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The Austrian Mind

An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938

William M. Johnston (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 540 pages
ISBN: 9780520049550
March 1983
$38.95, £33.00
Part One of this book shows how bureaucracy sustained the Habsburg Empire while inciting economists, legal theorists, and socialists to urge reform. Part Two examines how Vienna's coffeehouses, theaters, and concert halls stimulated creativity together with complacency. Part Three explores the fin-de-siecle world view known as Viennese Impressionism. Interacting with positivistic science, this reverence for the ephemeral inspired such pioneers ad Mach, Wittgenstein, Buber, and Freud. Part Four describes the vision of an ordered cosmos which flourished among Germans in Bohemia. Their philosophers cultivated a Leibnizian faith whose eventual collapse haunted Kafka and Mahler. Part Five explains how in Hungary wishful thinking reinforced a political activism rare elsewhere in Habsburg domains. Engage intellectuals like Lukacs and Mannheim systematized the sociology of knowledge, while two other Hungarians, Herzel and Nordau, initiated political Zionism. Part Six investigates certain attributes that have permeated Austrian thought, such as hostility to technology and delight in polar opposites.

Part I. Habsburg Bureacracy: Inertia versus Reform
Part II. Aestheticism at Vienna
Part III. Positivism and Impressionism: An Unlikely Symbiosis
Part IV. Bohemian Reform Catholicism
Part V. The Hungarian Cult of Illusion
Part VI. Soothsayers of Modernity

William M. Johnston is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Massachusettes, Amherst.
"The Austrian Mind is the first book in English or in German to analyze both in depth and in breadth the intellectual history of the Hapsburg Monarchy between 1848 and 1938. Based upon an impressive command of primary and secondary published sources, Johnston's book is a tour de force. In 400 pages of text the author evaluates the contribution of Austro-Hungarian intellectuals to economic, legal, and social theory, to the arts, to philosophy, to literature and criticism, and to medicine."--Annals "It is hard to write about this encyclopedic and uncommonly informative and stimulating study in anything but superlatives, for it is equally brilliant in conception and execution. . . . it is replete with detail, remarkably accurate, and lucidly written."--Modern Austrian Literature "A most readable and lively discussion of the complex systems of though current at the time and the way they interconnect. . . The rich intellectual achievement of the old Austria, in all its diversity and unity, in its characteristic boldness and ambiguity, is impressively demonstrated."--Journal of European Studies

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