Pamela S. Saur – The City of Vienna in the Works of Gerhard Roth

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


Plenarbeiträge | Planary contributions

Pamela S. Saur (Lamar University in Beaumont Texas, USA) [BIO]

Email: saurps@hal.lamar.edu

The City of Vienna in the Works of Gerhard Roth


 Konferenzdokumentation |  Conference publication


 

 

Abstract:

Unter vielen anderen literarischen, essayistischen, und fotographischen Büchern zwischen 1972 und heute hat der Autor Gerhard Roth zwei grosse mosaikartige Buchzyklen verfasst, Archive des Schweigens und Orkus. Die zweite Gruppe, in den letzten Jahren veröffentlicht, enthält fünf ähnliche Romane; alle sind zur gleichen Zeit Detektivgeschichten, Reiseberichte, und aktuelle existenzialistische Bildungsromane, jeder mit einem etwas gestörten Helden. In allen fünf erscheinen Figuren, Ereignisse, und Geschichtenfaden von Roths früheren Werken. Ihre Titel sind auch ähnlich, besonders die ersten vier: Der See“ (1995), „Der Plan“ (1998), „Der Berg“ (2000), und „Der Strom“ (2002). Nach dem nächsten Roman, Das Labyrinth (2004) erscheint 2009 das letzte, ganz andere Orkus-Buch, „Die Stadt. Entdeckungen im Inneren von Wien“, eine Berichtsammlung, voll von Statistiken und Tatsachen, eigentlich eine Fortsetzung und Erweiterung von dem Buch, Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien, (1991) welches dem ersten Zyklus gehört. Im Jahre 2010 erschien Roths massives Photobuch, „Im unsichtbaren Wien“.

Dieser Vortrag wird, erstens, die wirklichkeitstreuen Werke, Im unsichtbaren Wien, Die Stadt und Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien diskutieren und vergleichen. Alle drei entwickeln  diesselbe Hauptthese, nämlich, dass Wien, die Kulturstadt und Touristenstadt, hinter ihrer faszinierenden Geschichte und glänzenden Schönheit Hässlichkeit, Leiden, und Brutalität, arme und vergessene Leute verbirgt, auch verdrängte Spuren vom Nationalsozialismus. Zweitens wird die Stadt Wien in Gerhard Roths’ Romanen geforscht. In Romanen, besonders „Landläufiger Tod“ (1982), Am Abgrund“ (1986), „Der Plan“, und „Das Labyrinth“, lesen wir über Wien im Kontext von literarischen Erzählungen, Charakteren und Stimmungen. Zu analysiseren sind die Verbindungen und Kontraste zwischen Roths faktisch-fotographischen und seinen literarischen Porträten der Stadt, und wie und wozu er die Stadt Wien in seinen Kunstwerken literarisch gebraucht.              

Among many other literary, essayistic and photographic books between 1972 and today the author Gerhard Roth authored two large mosaic-like book cycles, Archive des Schweigens and Orkus. The second group, published in recent years, contains five similar novels; all are at the same time detective stories, travelogues, and contemporary existentialist Bildungsromane, each with a somewhat disturbed protagonist. Figures, events and threads of stories from Roth’s earlier works appear in all five. Their titles are also similar, especially the first four: „Der See (1995), „Der Plan (1998), „Der Berg“ (2000), and Der Strom“ (2002). After the next novel, „Das Labyrinth (2004), the final, quite different Orkus volume appeared, Die Stadt. Entdeckungen im Inneren von Wien, (2009) a collection of reports, full of statistics and facts. It can be viewed as a continuation and expansion of the book, Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien (1991), which belongs to the first cycle. In 2010 there appeared Roth’s massive book of photographs, Im unsichtbaren Wien“.

