Vienna and Literature

Admittedly, the Café Griensteidl no longer exists in its original form, since it had to close down at the end of the 19th Century because of demolition. In the new Griensteidl, opened in 1990, however, you can still feel some of that literary spirit that made this place world-famous. Once authors such as Hugo von Hofmannstahl, Arthur Schnitzler, Karl Kraus and Peter Altenberg gathered in the Griensteidl. It is worth a visit.

Coffee house literature

In Vienna, literature is closely connected with the coffee house. Because authors such as Stefan Zweig, Karl Kraus or Peter Altenberg composed many of their texts in coffee houses, they were called coffee house writers. Viennese coffee house literature became world famous and made literary history. Its heyday was the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century. But the coffee house remained even after this time a popular meeting point and workplace for Austrian authors and poets. The internationally celebrated dramatist and author Thomas Bernhard, say, preferred to drink his Mélange in Vienna in the Bräunerhof and went to the Sacher.

Contemporary literature

The best-known Austrian authors internationally are Peter Handke and Elfriede Jelinek. Peter Handke lives in Salzburg and Paris. Elfriede Jelinek lives in Munich, Vienna and Paris.

Famous authors

Karl Kraus
was born in 1871 in Gitschin in the Czech Republic and died in 1936 in Vienna. He founded the literary journal “Die Fackel” (The Torch), and composed numerous aphorisms and the epochal drama “The Last Days of Mankind”.

Robert Musil
was born in Klagenfurt in Kärnten in 1880, studied and later lived in Vienna. Among his most famous works are “Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß” and “Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften”.

Stefan Zweig
was born in 1881 in Vienna and died in 1942 in Petropolis near Rio de Janeiro. One of his best selling works is the volume of essays “Sternstunden der Menschheit”.

Franz Kafka
was born in 1883 in Prague and died in 1924 in Kierling in Lower Austria. He wrote many great novels and stories-among the most famous being “The Trial”, “The Castle”, “America” and “Metamorphosis”.

Franz Werfel
was born in 1890 in Prague and died in 1945 in Beverly Hills in California. Among his famous novels are “The 40 Days of Musa Dagh” and “The Song of Bernadette”.

Elias Canetti
was born in 1905 in Rustschuk in Bulgaria and died in 1994 in Zürich. In 1981 the author and essayist was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His most famous novel is “Die Blendung”, his most famous essay collection “Masse und Macht”.

Thomas Bernhard
was born in 1931 in the Netherlands and died in 1989 in Gmunden. He composed novels, stories and dramas.

Elfriede Jelinek
was born in 1946 in Mürzzuschlag in Steiermark and lives as a freelance author in Munich, Vienna and Paris. Her story “Die Klavierspielerin” (The Piano Player) was made into a film in 2001 by the Austrian director Michael Haneke.

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