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Global Austria

Günter Bischof
Fritz Plasser

Book reviews

William M. Johnston, Der österreichische Mensch: Kulturgeschichte der Eigenart Österreichs

Vienna: Böhlau, 2010

David S. Luft

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William M. Johnston’s The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History 1848-1938 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972) was a major contribution to the emergence of Austrian intellectual history as a field in both the United States and Austria. In his new book on the Austrian tradition, Johnston argues that Austrian elites did not come to consciousness of what was distinctive about Austrian culture until the last years of the empire and the interwar years. The title, Der österreichische Mensch, refers not to the Austrian people in a sociological way, but to a type: the term might be translated as the Austrian human being or the Austrian person (or man), perhaps even as the “idea” of the Austrian person, all of which suggests why Johnston decided to write this cultural history of Austria’s distinctiveness in German rather than English. He focuses on the period between 1914 and 1938 and on the way the end of the monarchy awakened interest in the characteristic qualities...

© innsbruck university press, 2011

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