Save Story Save this story for later. It was destroyed by the S. Its author, a towering figure in the academic world, died on September 13th, at the age of a hundred; more than a few remembrances attested to the mind-altering impact of his great collection of essays, which has shown generations of readers how even the most rarefied artistic creations are indivisible from social reality. No less important, Schorske overran the boundaries of specialist writing, pursuing the trajectories of figures from various disciplines: Freud, Otto Wagner, Schnitzler, Hofmannsthal, Klimt, Schoenberg, Kokoschka. I was captivated first by the cover —one of the most winning book covers ever made.
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Aug 22, Alex Zakharov rated it really liked it Books like these tend to fail, and fail quite badly. Fusing politics, art and history without overplaying one of the areas, superficially brushing over another or stitching together a flavorless vignette of second-rate ideas is surprisingly hard to do.
And yet Schorske succeeds quite nicely and in eight related but essentially standalone essays he paints a portrait of the Austro-Hungarian empire from its optimistic classical liberal inspired beginnings to a rather inglorious decline.
As points Books like these tend to fail, and fail quite badly. As points of stability were eroded in the areas of politics, art and culture the psyche of the nation was disintegrating along with the rest of it. Rest are notes to self: o Reading about classic liberalism being torn apart by nationalism, socialism, anarchism, anti-Semitism and Zionism made me wonder if it is fundamentally unstable.
Once you open up the democratic franchise it is difficult to impose constraints that would keep the nation well-governable. Sure, Fukuyama keeps finding examples which exhibit a balance of accountability, law and competent bureaucracy but they all seem transient.
Both brought about anti-Semitism which beget Zionism through a pretty interesting path of Theodore Herzl. Nationalists were threatening the unity of the empire through disintegration, Zionists through secession.
All in conflict with paleo-liberals. Both left their marks on architecture early, and luckily neither one took his vision to its full fruition as most their later and more radical designs never made it past proposal state. Klimt, the Secession — soft conflation of subject and object, passion when depicted is depersonalized. And so Klimt is confused about reality, while Kokoschka refuses to deal with it. Of course today our world is full of Kokoschkas who are convinced that the vision of their subjective inner-self IS in fact reality.
The metaphor of the garden in the last 2 chapters was fine for the most part but crumbling badly at the edges. On the other hand, nice finish with Arnold Schoenberg freeing music from the oppressive hierarchy of diatonic scale by introducing democracy of tonalities. And through the absence of hierarchy at the bottom he gives us a meta, emergent order on top.
Is he seeding the roots for Ludwig von Mises and Austrian economics here?
Carl Emil Schorske
Carl E. Schorske
Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture
The Schorske Century