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A century ago, Vienna and Budapest were the capital cities of the western and eastern halves of the increasingly unstable Austro-Hungarian empire and scenes of intense cultural activity. Vienna was home to such figures as Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt, and Hugo von Hofmannsthal; Budapest produced such luminaries as B‚la Bart¢k, Georg Luk cs, and Michael and Karl Polanyi. However, as P‚ter Han k shows in these vignettes of Fin-de-Si‚cle life, the intellectual and artistic vibrancy common to the two cities emerged from deeply different civic cultures.Han k surveys the urban development of the two cities and reviews the effects of modernization on various aspects of their cultures. He examines the process of physical change, as rapid population growth, industrialization, and the rising middle class ushered in a new age of tenements, suburbs, and town planning. He investigates how death and its rituals--once the domain of church, family, and local community--were transformed by the commercialization of burials and the growing bureaucratic control of graveyards. He explores the mentality of common soldiers and their families--mostly of peasant origin--during World War I, detecting in letters to and from the front a shift toward a revolutionary mood among Hungarians in particular. He presents snapshots of such subjects as the mentality of the nobility, operettas and musical life, and attitudes toward Germans and Jews, and also reveals the striking relationship between social marginality and cultural creativity.In comparing the two cities, Han k notes that Vienna, famed for its spacious parks and gardens, was often characterized as a "garden" of esoteric culture. Budapest, however, was a dense city surrounded by factories, whose cultural leaders referred to the offices and caf‚s where they met as "workshops." These differences were reflected, he argues, in the contrast between Vienna's aesthetic and individualistic culture and Budapest's more moralistic and socially engaged approach. Like Carl Schorske's famous Fin-de-Si‚cle Vienna, Han k's book paints a remarkable portrait of turn- of-the-century life in Central Europe. Its particular focus on mass culture and everyday life offers important new insights into cultural currents that shaped the course of the twentieth century.
About the Author
Péter Hanák was, until his death in 1997, Professor of History at the Central European University in Budapest.
Read an Excerpt
The Garden and the Workshop
Essays on the Cultural History of Vienna and Budapest
By Péter Hanák
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESSCopyright © 1998 Princeton University Press
All rights reserved.
URBANIZATION AND CIVILIZATION: VIENNA AND BUDAPEST IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Urbanization and the Shaping of City Centers
The existence of a link between modern urbanization and the processes of embourgeoisement, the rise of the middle class, can be taken as self-evident. It hardly needs proving that the expansion of the production of goods and development of capitalist production were the underlying requirement and main stimulus for modern urbanization, and that the resulting urban development differed in kind from medieval development. Modern urbanization, with its complete openness, dynamic expansion, and fast acceleration, differed indeed from the slow growth or frequent stagnation of medieval and early modern times, when towns were still surrounded by walls, privileges, and other constraints. So one requirement before urbanization could begin, in the mid- to late eighteenth century, was for the walls, privileges, and restrictions to come down and for the common lands of the town to be parceled out as building land. Another was for citizens to acquire civil rights. A third was for the functions of a capitalist economy and bourgeois administration and culture to begin a steady process of development. A nineteenth-century metropolis was no longer just an artisan settlement and a marketplace. It was an administrative, legislative, and cultural center, tending increasingly to fashion a way of life and cast of mind that served as the pattern for society as a whole.
With the process of embourgeoisement, modern cities gained a new functional structure and economic and social topography. Corresponding with the pace and depth of embourgeoisement, there was a steady division of job from home, public from private life. The business center and office area became separate from the shopping, trade, and industrial areas. These in turn became increasingly divorced from the residential areas, which for their part took on a variety of social complexions, and provided socially and visually an accurate topographical guide to the character, consistency, and culture of the city or quarter. This separation of the manufacturing, commercial, administrative, and cultural zones from the residential areas presupposes a developed infrastructure and a high degree of mobility.
