The Garden and the Workshop

The Garden and the Workshop : Essays on the Cultural History of Vienna and Budapest

4.11 (18 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A century ago, Vienna and Budapest were the capital cities of the western and eastern halves of the increasingly unstable Austro-Hungarian empire and scenes of intense cultural activity. Vienna was home to such figues as Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt, and Hugo von Hofmannsthal; Budapest produced such luminaries as Bela Bartok, Georg Lukacs, and Michael and Karl Polanyi. However, as Peter Hanak shows in these vignettes of fin-de-siecle life, the intellectual and artistic vibrancy common to the two cities emerged from deeply different civic cultures. Hanak surveys the urban development of the two cities and reviews the effects of modernization on various aspects of their cultures. He examines the process of physical change, as rapid population growth, industrialization and the rising middle class ushered in a new age of tenements, suburbs and town planning. He investigates how death and its rituals - once the domain of church, family and local community - were transformed by the commercialization of burials and the growing bureaucratic control of graveyards.
He explores the mentality of common soldiers and their families - mostly of peasant origin - during World War I, detecting in letters to and from the front a shift toward a revolutionary mood among Hungarians in particular. He presents snapshots of such subjects as the mentality of the nobility, operettas and musical life, and attitudes toward Germans and Jews, and also reveals the relationship between social marginality and cultural creativity. In comparing the two cities, Hanak notes that Vienna, famed for its spacious parks and gardens, was often characterized as a "garden" of esoteric culture. Budapest, however, was a dense city surrounded by factories, whose cultrual leaders referred to the offices and cafes where they met as "workshops". These differences were reflected, he argues, in the contrast between Vienna's aesthetic and individualistic culture and Budapest's more moralistic and socially engaged approach. Hanak's book paints a portrait of life in Central Europe. Its particular focus on mass culture and everyday life offers insights into cultural currents that shaped the course of the 20th century.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 250 pages
  • 197 x 254 x 25.4mm | 397g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 0691009651
  • 9780691009650

Review quote

"Hanak always writes well, is always absorbing, and is consistently receptive to the latest trends in historiography.... [The volume particularly] succeeds in those studies that describe the variety of intellectual responses to the challenges of capitalist transformation in Budapest and Vienna--those two very different urban centers of the two halves of one country. Hanak's account of this will continue to fascinate as long as people read cultural history."---Gabor Gyani, The Budapest Review of Books "The Garden and the Workshop is not only for lovers of Vienna and Budapest, it is for history buffs of all stripes. But it is likewise for anyone interested in seeing what Hanak implicitly shows time and time again, namely the many points that postmodernist fin-de-siecle relativism shares with our own fin-de-siecle (or should I say fin-de-millennium?) postmodernist variety of same."---Michael Henry Heim, Washington Post Book World "There is much of value in this book. The chapter on Hanak+s cultural hero, Endre Ady, is fine and written with a genuine passion. The piece on operetta is amusing, that on letters during the war informative. . . . What is most intriguing about the book . . . is the chapter . . . on the question of social marginality and cultural creativity."---Steven Beller, Times Literary Supplement
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About Peter Hanak

Peter Hanak was, until his death in 1997, Professor of History at the Central European University in Budapest.
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Rating details

18 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 33% (6)
4 44% (8)
3 22% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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