This presentation will, first of all, discuss and compare Roths non-fiction books on Vienna, Im unsichtbaren Wien“, „Die Stadt and Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien“. These books have the same main theme, namely, that Vienna, the cultural city and tourist city, behind her fascinating history and gleaming beauty, hides ugliness, suffering and brutality, poor and forgotten people, as well as suppressed traces of National Socialism. Secondly the city of Vienna in Roth’s novels will be examined. In his novels, particularly „Landläufiger Tod“ (1982), „Am Abgrund“ (1986), „Der Plan“ and „Das Labyrinth“, we read about Vienna in the context of literary stories, characters, and moods. This study will analyze the connections and contrasts between Roths factual-photographic portrait of the city of Vienna and his literary portraits of the city, as well as how and why he puts the city of Vienna to literary uses in his works of art.   

 

Among many other literary, essayistic and photographic books between 1972 and today, the prolific author Gerhard Roth, born in 1942, published two large mosaic-like book cycles,

Die Archive des Schweigens, which includes a book of photographs of rural Austria, Im tiefen Österreich (1994) where many of its fictional components are set, and Orkus. The Orkus series includes five similar novels published between 1995 and 2004; all combine elements of the detective story, the travelogue and the contemporary psychological Bildungsroman. The final Orkus volume, of 2009, however, is different. Titled Die Stadt. Entdeckungen im Inneren von Wien, it is a collection of reports, full of statistics and facts. It can be viewed as a continuation and expansion of a similar non-fiction piece from the first book cycle, Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien, 1994. In 2010 Roth published a massive book of photographs of the city, Im unsichtbaren Wien. The titles of these three volumes on Vienna express Roth’s mission to explore and reveal interior, secret, hidden, often ugly, cruel or pathological aspects of the city, including remnants of its Nazi past, that are ordinarily invisible to visitors, or even residents. However, an analysis of Roth’s portrayal of Vienna in these volumes and in his use of the city as a setting for works of fiction, reveals ambivalence; affection and admiration are evident and neither the exterior, the visible parts, nor the beauties of the city are excluded. His books exploring the city, in addition to exposing negative truths, also contain a great deal of objectively reported historical and descriptive material. Ironically, Roth both protests against and at the same time zealously participates in the processes of packaging and displaying fascinating and sensational aspects of the city for tourists and other outsiders, collecting, cataloging, and arranging items (and sometimes people) according to traditional methods of such institutions as museums, libraries, and art galleries, and incorporating, as would any commercial marketer of the metropolis, the importance of historical material within present-day portraits of the city.  

Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien (1994) opens with a quotation of Goethe referring to the human tendency to look at the smooth surface of a frozen sea without investigating how deep it is or what kinds of fish are swimming around under the ice. The back cover of the volume provides a possible sub-title: “Ein Reiseführer durch die Abgründe der österreichischen Seele.” To some extent, the word “Reiseführer” or travel guide trivializes Roth’s aims in exposing hidden truths about Vienna since travel guides are not artworks or scholarly sources, but superficial, unabashedly biased promotional texts. Moreover, the project of bringing hidden truths to light is compromised here by the likelihood that a travel guide to the interior of Vienna will be used as supplemental to others, adding to traditional stereotypical images of Vienna but possibly leaving them unquestioned and intact.