There were no walls or dikes, however, to make a sharp dividing line between a preindustrial town and a modern city. There was normally a continuity, in fortunate cases an integral one, between the two types and periods—which again is a self-evident, easily verified statement. Vienna, the rich, privileged burgher town of the Middle Ages, developed continuously in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from a protector of the Hungarian border castles and bastion of the power of the Habsburgs into a resplendent Baroque capital. The development of Buda and Pest became stunted at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and paralyzed by the subsequent Ottoman occupation. They rose again out of the dust and ruins to form a commercial burgher town, and to a lesser extent an administrative center, through a great process of reconstruction in the eighteenth century. The growth was remarkable even in the preparatory stages: an estimated population of 20,000 became 50,000 by the time of the Josephine census in 1787, and 60,000 by the turn of the next century. The physical expansion and planned "embellishment" of the city began. All this was provincial and meager, however, by comparison with the imperial capital. Vienna's preurbanization period began as soon as the Turkish siege was broken in 1683, so that its population reached 100,000 in 1700. With 233,000 inhabitants in 1800, it ranked as Europe's third largest city after London (one million) and Paris (over half a million), with which it could vie in terms of its power, refinement, urban character, and cultural creative force. Pest-Buda's 60,000 or so inhabitants, on the other hand, lived in almost as many buildings as Vienna's 233,000 citizens: 5,600 as opposed to 6,600. Its public buildings, educational institutions, and university were provincial in character, freshly founded or still only dreams in the minds of ardent patriots. The central importance of Vienna was beyond dispute. There were strong walls around the old city with real fortified bastions and a moat, a 500-yard military parade area or glacis without buildings in front of it, and even a wide masonry wall thirteen feet high to protect the suburbs—the Linienwall, along the line of today's outer ring road, the Gtirtel. Curiously, this had been built not against the Turks, but in 1704 against the forays and incursions of the Hungarian insurrectionist "kuruc" forces.
If some worthy counselor of Maria Theresa had extrapolated the trend of development from the initial signs of urbanization in his time, he would have logically predicted that Vienna would enjoy a place in the front rank of Europe, while Pest, on the edge of the Hungarian plains, would have secondary status, as the economic and cultural center of an agricultural province. The course of history often belies such logic, even with a process such as urbanization, strongly determined by material factors. In the event, the relative rates and intensities of development in Vienna and Pest-Buda were reversed in the first period of urbanization, which extended from the French wars to the revolution of 1848.
Pest and Buda began to pick up only in the second half of the eighteenth century, during Maria Theresa's reign. Even then they were small provincial towns by comparison with the Baroque splendor of the imperial capital, and even when compared with Pressburg, proud venue of the Hungarian Diets, or Debrecen, with its traditions of national identity. Although the royal court had moved to Pest in 1723, and the university established by Cardinal-Archbishop Péter Pázmány moved to Buda in 1777 and a few years later to Pest, Joseph II chose the quieter, more secluded Buda as his administrative seat, leaving Pest as a bustling commercial market town. As yet no thought was given to merging them. Pest especially spread quickly in the second half of the eighteenth century. But Józsefváros and Terézváros, new districts named after members of the royal family, which grew up among the meadows, manors, and gardens to the east of Pest, were still semi-agricultural in character, home to small craftsmen, artisans, workmen, journeymen, and peasant farmers squeezed out of the walled Belváros (downtown), rather than being hotbeds of urbanization.
