The celebrated author and passionate gardener Barbara Frischmuth shares her thoughts on nature and language.
Nature and culture cannot be kept separate. They continuously intertwine, visibly and invisibly, but not always harmoniously. From the outset, humankind has tried to tame and subjugate nature. And the more spectacularly successful we are in doing this, the less we think about how dependent on it we still are. This shows most clearly in the language we use to try and label and describe nature – be it in the fictional, poetic, factual or scientific context. In her essay, Barbara Frischmuth seeks to illustrate how nature is discussed in literature, culture, science and in everyday life. To underestimate nature would be perilous. To value and even love it equals human enlightenment.
The essay series UNRUHE BEWAHREN (Keep Uncalm) is a response to an increasingly uncomfortable present tendency. At the heart of modern-day progress lies a wasteful unrest, while the past is progressively devalued and the future is robbed of substance. This is opposed by the principle of anachronism. Engaged contemporaneity should be coupled with the courage for caution and a passion for the outmoded. UNRUHE BEWAHREN is therefore also the theme to which the spring and autumn lecture series at Akademie Graz are dedicated.
Edited by Astrid Kury, Thomas Macho, Peter Strasser
Advice: Harald Klauhs
First published in 1977, “Wer war Edgar Allan?” marked Peter Rosei’s literary breakthrough. An enigmatic game of deception, it is also a rapturous homage to a deeply autumnal Venice and to Poe, the master of cryptic storytelling. Sympathetically adapted into film by Michael Haneke in 1984, the novel combines hallucinatory delirium with precise societal diagnosis. A drug-addicted student roams through Venice, a shady Contessa falls from the roof garden of her palazzo, a drug syndicate quietly rules behind the scenes, and a mysterious gentleman by the name of Edgar Allan seems to be pulling many dark strings. This new edition features Walter Pichler’s cult cover and makes the post-war classic available to a wide readership once more.
With no illusions but plenty of empathy, Peter Rosei explores the hardships of searching for happiness in the current times.
Lena from the Styrian village, Andràs from the Hungarian tower block and Eva Bartuska from the Czech town of Brno have all come to Vienna seeking happiness and fulfilment. They drift through the city propelled by the promise of social and economic betterment and the dream of true love. But what is this prized happiness? Sometimes it's a branch manager position, sometimes a wild night out, and often a flimsy illusion that shatters on the rocks of everyday hostility. Yet in this novel on the myth of happiness, Rosei strikes an uncharacteristically conciliatory tone. “And so, those who come eye to eye with the degradations of life and abandon all hope, ultimately still have a right to the happiness they long for.”
Arzt’s narrative instantly sucks the reader into the turbulence of the day on which the “annexation” of Austria was decided on.
It’s April 1938 and student Karl Bleimfeldner returns home to vote against the “annexation” to Nazi Germany – the only dissenting voice in the village. The area is in a state of political frenzy and Karl’s daring action leads to repercussions. Rumours spread. The family falls silent. An overexcited mob sets out to confront the traitor in the woods. In “Voice of Dissent” Thomas Arzt acutely hones in on the 24 hours of April 10, 1938, during which the National Socialists succeeded in seizing power over Austria. Arzt tells the story of his great-uncle – in a feverishly restless tale about conformism, cowardice, hopelessness, fanaticism and resistance.
The doorbell rings at the 4th floor apartment of the Marboe family. “Something’s up with Tobias!” “Yes, he’s in the next room. We’re just getting the guest room ready for him.” “No, something’s up with him down on the street!” Since that afternoon of 26 December 2018, life for the Marboe family has never been the same. What happened to Golli Marboe is the worst that can happen to a father. Your own son or daughter committing suicide is a taboo subject even today. Marboe has written this book to his son Tobias. In it, he looks back on the first year following the tragedy. Were there signs he should have recognised? Was there anything that could have been done to prevent it? “Notes to Tobias” illustrates a father’s struggle to come to terms with what has happened, but it is also full of love and strength and the courage to carry on.
How a political movement became a profitable label
From political struggle to lucrative catchword – a compelling analysis.
Feminism has undergone an astonishing change of image over the past few years. Superstars bandy about combative statements against sexism to appear politically engaged, advertising campaigns have adopted narratives on female self-determination as a standard tool, and career literature is spiked with calls for empowerment to gain a feminist hue. What is all the hype really about? And what threat does social media pose to the dialogue on equal rights? Beate Hausbichler takes a closer look at the bold claims of feminism which in truth harbour nothing more than self-glorification, image cultivation and marketing – and highlights the considerable threat this poses to a political movement.
How will we feed a future population of 10 billion people?
Time for change: Agriculture and sustainable nutrition have become hotly debated subjects across society, as we look to a near future in which our planet is home to ten billion people. But can we feed the human population through organic farming? Is eating animals a sin? Does industrial agriculture based on high tech farming practices destroy rural areas, deplete natural resources and drive people into the cities? In 'Everyone Full?' Urs Niggli outlines a visionary plan for feeding the world – a fascinating read for foodies and everyone who appreciates good food.
The ethical, legal and medical issues surrounding organ transplants. A report
Imagine you’re a doctor. There are two 30-year-old women in your intensive care unit – one with severe head injuries and no chance of survival, the other with a fatal heart defect whose only chance for life is to have a donor heart implanted. What would you do? This is just one of many questions that exceed our emotional and ethical competencies. Doctors, ethicists and lawyers have to find the answers to them, always in the interest of life. But are we allowed to do everything that we can do? Zoran Dobrić has talked to patients, doctors, living donors, relatives of the deceased, scientists and theologists. He has observed all the key processes of organ transplantation, including brain death diagnosis and organ removal.
“Your Turn” will make you laugh and cry – just like real life.
Three lovable outsiders search for their place in the world. Agnesa, an 18-year-old Vienna city girl with migrant background who left school without qualifications, computer nerd Eduard, whose midlife crisis has turned him into a stalker in the wilds of the world wide web, and Felicitas, a feminist who’s still fighting the good fight at 69, even though she has followed her true love into the province. Their paths cross and they soon realise that life is better when shared, even if it means that some dearly held falsities have to fall by the wayside. Writer and performer Mieze Medusa has enjoyed years of success on the poetry slam circuit. Now she’s delivered a novel that combines humour and warmth with its very own language to capture the voices of today.
Pilgrimage, retrospective and clever resume – a must-have book for all Brandstetter fans.
In his “Life Journey”, Alois Brandstetter recounts the remarkable story of how he made his way from 7th child of a miller and farmer to academic and author. Yet this pilgrimage into the past is delightfully tongue-in-cheek. Scenes and images from Brandstetter’s childhood and youth in rural Upper Austria alternate with humorous observations on modern life, as well as notes on impressions gained and encounters made as an avid reader. His travels on the trail of his namesake Saint Aloysius provide a fitting framework for the intimately and vividly narrated reminiscences.