The back cover of “Ein Reiseführer” also quotes a newspaper review saying that in this book, Roth “besichtigt das Totenreich des kollektiven Bewußtseins. Er wandert mit Freud im Tornister durch eine Unterwelt, deren Verdrängung Ausdruck einer kollektiven Neurose ist.” Roth refers to Freud in a key essay in the volume, “Die zweite Stadt” (14-31) which opens with the report that the anthropologist Pohanka found a man who had evidently been buried alive under the famous Minoritenkirche; Pokanka alluded to secret, fearful realms behind Vienna’s beautiful surface. Roth comments, “Der Gedanke ist naheliegend, daß Sigmund Freud seine Entdekkungen (sic) zwangssläufig in Wien machen mußte” (14). Roth goes on to report facts about deep and extensive underground labyrinths and catacombs, some still existing, some blocked off, linking many of Vienna’s famous buildings. These networks offered protection during World War II as well as during the Turkish invasions in 1529 and 1683. Secrets of history, buried truths, the fascinating idea of an underground labyrinthean city, and the subconscious mind are all effectively linked by this constellation of images and ideas, which have also been linked in the texts mentioned to the probing sciences of psychology and anthropology. The essay “Die zweite Stadt” reports on underground displays featuring members of the Imperial Habsburg family stored in elaborately decorated coffins, many of their organs in silver urns, as well as numerous unidentified corpses, Imperial wine cellars, and eerie webs of sewers and canals. Also featured are descriptions of underground portions of two institutions revisited in several of Roth’s other fictional and non-fiction books, the museum and the library. Both are among the major buildings of mainstream above-ground Vienna. Well-known and often-visited monuments of the famous Ringstrasse area are not only government, educational and cultural edifices, but repositories of great national collections, the National Library and twin museums featuring Art History and Natural History. Here Roth emphasizes the size of their underground realms, suggesting that visitors could get lost in them, and they may contain remote, seldom visited strange and secret sections, perhaps decomposed and rotting horrors. Some items, such as books by Jewish writers hidden from Nazi censors were stored for safekeeping in the underground library during World War II. Turning to underground museum realms, we learn: “Ein weiteres Depot für Versatzstücke von Alpträumen befindet sich im Keller des Naturhistorischen Museums am Burgring. 70 000 präparierte Fische: Haie, Rochen, Muränen sind dort in Glasgefäßen senkrecht bestattet. In der Fischsammlung ein Stockwerk höher lagern noch einmal1 70 000 tote Artisten eines vergessenen Naturzirkusses. . . . Beim Anblick dieser häufig in der Monarchie aus dem Meer gefangenen, seit hundert Jahren aufbewahrten Fische, denkt man an jene schreckhafte Kindheitserfahrung, als man zum ersten Mal mit dem Tod konfrontiert wurde” (21).

Other places described, along with aspects of their history, particularly inhumane practices, are mental hospitals, prisons, an edifice (“Das k.k. privilegierte Hetztheater,” 7-13), used in the eighteenth century as an arena for cruel shows of animal fights, and a report on the Jewish section of Vienna (“Leopoldstädter Requiem,” 46-64) introducing a Jewish holocaust survivor Karl Berger, featured in Roth’s 1994 nonfiction book Die Geschichte der Dunkelheit. A detailed historical report “Der Stephansdom,” (132-180) on Vienna’s iconic cathedral brings out some examples of negative aspects of Austrian Catholicism in history, such as intolerance, anti-Semitism, monarchist anti-democracy, links to nationalism and the Nazi movement, and an Austrian obsession with death. Abundant factual material is also found in the lengthy piece “Im Heeresgeschichtlichen Museum” (181-284), along with such comments as, “Selbstverständlich ist auch das Heeresgeschichtliche Museum eine Stätte, die den österreichischen Hang zur Nekrophilie pflegt” (209). The article “Die Hitlervilla” (89-109) directs the reader to a shelter for homeless men where young Adolf Hitler once lived. Tourists would no doubt enjoy a visit and colorful brochure, except that the place is still operating and not a museum. In the essay’s compassionate portrait of society’s outsiders, warehoused in a dismal institution, a link is implied with the city’s catalogs and collections of books, artwork, weaponry, and souvenirs of the Habsburg Empire.  Roth writes pointedly, “Die Obdachlosen sind die Kaste der Unberührbaren dieser zivilisierten Gesellschaft, die alles wegrationalisiert und saniert. Sie verkörpern die geheime und nun augenscheinlich gewordene Angst, selbst von diesem Schicksal getroffen zu werden”(100). Another passage reads, “Bis heute, denke ich, sind die Menschen . . . nur Statisten in einer von Beamten inszenierten Verwaltung geblieben. Worum es geht, ist, die Pathologie der bürokratischen Ordnung zu beschreiben, denke ich weiter, die unsichtbare Zwangsjacke sichtbar zu machen . . .” (108–109).

