Perpetuation and New Start

The Ringstrasse Boulevard in Vienna features two monuments of poets: one shows Goethe sitting on a chair (unveiled in 1900) and the other, just across the street, a statue of Schiller standing (unveiled in 1876). At the city centre of Vienna, on Judenplatz, there is a monument of Lessing (planned as of 1910, unveiled in 1935). These monuments were meant to emphasise the common origin of German and Austrian literature and the close connection between the two. Given that these were playwrights whose plays were performed in Vienna, they were also of practical significance in Austria’s cultural life. While there are several monuments to Austrian playwrights in the public sphere, such as the Raimund monument (unveiled in 1898) at the Volkstheater or the Nestroy monument (unveiled in 1929) at Nestroy-Platz and the Grillparzer monument (unveiled in 1889) at the Volksgarten, references to writers of non-dramatic texts remained restricted to memorial plaques and stone busts.

The revolution of 1848 left its mark on Austrian literature. Censorship was temporarily abandoned but later quickly revived. The number of Austrian publishers, publications and authors increased, and the fundamental rights and freedoms were laid down by Austrian law in 1867. They did not include artistic freedom, which was only added in 1982 in an amendment to the Austrian Constitution. It was only in the Second Republic as of 1955, when Austria had regained its status as a sovereign state, that censorship was permanently abolished.