Fin-de-siecle Vienna was a special place at a special time, a city in which the decadent abandon of the era commingled with dark forebodings of the coming century. The artistic and intellectual ferment of the Austrian capital was extraordinary and included Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Arthur Schnitzler, Theodor Herzl, Gustav Klimt and Ludwig Wittgenstein - but a few of figures who lived and worked there. And, in September 1897, into the very midst of this milieu, came Mark Twain. Although most of Twain's biographers have mentioned his Viennese sojourn (occasioned by his daughter Clara's musical studies), it has remained an unexplored hiatus in his career. Partly because of impressions created by Twain himsef, the 20 months he spent in Vienna are often dismissed as uneventful and unproductive. In "Our Famous Guest" Carl Dolmetsch believes the truth to be otherwise. According to this book, Twain imbibed freely of Vienna's atmosphere, and the result was a final surge of creativity. Among the 30 works that came, either whole or in part, from Twain's Austrian visit were the Socratic dialogue "What is Man?" , sections of his autobiography, Book 1 of "Christian Science", the short story "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg", the polemical essay "Concerning the Jews" and a major portion of the manuscript cluster known as "The Mysterious Stranger". A Dolmetsch notes, conventional wisdom attributes the "bitter pessimism" of these late writings to such factors as his personal bereavements and financial reversals. Rejecting this view as oversimplified, Dolmetsch argues that the transformation in Twain's outlook and writing style owe much to the cultural currents he encountered abroad, above all in Vienna. He suggests that Twain was especially responsive to a peculiarly Viennese blend of nihilism and hedonism and to the "impressionistic" style favoured by its writers. In locating these influences, Dolmetsch portrays a Mark Twain more cosmopolitan than some other studies. Through research in Viennese newspaper reports and Twain's own journals and writings, Dolmetsch reconstructs the writer's visit. The narrative includes stories of Twain's manipulation of the Viennese press, his involvements in the city's musical and theatrical life, the attacks he endured from anti-Semitic journalists and even his futile attempts to obtain marketing rights to two inventions by a polish engineer. One chapter ponders the riddle of Twain's association with Freud (who was then virtually unknown outside of Vienna) and their congruent facination with the relationship between dreams and "reality".
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This meticulously researched and detailed account of Twain's 20-month stay in fin-de-siecle Vienna offers convincing evidence that the pessimism and despair of his late, now mostly neglected, work spring not from personal misfortune but from his immersion in that city's cultural nihilism. Portraying a legendary Vienna in a legendary time, Dolmetsch offers a Twain who was not, in the last decade of his life, simply a soured and artistically failing victim of circumstance but a mentally active, productive writer whose late works are worth reevaluating. This is no innocent, buffoonish American abroad but a thoughtful world-class writer on a European stage. Recommended for most libraries.
- Charles C. Nash, Cottey Coll., Nevada, Mo.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descrizione libro University of Georgia Press (Athens), 1992. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. 1st Edition. First edition, first printing. Hardbound. NEW! Fine in a fine dust jacket. A tight, clean copy, unread. NOT price-clipped. Comes with archival-quality mylar dust jacket protector. Shipped in well padded box. UNIV-SALE. Codice libro della libreria UNIVERSITY-PRESS-SALE-02
Descrizione libro Univ of Georgia Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0820314587
Descrizione libro Univ of Georgia Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0820314587
Descrizione libro Univ of Georgia Pr, 1992. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110820314587
Descrizione libro Univ of Georgia Pr. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0820314587 New Condition. Codice libro della libreria NEW6.0506272
Descrizione libro Condizione libro: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Codice libro della libreria 97808203145871.0