The publication of the second half of John Domini’s essay on postmodern fiction is a great occasion to talk about The Weather Fifteen Years Ago, which I finished over the weekend. I think it would fit in comfortably somewhere between Michael Martone and Zeroville as a book that absolutely thrives off of metanarrative and modern entertainment culture but that also manages to fit in quite a bit of what would generally be construed as novelistic.
The book is written in the form of a series of interviews with an author named Wolf Haas (also the name . . . continue reading, and add your comments
This essay on several recent books by or about Kafka turns up this gem from the ossified Austro-Hungarian empire:
At the fin de siècle, the state bureaucracy already held considerable sway over people’s lives and selves, and Kafka wrote from the center of the age’s contradictions and anxieties. When he assumed his position at the Insurance Institute in 1908, after having spent a dismal year in the employ of Assicurazioni Generali, an Italian insurer, the Dual Monarchy was groaning under a superabundance of paperwork. Legislation enacted in the 1880s had ushered in the European welfare state, and its . . . continue reading, and add your comments
A couple weeks back I noted that a a great city (Vienna) surrounded by a great empire (Austria-Hungary) deserved great literature. I started making a list of this literature, and readers had no trouble filling in the blanks for me.
So now I present the revised list of great literature of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
First off, I should mention a nonfiction book. It is a guide to fin de siecle Vienna’s politics and culture that I’ve found indispensable, the aptly titled Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture by Carl E. Schorske.
Now on to the literature.
Here are . . . continue reading, and add your comments