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Title: Peter Altenberg : a neglected writer of the Viennese Jahrhundertwende
Author: Simpson, Josephine M. N.
ISNI:       0000 0000 8243 3184
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1986
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This thesis presents a revaluation of the works of Peter Altenberg, a neglected writer of the Viennese Jahrhundertwende. Although largely ignored by literary criticism, Altenberg's writing influenced German Expressionist authors as well as such major figures as Musil, Rilke and Kafka. The text is divided into six sections. (The confusion and profusion of topics and ideas in Altenberq's work mean that my divisions may appear arbitrary at times. However, they broadly represent the most important aspects of Altenberg's thought, literary theory and practice.) In order to reveal the development of Altenberg's thought, individual topics are usually discussed from a chronological perspective. In section 1 I present Altenberg in the context of Vienna 1900 and establish his relationship with Naturalist writers. Section 2 thematicises Altenberg's image of mankind and, more specifically, his presentation and assessment of the existential dilemma of the modern urban dweller. Section 3 comprises a critical analysis of Altenberg's conception of womankind and his "Frauenkult". Section 4 is devoted to a detailed examination of Altenberg's sociocultural critique which, I propose, is inspired by that of Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner. Section 5 sets out Altenberg's blueprint for a new society, or alternative social order, based on his ideals of freedom, nobility and naturalness. In section 6 I deal with aspects of Altenberg's literary theory and practice; I discuss the formal elements in his work as well as the principle of aesthetic reductionism which he pioneered.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Works of Peter Altenberg