How do you sleep at night?

In trying unsparingly to show everything, to break not only the taboo surrounding Austria’s complicity in the Amstetten horror but also the taboo on representing perpetrators relishing their monstrous crimes, Claustria resembles less the Anglophone middlebrow novel and more another … Continue reading

From the Bookshelves: The Invisible Wall, or How to Erase Austrian Writers

I’ve been reshelving my books in my study recently, which has thrown up all manner of treasure that I had forgotten about. This blog post may be the first of a series entitled ‘From the Bookshelves’; we will see… In … Continue reading

I’m delighted to have been invited to write for austrianresearchuk, a fantastic new blog promoting Austrian literary research in the UK! Here’s what I wrote for them about H. G. Adler.


Where do the boundaries of Austria end? The boundaries of the Federal Republic are clearly defined, but the boundaries of Austrian literature, culture and memory are are a lot wider and a lot less clear. Robert Musil termed the sprawling, dysfunctional and multicultural Austro-Hungarian Empire ‘Kakania’, and Kakania brought forth many brilliant writers who were born well beyond the current boundaries of Austria, but who certainly contributed to Austrian culture. Perhaps the most famous of these is Franz Kafka (born in Prague, now in the Czech Republic), but there’s also Rainer Maria Rilke (also from Prague), Joseph Roth (born in Brody, now in Ukraine), Elias Canetti (born in Ruse, now in Bulgaria), or Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (born in Lviv, now in Ukraine).

One nearly-forgotten writer from that lost Kakania is H. G. Adler (1910-1988). He was born in Prague and attended the German University there; although he never met Kafka…

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