Ghosts of Imperial Vienna
5. “Glücklich ist, wer [nicht] vergißt”: From Broadway to the Necropolis
From Broadway to the Necropolis
Beyond purported Habsburg nostalgia, Austria’s “popular culture” of Austria since the Second World War has scarcely existed in the international mind, offering little beyond Falco and “Rock Me, Amadeus,”1 or, more recently, Arnold Schwarzenegger.2 To be sure, Vienna has, in most traditional terms, relaunched itself internationally as an arts center by the inauguration of its Museumviertel, the expanded Museum Quarter around the Hofburg in Vienna. Yet that transformation has handled Austria’s image only in terms of modern monumentalism, not in other aspects of the culture industry. Nonetheless, as the previous chapter suggests, Austrian culture producers have been adept at using popular culture to recast history for present public discussions. Just as the very name of the nation was based on a manipulation of documents, on a kind of postmodernism avant la lettre, Austria’s many official images have never remained the exclusive property of its various hegemonies.3
To be sure, the Habsburg family never eschewed historical cultures: for instance, it tied its own lineage to Aeneas4 and happily created new ceremonies on historical models, such as when it needed investiture ceremonies for the Throne of St. Stephen, after the 1867 Compromise that created a Hungarian Parliament (including new but purportedly traditional Hungarian “court dress” that was a fantasy reimagination of then-current fashions). In this vein, Franz Joseph and Elisabeth’s 1879 silver anniversary celebration was designed by the painter Hans ← 95 | 96 → Makart (1840–1884) as a pageant of the Renaissance bourgeoisie...
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