Vien­na is Dif­fer­ent: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Aus­tria from the Fin de Siè­cle to the Present

Hillary Hope Herzog
  • Review
By – February 27, 2012

Vien­na was the city to be liv­ing in at the turn of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, a city where art, archi­tec­ture, music, paint­ing, and lit­er­a­ture were thriv­ing. Vien­na was also a city to which Jews had migrat­ed and where they had found eco­nom­ic suc­cess while assim­i­lat­ing into the larg­er Aus­tri­an soci­ety. The con­ver­gence of these events pro­vid­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty for a grow­ing sec­u­lar Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty to flour­ish as artists.

Vien­na is Dif­fer­ent is a detailed account of how the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty of writ­ers grew and pros­pered in fin de siè­cle Vien­na. Hillary Hope Her­zog explains the polit­i­cal back­ground in which such great Jew­ish writ­ers as Ste­fan Zweig and Arthur Schnit­zler lived and wrote, and how it affect­ed their work.

The rise of anti-Semi­tism and two world wars would change every­thing but not put an end to the par­tic­u­lar soci­ety of Vien­nese Jew­ish writ­ers. Pro­fes­sor Her­zog con­tin­ues the sto­ry of the evolv­ing Jew­ish-Vien­nese cul­ture by bring­ing us to present lit­er­ary and polit­i­cal times.

This slim vol­ume pro­vides a well-researched and read­able his­to­ry of some of the great Jew­ish writ­ers in one of history’s most fas­ci­nat­ing periods.

Bar­bara Andrews holds a Mas­ters in Jew­ish Stud­ies from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go, has been an adult Jew­ish edu­ca­tion instruc­tor, and works in the cor­po­rate world as a pro­fes­sion­al adult educator.

Discussion Questions