From The Editors
Modern Austrian Literature, Vol. 33 # 1


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Die Gegenwart ist immer wie das letzte Haus einer Stadt, das irgendwie nicht mehr ganz zu den Stadthäusern gehört. Jede Generation fragt erstaunt, wer bin ich und was waren meine Vorgänger? Sie sollte lieber fragen, wo bin ich, und voraussetzen, daβ ihre Vorgänger nicht anderswie, sondern bloβ anderswo waren . . .
-Robert Musil, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften


Most of us associate Modern Austrian Literature with Donald Daviau and Jorun Johns and for good reason. Donald Daviau (University of California-Riverside) served as editor of the journal from 1971 to 1999 and Jorun Johns (California State San Bernadino) served as Secretary-Treasurer from 1974 to 1998. And as Don pointed out in his retrospective on the twenty-fifth anniver-sary of the organization in 1987, he had been with the journal since its inception in 1961, when it appeared under its first name Journal of the International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association.

The journal began as a modest mimeographed newsletter for the newly formed International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association. Robert O. Weiss, the organization's first president, declared that the professional group saw the need for an organized effort "to lift the treasure of Schnitzler's work to obtain for it its rightful place among the great cultural accomplishments of modern times" (4). A dedicated group of 61 "active" and 32 "associate" members from the United States, Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Israel, France, Australia, and Brazil set out to reexamine the works of Arthur Schnitzler, making his literature and papers more accessible through a microfilm archive housed at the University of Kentucky. Among the first members were the luminaries Ernst Lothar, Friedrich Torberg, and Hans Weigel.

In the seven years of its existence the Journal of the Arthur Schnitzler Research Association had three editors: George Schoolfield served as editor from 1961-1962; Eugene Grotegut from 1962-1964; and Vincent LoCicero took over the reins in 1964. Originally, the journal's board solicited articles not only on Schnitzler, but also about the turn of the century, which would lead to a better understanding of the time during which Schnitzler's works appeared. Then in 1968 the first major change occurred, marked by a new title: Modern Austrian Literature. At that time the journal went from a mimeographed "newsletter" to a more formal, printed journal. The name change was described as "a heart-trans-plant operation" by Vincent LoCicero, the editor at the time. He explained: "The body of this publication is new, but its spirit and essence remains that of the Journal of the International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association" (55). "Modern" was to be interpreted freely. Articles previously not accepted because they did not fall within the more limited editorial scope of the Journal were now welcomed.

The next change came in 1971 when Donald Daviau assumed the editorship after Professor LoCicero had to resign because of illness. On his watch Don began combining the third and fourth numbers into a special topics issue, and he changed the design. In time he also initiated and organized the yearly Riverside conference, and he and Jorun Johns, along with Richard Lawson, founded Ariadne Press. For his innumerable contributions to the study of Austrian literature Donald Daviau was awarded the Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst.

The next significant change came in 1974 when Donald Daviau asked Jorun Johns to serve as Secretary-Treasurer, a crucial job that she skillfully carried out for twenty-four years. She also worked as a member of the editorial staff. In the special twenty-fifth anniversary issue of Modern Austrian Literature in 1986, Don summarized her service: "Her astute management of the journal's finances and the many unheralded tasks she performs have contributed in a major way to the journal's continued development and success." These words hold true for her years of devoted service.

Both Donald Daviau and Jorun Johns dedicated countless hours to the promotion of Austrian literature and culture through the journal, the yearly con-ference, the sessions at the AATG and MLA, and, along with Richard Lawson, their work with Ariadne Press. These efforts have played an essential role in the growth of the study of Austrian literature and film in the United States. As a token of our appreciation and a small gesture of recognition, we have chosen to award Donald Daviau and Jorun Johns life memberships in the association.

As the journal enters the twenty-first century, there are good reasons to re-examine each of the terms in its title. In a postmodern age there is little consensus about precisely what "modern" and "literature" mean. At a time when Europe is being redefined, the term "Austrian," already complicated by past shifts in politics and geography, continues to defy neat definition. We do not presume to give definitive solutions, but for the purposes of the journal we want to delimit "modern," "Austrian," and "literature" as follows.

As applied to Austrian culture, "modern" can be understood as beginning with the Enlightenment. Although the beginnings of a self-consciously Austrian cultural identity are often associated with Grillparzer and his times, the conditions for such an identity were set during the reign of Joseph II, with its modern-izing reforms (see R. J. W. Evans, "Josephinismus, 'Austrianness,' and the Revolution of 1848" in The Austrian Enlightenment and its Aftermath, 1991). In making this periodization, we have no desire to be dogmatic; rather, we wish to open up the journal to contributions that reexamine conventional assumptions about the origins of modern Austrian culture.

In this context, "Austrian literature" refers in a broad sense to cultural ex-pressions produced within the Austrian empire in its various incarnations, Austria under the Corporate State and National Socialism, and the First and Second Republics. Furthermore, it includes the creative works of Austrians who, for whatever reasons, left Austria, and for whom Austria is a point of orientation. This expansive view is not meant to aggrandize Austria, but to use "Austrian" as a heuristic term for exploring critically the cultural origins of creative expres-sions. We are also interested in Austria as it is imagined by Austrians and others, as a cultural construct.

Since 1982, the phrase "literature and culture" has been part of the subtitle of Modern Austrian Literature. In this spirit, we will welcome articles not only on the established and growing canon of literary texts, but also on film, popular culture, and texts that challenge definitions of high and low culture, genres, and methodologies. Submissions that deal with creative texts from a variety of historical or theoretical perspectives are particularly encouraged, as is collaborative work among literary scholars, between literary scholars and scholars in other disciplines, and between scholars in the United States and abroad.

In this first issue under our editorship we are pleased to offer a selection of articles on topics ranging from nineteenth-century Realist aesthetics, to the turn of the century, to Trakl's reception, to postwar documentary drama. The current literary scene is represented in an interview with Lilian Faschinger.

One of our goals is to ensure that Modern Austrian Literature serves as a forum for dialogue and exchange of professional information for scholars who study Austrian literature and culture. In our next issue, we will start a section called "Notes" for shorter contributions focusing on questions of general interest that do not require extensive treatment. Furthermore, we encourage readers to respond to the articles that appear in MAL by writing to us and the contributors, using e-mail if desired. We hope to publish substantial exchanges in another new section called "Forum."

We also plan to institute a regular section entitled "News and Information," which will include calls for papers, conference announcements and reports, information on literary life in Austria, and important information on Association activities and research opportunities. For the sake of timeliness, much of this information will be published immediately on our website:.

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