Of particular meaning, even inspiration, to Gerhard Roth and his readers is the topic of “Das Haus der schlafenden Vernunft” (52-45) that is, “das Haus der Künstler,” a long-term project of the psychiatrist Leo Navratil at the mental hospital Gugging on the outskirts of Vienna. Numerous artists and some creative writers have benefitted from Navratil’s art therapy there; their talent has made a name for the institute and they have sold many of their creations. Over the years Roth has often visited Gugging, gotten to know many of the patients, supported their artistic careers, and included them in his books. His photographs of them and their art works appear in Eine Reise and Im unsichtbaren Wien, and fictional Gugging patients and staff members are main characters in his novel Das Labyrinth of 2005(1). Unlike many forgotten and isolated institutionalized people, these patients, some quite delusional and with violent pasts, benefit from the expression and recognition of their creativity. Gugging is an institution outside of the normal social order; a society of outsiders removed from mainstream where madness, creativity and crime, salient issues in Roth’s novels, converge and are tamed. The Anstalt also mirrors the city’s galleries and museums by cataloging and displaying both people and art work, and offering pieces of Austrian culture for viewing and sale. Another detail of this essay serves an important goal for Roth, bringing to light hidden traces of Vienna’s Nazi past. On the first page, he writes of a memorial plaque at the institution, “eine Gedenktafel, die an die rund tausend Ermordeten der Gugginger Anstalt erinnert, welche dem Unternehmen ‘Lebensunwertes Leben’ der Nationalsozialisten zum Opfer gefallen sind” (32).

Except for Der See (1995) set outside Vienna at the Neusiedler See, Roth’s Orkus novels are all travel tales that develop their protagonists’ adventures and psychological struggles in other lands, namely Japan, Egypt, Greece, the Balkans and Istanbul, Portugal and Spain, through mystery plots that are rooted in Vienna. In fact, two are rooted in inner Vienna, Der Plan in the National Library on the famous Ringstrasse and Das Labyrinth, in the Hofburg castle complex, both among the most famous tourist attractions of the historical district. Both of their stories are also based on real events. When Der Berg (2000) and Der Strom (2002) open, their Viennese protagonists, Gartner the journalist and Mach the travel agent respectively, have already left Vienna on instructions from their bosses to solve mysteries abroad, Gartner to pursue a political news scoop from a Greek monastic island to Istanbul, and Mach to investigate a colleague’s mysterious suicide or murder and take up her professional duties in Egypt. In these two novels Vienna is a contemporary city with minor importance as a setting and springboard to adventures abroad. 

The protagonist of Der Plan (1998), Konrad Feldt, is an employee of the National Library, a lover of books and maps. The novel opens in the library; its description begins thus: “Der labyrinthische Gebäudekomplex der Nationalbibliotheik, den er während der Arbeit an seiner Dissertation kennengelernt hatte, übertraf alle Vorstellungen, die er sich von ihm gemacht hatte” (10). One morning, as he gazes out the window at the Lippizaner stallions practicing their acts, another library employee calls him to his office. It has been ransacked by authorities searching for a national treasure he is accused of stealing, a scrap of paper bearing Mozart’s signature. The incident is based on an actual theft discovered in 1955. The document from which the autograph was torn may be seen in a photograph in Roth’s Im Unsichtbaren Wien. In the novel, the accused man is guilty. He gives Feldt an envelope containing the valuable item, then shoots himself before his eyes. Eventually Feldt is able to make illegal arrangements to sell the autograph to a Japanese collector, who provides the pretext of inviting him to deliver lectures about the Austrian National Library in Japan. After a series of adventures, Feldt is shot to death in Japan, with the autograph floating away unnoticed in the wind. His ashes are returned to Vienna in a diplomatic pouch.