Pest-Buda started to become a real capital city at the end of the eighteenth century, when the rate of urbanization speeded up, reaching fruition in the Age of Reform in the first half of the nineteenth century. Let us look at the figures. The population of Pest-Buda, including Óbuda (Old Buda), tripled between the 1787 census and 1848, from 50,000 to 150,000. Within this increase, Buda's population grew by 63 percent while Pest's almost quintupled. Development was sluggish, almost stagnant in the districts of Buda, except Krisztinaváros (250 percent), to the west of the historical center on Castle Hill. Development in Pest was fast, but uneven. The population of the original center, Belváros, merely doubled over the half century. That of Józsefváros in the southeast increased two and a half times, and that of Terézváros in the northeast three and a half times; the population of Lipótváros to the north more than quintupled. There is further evidence in the qualitative indices of a shift in the center of gravity. In terms of the proportion and weight of the middle classes, both Belváros and Józsefváros fell back during the half century under consideration, while the middle-class share of the population in Terézváros and Lipótváros increased significantly. The difference between the last two lay in the fact that mainly artisans and petty traders and newly arriving Jewish petty and middle bourgeois settled in Terézváros. Lipótváros attracted more prosperous merchants, public officials, and the intelligentsia. Indeed, it is apparent from the list of first owners of houses and sites and surveys of later house owners that the characteristic strata in Lipótváros society were made up of rich Greek and German merchants, high-ranking public officials, and members of the learned professions—joined later, in Nádor utca (street), by some of the aristocracy and the most mobile sections of the Jewish haute bourgeoisie.
So in terms of origins and character, Lipótváros differed substantially from the old Belváros and the other new parts of the city. With its foundation, the town walls began to be pulled down—Vác Gate was demolished in 1789, Kecskemét Gate in 1794, and Hatvan Gate in 1808. It then took on new functions that Belváros proved no longer capable of fulfilling: a new fairground, wharf, and marketplace were established there, and new stores, hotels, and inns were built, along with a theater and dance hall (Redoute) in the square known today as Vörösmarty tér. Naturally the new district was chosen for the Trade Hall—the later stock exchange—so that this became Pest's "City," the center of the credit institutions and commerce. Certainly in keeping with these new functions and sometimes closely related to them were the attempts to use advance plans and regulations to ensure that there would be broad, orderly streets and squares, and that attention would be paid to outward appearances.
In a matter of decades, rows of three- and four-storied mansions of an urban character went up in and around Színház (now Vörösmarty) tér (square), Nádor tér, Fürdõ (now József Attila) utca and the area of present-day Roosevelt tér. Some of the credit for this planned, aesthetically pleasing development is due to the Embellishment Committee set up by Palatine Joseph in 1808, more still to the plans for the townscape drawn up by János Hild in the same year, and not least to Mihály Pollack, Ferenc Kasselik, and several other excellent architects who designed the new city center.
Another sign of modern urbanization, apart from the arrival of town planning and "embellishment," was the appearance of blocks of apartment houses. These went up in large numbers in Lipótváros, and to a lesser extent in the upper part of Belváros and on the western edge of Terézváros. Apartment buildings are a type of housing characteristic of the capitalist system, built not to satisfy the living and working requirements of one family—the owner and his household—but for gain, as a business venture.
The imposing appearance produced by the first phase of urbanization in Pest is due largely to the simple, noble, uniform Neoclassical style of architecture employed. The style, which became ubiquitous all over Europe at the end of the eighteenth and turn of the nineteenth centuries, marked a departure from the ostentation, ornamentation, and complexity of the princely, aristocratic Baroque. It brought a return to the geometrical archetypes of the Greek and Roman building tradition, emphasizing its calm dignity and architectural evenness and simplicity. This ambition was rooted in the middleclass values held proudly, and not without a measure of dissembling in some cases, by the rising bourgeoisie, which was already dominant in the West. In Central Europe in particular, the style eminently suited the tastes of a nobility that was taking on bourgeois characteristics, and the aspirations of princely courts that were keen to display bourgeois virtues. Classicism can really be seen as the first of the great nineteenth-century revival styles. In this capacity it became a favorite with the Hungarian nobility, so that a somewhat clumsier, more parochial variant of it developed in provincial towns and on country estates.
The popularity of Classicism can also be ascribed to the fact that it was better suited to the multiplied demands of urbanization and the erection of civil offices and apartment houses than the Baroque mansions, which were more closed, expensive, and structurally complex, or Baroque dwelling houses, which were difficult to enlarge. Neoclassical architecture rejected the notion of finely balanced units superimposed on one another, in favor of an ensemble of parts equal in rank and repeatable at will. A Classical façade could be symmetrical in every direction simply by continuing the axes of the windows; it could be extended and expanded in any direction. Thus Classicism came to provide the dominant architectural type for the massive apartment blocks and public buildings of Central Europe.
