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Polemical Austria

The Rhetorics of National Identity: From Empire to the Second Republic

Today Austria is a small, neutral, and economically successful country in the heart of Europe. Yet modern Austria is the product of a complex and turbulent history. Following World War I, Vienna lost its position as the capital of a large continental and multiethnic empire and became an alpine republic surrounded by larger states. Anthony Bushell’s Polemical Austria examines this transition, asking how such an abrupt change has affected the way Austrians perceive themselves today. Bushell places particular emphasis on the role of language in Austrian national identity.

288 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

History: European History

Political Science: Comparative Politics

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“An engrossing book for both experts and general readers, Polemical Austria analyzes literary, journalistic, and political texts, elegantly demonstrating how competing Austrian identities since the Holy Roman Empire are enacted and not just reflected in rhetoric. Anthony Bushell offers a trove of insights into how national and cultural identities are negotiated in words.”

Geoffrey C. Howes, Bowling Green State University

“Based on literary, historical, and political texts, this book helps with deconstructing the process of the formation of an Austrian identity, which shrunk from an imperial entity to a small narrow subject in the twentieth century. The author analyzes this process not only through the lenses of the capital Vienna, but from the perspective of the nine provinces. This is a laudable benefit of his study and marks a new approach in the field of Austrian studies. A necessary and inspiring book for everyone engaged with Austria and the wider German culture.”

Wolfgang Weber, Innsbruck University

Table of Contents


Part One: Towards a Theory of Austria

      1. Felix Austria?

      2. Locating Austria

      3. Austria and Concepts of Identity

Part Two: Writing Austria

      4. Austria’s Identity and the Response to Revolution

      5. Vienna: Print and Pre-eminence

Part Three: Austria: Revived, Reviled, Revised

      6. Failure at the First Attempt: The First Republic

      7. Austrian Identity and the Impediments of History

      8. Voicing Austria in the Second Republic

      9. Challenging and Confirming Identity in the Second Republic




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