Das Labyrinth incorporates some international travel into its complicated plot told by several narrators, but is primarily set in Vienna. However, the international dimension of the cultural heritage of Vienna’s museums is emphasized. The character, Dr. Pollanzy, has vivid childhood memories of intriguing masks, weapons, and fetishes from world rituals and religions, for his father was the director of the Imperial Museum für Völkerkunde. Another character, Philipp Stourzh, does research on the Habsburg family’s international background, and on Spanish and Portuguese paintings found in Vienna’s national museum of art history. He also carries with him a postcard purchased form that museum showing a collage portrait of a head surrounded by flames, “Ignis” by an Italian artist, Giuseppe Archimboldos, in 1566. The Viennese labyrinth that is the setting of this novel extends, largely by means of Viennese museum collections and their influence on the novel’s characters, from present day urban reality, into realms of art and fantasy, research and history, and the cultures of other parts of the world.

Like Der Plan, this novel takes a real event as a starting point, a fire in the Hofburg in 1995. In this fictional version, the fire is set by Stourzh, a shrewd and creative but disturbed Gugging patient. Book I of the novel, on the fire, is narrated by the patient’s psychiatrist, Dr. Pollanzy, director of the Gugging Anstalt, who resides in an apartment in the ancient Hofburg complex. The suspenseful tale of the fire is engrossing indeed for readers familiar with the Hofburg and surrounding area of the inner city, for numerous famous streets, buildings, and parks are vividly described; some of the famous Lippizaner horses even escape the fire and run loose in the streets. In his mind, the psychiatrist catalogs collections of the national legacy threatened by the flames, grimly aware that  he had known of his patient’s attraction to fire; perhaps he could have prevented the disaster. Moreover, the fire may have been directed at him. He reveals, “Philip sah . . . in mir, jemanden, der sich der Frage nach den Folgen des Nationalsozialismus nicht genügend stellte und statt dessen einem idealistischen Geschichtsbild nachhing. Die Hofburg mußte für ihn geradezu ein Symbol für meine geistige Haltung sein, noch dazu, wo ich in ihr wohnte und diese Wohnung gewissermaßen geerbt hatte” (51). An Epilog to Book I claims that Pollanzy’s text was actually written by the arsonist himself, who tells his motivation for the arson, “Ich dachte, ich werde ganz Österreich von seiner Geschichte befreien. Wenn die Hofburg abbrannte, würde auch die Vergangenheit so weit zurückliegen wie das Römische Reich” (140).  However, Stourzh is himself an historian interested in Austria’s past, the international collections of art history housed in Vienna’s national museum, and his own family history. He wrote a master’s thesis on Velásquez’ paintings and he does extensive research in Vienna and Portugal to learn about his own great-grandmother, a governess for the family of Franz Josef, the last Habsburg Emperor. This novel incorporates the familiar pattern of launching Viennese protagonists from Vienna on international sojourns of mystery and adventure; however, this sojourn to an international psychiatric conference in Spain is a relatively minor part of a mainly Viennese plot. 

In the essays of Die Stadt Roth revisits the national library and Museum of Natural History, as well as the Neusiedler See, and writes on other museums which display Imperial and literary treasures, clocks and items related to judicial medicine. He also describes his own house and neighborhood and includes an Epilogue devoted to the Central Graveyard. New are essays on several institutions that are not museums but homes for living people in certain categories: schools for the blind and deaf and a contemporary refugee camp. The first two lengthy and extensively researched essays not only describe the education of the handicapped in contemporary Vienna, but also provide information on their depiction in art and literature, their status in other societies and past centuries, and important milestones in the development of assistance and education for the handicapped. In the essay on deafness, Roth quotes his father, a physician, telling him about the physiology of hearing, recalls his own attempts to learn sign language, and his mother’s deafness after a stroke. Blind and deaf individuals are among the forgotten and marginalized individuals Roth wishes to include in his portraits of Vienna, but these objective essays are not exposes of poor treatment in the schools depicted. They do reveal that the schools were closed by the Nazis, who also had many Viennese blind people sterilized or put to death. Roth’s compassion for the handicapped and respect for their educators and caretakers underlies his objective tone; he does not associate these individuals or institutions with eerie moods, underground horrors or a national neurotic subconscious.

