Class, Art, and «Socialism» in Post-War Austria
Chapter One - Thomas Bernhard’s Anti-Proletarian Screed: The “Politische Morgenandacht” in its Historical Context 5
Chapter One Thomas Bernhard’s Anti-Proletarian Screed: The “Politische Morgenandacht” in its Historical Context What is history to me? Mine is the first and only world.1 — Wittgenstein Wie sehr diese Bücher die Zeit zeigen, was sie gar nicht beabsichtigen, wird eine spätere erkennen. — Ingeborg Bachmann (361) 1 Critics of Thomas Bernhard have occasionally suggested that something is lacking in the scholarly response to his work; that somehow, for all the hundreds – possibly thousands – of books and articles written on Bern- hard’s work, something important – perhaps even primary – has been obscured.2 It is my contention that this res abscondita is the working class presence. On ref lection, however, it should come as no surprise that the proletariat is an important factor in Bernhard’s oeuvre. After all, First-Republic Aus- tria had been driven to civil war by class conf lict, leading to the right-wing totalitarian governments of Dollfuss and Schuschnigg, which waged war 1 Janik and Toulman 243. 2 See the citation from an essay by Wendelin Schmidt-Dengler in note 12, below. 6 Chapter One on the working class, first politically and then by the resort to force.3 The 1938 Anschluss had, in large part, been directed against the proletariat and had decimated the left. Later there were significant class struggles around the wage/price agreements in the early post-war period, to cite a few high- profile proletarian metonyms. One result of these conf licts was the “conso- ciational” nature of the Second Republic, which had as its raison d’être the...
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