Prückl gehen.” (Beilein 86 und die Folgen 148) 3 Rabinovici has noted that most contemporary Jewish writers avoid putting mass murder and Ausschwitz at the center of their writing: “Die meisten schildern eher das Aufblitzen der Vergangenheit inmitten der Selbstvergessenheit ihrer Gegenwart. . .” (Jidnität 531). 4 Cf. Sharp, “Doron Rabinovici’s Ohnehin”.


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Francis Michael Sharp: Vienna in the Fiction of Thomas Bernhard and Doron Rabinovici: A Study in Contrast –
In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 18/2011.

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