One essay in Die Stadt does express a political and humanitarian protest, an expose of a forgotten group of outsiders living, most indefinitely, in the refugee camp Traiskirchen, an old set of barracks outside of Vienna, out of sight of the bustling city. Roth tells of visiting the camp, where hundreds of refugees from many countries are housed in crowded and squalid conditions. He provides grim statistics on the residents’ backgrounds. Many have fled violent and unstable environments in Africa in which men have no hope of employment and families sell their teen-aged daughters just to survive. Others have sought to escape from violence, anti-Semitism and poverty in Eastern Europe. Conditions for the refugees in the camp outside Vienna are poor, with crime and prostitution rampant. Most residents have no papers; traffickers have taken their passports and they have endured terrible odysseys involving hunger, rape, theft, separation from loved ones, and an uncertain future. Those who did not die along the way have attained the longed-for Paradise that turns out to be the grim and hopeless Traiskirchen camp.

Many of the buildings and scenes of Vienna found in Roth’s earlier volumes appear again in Im unsichtbaren Wien, which includes photographs taken by the author between 1986 and 2009. The dust jacket mentions “zahlreiche verborgene Orte” and tells us: “Ein anderes Wien wird so sichtbar, das Wien der unbekannten, geheimen, der vergessenen, der tabuisierten Orte. Das Wien der Mauerflecken, eine Welt imaginärer Landkarten, die Roth mit großer Leidenschaft für sich entdeckt hat.” Once again, a primary goal of Roth’s excavation of the city is to bring out the secret and forgotten, the taboo and shocking, to reveal what is not shown in the attractive portraits designed to promote the city; references to Freud and the city’s subconscious encourage this interpretation. An essay in the volume of photographs by Daniela Bartens is pertinent. She writes, “Der Autor als Archäologe und Analytiker muss sich aufmachen, jenes Nicht-Offensichtliche, Darunterliegende anhand der Risse, Brüche, Diskontinuitäten und Spuren an die Oberfläche zu holen, um so das im geschichtlichen Prozess Vergessene und Verdrängte wieder sichtbar zu machen” (290-291). However, such revelations do not comprise the only motivation for Roth’s investigations of the city. His zealous explorations have led him to his rather eccentric project of literally photographing numerous “Mauerflecken” in the city, and he reports in an essay “Wiener Spaziergang” in the book of photographs on his attempts to include all possible perspectives: “Wien ist wie ein Gemälde, das man aus einiger Entfernung oder mit der Lupe betrachten kann” (7). He tells of visiting places and trying to imagine the thoughts of Franz Kafka or Sigmund Freud when they were there. Another passage tells of his repeated visits to certain places in the city, with different goals in mind at different times: “Ich bin auch häufig in den Narrenturm gegangen, anfangs, um zu sehen, wie man früher die Geisteskranken behandelte, später, um im Anatomisch-Pathologischen Bundesmuseum furchterregende Präparate menschlicher Fehlentwicklungen zu studieren, die Fabelwesen gleichen und in Mythologien und Märchen eine Rolle spielen”(7). This passage is significant, for it reveals the significance of repeated visits to places to perceive more and learn different things about them; also mentioned are motivations to expose inhumane institutional treatment of powerless individuals, to undertake objective scientific study of the city and its history, and finally to explore mythological and fairy-tale realms evoked during these projects. The author and photographer can only produce his writings and picture collections of the city by repeated and diverse exposure to significant locales and by incorporating the methods of the fact- and scandal-seeking journalist, the historian, depth psychologist, and sensitive tracer of mythology and fairy tale (and, we may add, tourist brochure writer and tour guide). In an essay “Bildersammler in der Speicherstadt” included in Im unsichtbaren Wien Martin Behr writes of Roth the photographer, his purposefulness, thoroughness and attention to detail, out of which a panorama is built, as well as his awareness of history, which he calls “eine ständige Begleiterin” (282). Behr also mentions the connection of all Roth’s research and reproduction of the city to his literary creation: “Was Roth will, ist das Unbekannte, das Fremde (dieser Stadt) erkennbar zu machen und das in erster Linie als Material für seine literarische Arbeit. Er will Augenblicke bewahren, aus Blicken entstandene Empfindungen festhalten” (282).  

