Reading Mahler: German Culture and Jewish Identity in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

Reading Mahler: German Culture and Jewish Identity in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

by Carl Niekerk
Pub. Date:
Boydell & Brewer, Limited


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Reading Mahler: German Culture and Jewish Identity in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

Gustav Mahler's music is more popular than ever, and yet little is known about its roots in German literary and cultural history in general, and in fin-de-siècle Viennese culture in particular. 'Reading Mahler' seeks to remedy this deficit, particularly in view of the interest the centennial of Mahler's death in 2011 will certainly generate. Taking as its point of departure the many references to literature, philosophy, and the visual arts that Mahler uses to illustrate the meaning of his music, 'Reading Mahler' is designed for a broad readership; it helps audiences, critics, and those interested in musical and cultural history understand the context and meaning of the literary, philosophical, and visual references in Mahler's music and thinking that may have been self evident to middle-class Viennese a hundred years ago but are largely forgotten today. It shows that Mahler's oeuvre, in spite of its reliance on texts and images from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is far more indebted to fin-de-siècle modernism and to an eclectic, proto-avantgardist agenda than previously realized. Furthermore, 'Reading Mahler' is the first book to make Mahler's position within German-Jewish culture its analytical center. It also probes Mahler's problematic relationship with the musical and textual legacy of Richard Wagner, often overlooked in existing scholarship. By integrating newer approaches in humanistic research — cultural studies, gender studies, and Jewish studies — 'Reading Mahler' exposes Mahler's critical view of German cultural history and offers a new understanding of his music.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571134677
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture Series
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Carl Niekerk is Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, the Program in Comparative and World Literature, and the Program in Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Illinois / Urbana Champaign

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