But in outward appearance and antecedents, blocks of apartment houses and public buildings were derived from two different lines of development. Different types were constituted by the upper-class mansion blocks and by the apartment buildings for the masses. The former displayed inside and out the ornate signs of their origin as an expansion of the medieval burgher's house or the Baroque mansion translated into Neoclassical terms. Meanwhile the "courts" of mass housing, such as Wurm-udvar, Marokko-udvar, Orczyudvar, and so on, harked back to monastic architecture, especially monastic farm buildings. From the latter there developed in Austria during the rise of urbanization what was known as the Grosswohnhof (great residential court). This became a prototype for army barracks and for working-class tenements during the post-1867 period of the Dual Monarchy, and produced a rather poignant affinity between them.
Apartment blocks differed from burghers' houses in the size of the dwellings and their arrangement. The flats, in line with their new functions, were small in scale, with an average of three to six rooms of much reduced size. But they were more intimate and less disturbed by noise from work or outside life than the dwellings of earlier periods. If there were a more elegant reception room at all, it would not be a sumptuous one. Visitors were normally received in the afternoon. Full-scale soirées were ruled out by the size of the rooms and the difficulties of illuminating them with candles or rush lights.
There is not a large body of materials or research to draw upon for information on living habits during the first phase of urbanization in Budapest. A general type can be reconstructed clearly enough, however, from contemporary descriptions and from some exemplary works of Viennese art history. A rented apartment, sheltering behind a Classical façade and furnished in Biedermeier style, would be eminently convenient and comfortable. There steadily developed a division of functions among the rooms, beginning with the bedroom, which was filled with a double bed and symmetrical furnishings. Illustrations from early in the nineteenth century still commonly show a four-poster or a divan in the parlor, but from the 1840s onward, more depictions of separate bedrooms are found. The separate drawing room known as the "ladies' room" also appeared, but in general the dining room and drawing room were not separate in the middle-class homes of the period. Affluent families had a separate nursery as well, although this tended to be a miniature of an adult's room, with a little bed and a great many mixed pieces of furniture.
The most cogent and lasting legacy of the Biedermeier life style is its furniture and fittings. In fact the furniture style also sprang from Classicism. As Georg Himmelheber says, "Its anthology of forms was ultimately created by Antiquity." Surfaces are flat, and decorative elements are developed out of geometrical shapes; it is more comfortable in every way than the rigid forms of the Empire style, having elegant curves and upholstered seats, couches, and armchairs. It also differed from the previous and subsequent styles, respectively, by being no longer artist-designed and not yet mass-produced. Craftsmen made these pieces of furniture by hand, for bourgeois families of the same social standing as themselves. The favored suite in this style consists of a couch and armchairs, or chairs arranged about a round or oval table, suggesting the intimacy of a family or group of friends. A typical piece of comfortable furniture in the period was a rocking chair with a footstool; a glass cabinet or shelved stand would be used for display.
Excerpted from The Garden and the Workshop by Péter Hanák. Copyright © 1998 Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission of PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS.
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Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introductory Reflections on Cultural History
Ch. 1 Urbanization and Civilization: Vienna and Budapest in the Nineteenth Century 3
Ch. 2 The Image of the Germans and the Jews in the Hungarian Mirror of the Nineteenth Century 44
Ch. 3 The Garden and the Workshop: Reflections on Fin-de-Siecle Culture in Vienna and Budapest 63
Ch. 4 The Alienation of Death in Budapest and Vienna at the Turn of the Century 98
Ch. 5 The Start of Endre Ady's Literary Career (1903-1905) 110
Ch. 6 The Cultural Role of the Vienna-Budapest Operetta 135
Ch. 7 Social Marginality and Cultural Creativity in Vienna and Budapest (1890-1914) 147
Ch. 8 Vox Populi: Intercepted Letters in the First World War 179