Not everyone would be inclined to apply such exalted words to Roth’s Mauerflecken project. Photographing random words, numbers, and marks, as well as patches and stains on walls throughout the city has produced some interesting images, but viewing them as constituting a meaningful portrait of the city could seem either ridiculous and sophomoric or simply a dead end. However, it does evoke some thoughts about the intersection of visual and verbal arts. To the verbally oriented audience, the Mauerflecken collection seems to imply that some meaning can be gleaned from such images, that they are in fact a secret code. Readers who try to trace the threads of signs, clues, mysteries, and paranoid thoughts in Roth’s novels know that some are dead-ends that do not lead to any revelations. For example, Thomas Mach in Der Strom, while visiting pyramids in Egypt, thinks of tattoos he has seen on pictures of Maori tribesmen’s faces and relates them to lines in a map he recalls seeing in Vienna and lines in his own face. These signs may tell us something about the free association characterizing Thomas Mach’s thoughts, but they seem to reject and even mock the reader’s zeal to analyze the meaning of everything in linguistic terms. The Mauerflecken are one of Roth’s opaque codes, this one accessible as visual art, but not to be deciphered by analysis or forced to yield meaningful letters or words that tell us some secrets about the past or present of the city of Vienna.

In conclusion, it seems safe to assume that Gerhard Roth will continue to visit and re-visit, study and ponder, photograph and write about both famous places and hidden corners of Vienna for some years to come. He could turn his enormous familiarity with the city to use by writing travel guides or conducting tours of the real Vienna behind the scenes, or establish an interesting museum featuring his 10,000 photographs of Vienna with a special room devoted to his dozens of pictures of Mauerflecken. Many of his readers, however, would probably think that his talents and his research would be best put to use by writing another series of novels set in the city of Vienna whose exterior and interior, present and past, he loves and hates so much and knows and senses and wonders and asks so much about.

 

Works Cited:

  • Bartens, Daniela. “(T)Räume der Zeit. Gerhard Roths Die Stadt im Kontext seines Orkus-Zyklus.” Gerhard Roth. Im unsichtbaren Wien: Fotografien aus Wien von 1986-2009.Ed. Daniela Bartens and Martin Behr. Wien: Christian Brandstätter Verlag, 2010: 290-294.
  • Behr, Martin. “Bildersammler in der Speicherstadt. Von der Schönheit im Nebensächlichen, der Allgegenwart der Historie und der Dominanz der Vanitas: Anmerkungen zu den Wien-Fotografien von Gerhard Roth.” Im unsichtbaren Wien: 282-285.
  • Roth, Gerhard. Die Archive des Schweigens. (Band1 Im tiefen Österreich, 1994; Bd. 2 Der Stille Ozean, 1992; Bd. 3 LandläufigerTod, Bd. 4 Am Abgrund, 1994; Bd. 5 Der Untersuchungsrichter, 1992; Bd. 6 Die Geschichte der Dunkelheit, 1994, and Bd. 7 Eine Reise in das Innere von Wien, 1994). Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag.
  • —. Orkus. (Der See, 1995; Der Plan, 1998; Der Berg, 2000; Der Strom, 2002; Das Labyrinth, 2005; and Die Stadt: Entdeckungen im Inneren von Wien, 2009. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer.
  • —. “Wiener Spaziergang.” Im unsichtbaren Wien: 7-8.

 


Note:

1 Pamela S. Saur: „The Significance of the Asylum Gugging in Gerhard Roth’s Archive des Schweigens and Das Labyrinth“. Crime and Madness in Modern Austrian Literature. Myth,Metaphor, and Cultural Realities. Ed. Rebecca Thomas. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2008: 244–266.

 


TRANS  Inhalt | Table of Contents 18. Nr. INST


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Pamela S. Saur: The City of Vienna in the Works of Gerhard Roth –
In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 18/2011.
WWW: http://www.inst.at/trans/18Nr/plenum/saur18.htm Webmeister: Gerald Machlast change: 2011-06-17