University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > German Graduate Research Seminar > Colonizing the Future, Insuring the Individual: Utopian Narrative in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

Colonizing the Future, Insuring the Individual: Utopian Narrative in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

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It seems like Viennese Modernism lost no time on the future. But did the liberal intelligentsia of turn of the century Vienna only retreat into decadent gardens and the inner psyche, as descriptions of cultural history would have it? Focusing on the utopian novels of Theodor Hertzka, Theodor Herzl and Bertha von Suttner the presentation will argue that liberalism opened more than ever before to intellectual investments in the future, in order to respond to social, national and Jewish questions. Due to the fact that the cultural emergence of social liberal utopias around 1900 is based on the marriage of utopia and progress, it offers new narrative und discursive strategies to the utopian genre: The texts present neither spatial nor temporal ruptures, but well prepared expeditions into colonized futures that serve the individualistic agenda of liberalism as an experimental field for leveling out social balances.

This talk is part of the German Graduate Research Seminar series.

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