Fragments of Empire
Austrian Modernisms and the Habsburg Imaginary

Edited by Clemens Peck and Deborah Holmes

Austrian Studies 28

Modern Humanities Research Association

  Autumn 2020

ISBN: 978-1-781889-71-8 (paperback)

Deadline extended - now 16 February 2020

Call for Papers - Austrian Studies 28 is partly based on the conference 'Austrian Modernism and the Habsburg Myth’ organized in 2016 by the German Department of Yale University and the Stefan Zweig Centre of the University of Salzburg. Papers from the conference will be supplemented by invited articles under the title ‘Fragments of Empire. Austrian Modernisms and the Habsburg Imaginary’.

The volume will investigate literary imaginings and cultural constructions of the Habsburg Empire, not only as historically specific phenomena, but also in relationship to one another as they develop and compete. Anderson’s concept of ‘imagined communities’ will be used to consider the ways in which the Habsburg Monarchy came to represent various forms of political, social and cultural identity. In particular, the focus is on models of identity that explicitly negotiate between a larger and smaller picture, between an imagined whole and parts or fragments of that whole, between an imperial centre and its margins or periphery.

The retrospective phenomenon referred to by Claudio Magris as the ‘Habsburg myth’ will play an inevitable and necessary role in the volume. However, examples taken from both before and after 1918 show that the Habsburg imaginary spans a far greater range in a historical, geographical and discursive sense than has previously been acknowledged, whether it be in institutional form, in the form of projections of the future or else in satirical texts and figures. It is time to re-open the investigation: on the one hand, existing studies tend to refer to a limited and repetitive canon of texts and figures; on the other, the seminal work done by both Magris and Schorske has led to a reductive view of the Habsburg narrative. We are often left with nothing more than the impression of a fragile, backward-looking utopia or else the merry apocalypse and overwrought ‘Nervenkunst’ of a predominantly male, German-language elite.

A further important focus will be on transatlantic translations of Habsburg identity after 1933, in which imagined constructions of the Monarchy have relevance for exile constellations and experiences – for example, in Zweig’s Die Welt von Gestern [The World of Yesterday] and Broch’s Hofmannsthal und seine Zeit [Hofmannsthal and his times]. The influence of these imaginings of Empire continues to the present day, as is shown to tragicomic effect in Wes Anderson’s 2014 film Grand Budapest Hotel. The cultural historical topoi ‘Vienna 1900’ and ‘Kakanien’ in the post-1945 period will also be considered as (translated) Habsburg imaginaries, not only as regards their discovery as topics for academic enquiry, but also in view of their increasing popularisation beginning in the 1960s and reaching a notable peak in the 1980s.

Alongside Habsburg imaginaries, the volume will include analyses of modernist stances and techniques in Austrian culture and literature that reflect – in aesthetic, formal and conceptual terms – political debates of the fin de siècle and the period following 1918 on how to reconcile the great and the small, the whole and the particular, the grand sweep of history and the transient moment. In this context, scientific projects such as the early development of sociology and ethnography in Austria will be considered as well as issues of literary genre.

Submission procedure: the volume is due for publication in autumn 2020; articles should be submitted in English by 16 February 2020 to and All quotations should be provided in the original language, followed by an English translation in square brackets. Articles should not exceed 7000 words in length, including translations and footnotes. All submissions to Austrian Studies are subject to double blind peer review, the results of which will be circulated to contributors early in 2020.

Austrian Studies follows the MHRA Style Guide (see Style link above). All submissions should adhere to these as closely as possible.

Bibliography entry:

Peck, Clemens, and Deborah Holmes (eds), Fragments of Empire: Austrian Modernisms and the Habsburg Imaginary (= Austrian Studies, 28 (2020))

First footnote reference: 35 Fragments of Empire: Austrian Modernisms and the Habsburg Imaginary, ed. by Clemens Peck and Deborah Holmes (= Austrian Studies, 28 (2020)), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Peck and Holmes, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Peck, Clemens, and Deborah Holmes (eds). 2020. Fragments of Empire: Austrian Modernisms and the Habsburg Imaginary (= Austrian Studies, 28)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Peck and Holmes 2020: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Peck and Holmes 2020: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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