Ghosts of Imperial Vienna
4. Habsburg Nostalgia as Postmemory, and What Comes After
Habsburg nostalgia has long been defined by scholars like Larry Wolff (in The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture) in the sense identified by Svetlana Boym in The Future of Nostalgia (2002)—as a force connecting national history/biography with personal identities. Wolff highlights nationalism; Boym stresses how nostalgic memories of the past set the path toward a future.1 As we have seen in the case of Rebecca West, however, the imperial history of the Habsburgs as seen from the mid-twentieth century offered anything but positive nostalgia, except as the narrative of trauma and decadence.
This chapter will thus reconsider “Habsburg nostalgia” as a different kind of collective narrative: as a complex case of post-memory aimed not at the nations of the world, but at post-World-War-II Austria itself. The nostalgic images of Wien anno dazumal, fin de siècle Vienna, and the purported humanism of art and Josephinism that proliferate after the Second World War cannot be considered attempts to create a postwar Austria in the image of a mythic past—neither Habsburg history itself nor the allies’ memories of it sustain that fuction Instead, I will address them as more complicated acts of public memory aimed at tying individual experience back into an Austrian collective space of public discussion about historical legacies.
← 61 | 62 → The most public early example claimed for Habsburg postwar nostalgia is the 1952 film by Wolfgang Georg Louis Liebeneiner, 1. April 2000, supposedly made to help argue...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.