The collapse of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918 galvanized discussion about national identity in the new Republic of Austria. As Robert Pyrah shows in this thoroughly documented study, the complex identity politics of interwar Austria were played out in the theatres of Vienna, which enjoyed a cultural prominence rarely matched in other countries. By 1934, productions across the city were being co-opted to serve the newly patriotic cause of the Dollfuss and Schuschnigg regimes, and the Burgtheater, once known as the first German stage, had been transformed into a national theatre for Austria. Using case studies of key productions and a wealth of previously unseen archival material, Pyrah sheds new light on artistic and ideological developments throughout the period, including the neglected earlier years. He documents previously unexplored overlaps in the cultural programmes of Left and Right, and unearths evidence that key institutions were subverted by the Right well before the suspension of parliamentary rule in 1933.
Table of Contents
Heimat in Context: The Cultural Politics of Heimat in the First Republic, 1918-1934 11
Heimat on Stage: Karl Schonherr, a Dramatist for all Regimes, 1918-1939 35
Expressionism: A Case Study, 1920s 52
Catholicism: A Benchmark for 'Austrian' Culture, 1918-1930 63
Neo-Historicism and the Rise of the Right: Representations of Austrian History on the Viennese Stage, 1929-1933 118
Theatre as Tribunal: Authoritarian Rule and the 'Austrian' Ideology, 1934-1938 178