The Oxford historians' discovery of Vienna

Yearly Archives: 2016

An Exhibition of Japanese Erotic Art at the MAK in Vienna (12.10.2016 – 29.01.2017): “Vile Pictures in the Best Style”

In 1859, on a visit to Japan, the American businessman Francis Hall was shown erotic Japanese prints, known as shunga. His reaction sums up the mainstream European attitude to shunga at the time and later. Hall called the prints, “vile pictures in the best Japanese style.” [caption id="attachment_2586" align="alignleft" width="422"] Shunga on painted handscroll, British…
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Coffee Culture in the 10th District

When I first arrived in Vienna, I was warned by well-meaning locals to keep away from the 10th district, an area wrought with crime and beset with danger. I later worked out that “crime” in Austria means something very different from “crime” in the U.S., for example. Austrians generally don’t think of crime in terms…
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The Café Landtmann and the Borders of Europe

One of the most impressive historic cafes in Vienna is the Landtmann, which was founded in 1873. Next to the Burg Theatre and across from the Town Hall (the Rathaus), with its large open terrace in summer, it’s just a wonderful place. To Austrians, it’s known as the favourite café of Freud. Even Altenberg, the writer…
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The Café Museum and Modern Architecture

  Karlsplatz, the immense square in the centre of Vienna, is a good starting point for those who want to get a sense of some of the most interesting developments in Viennese architecture at the turn of the twentieth century. The square is, in fact, dominated by the grandiose Karlskirche, the famous Baroque church. [caption…
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The Café Mozart and The Third Man

  Along the Ring, not far from the Opera, is the Burg Kino, one of the cinemas for English speakers in Vienna. Whatever other films are on, there is usually an afternoon projection of The Third Man (1949), set in Vienna after the war. The script is by one of the great British novelists of…
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The Café Central: Plotting Revolution in Grand Surroundings

The Café Central: Plotting Revolution in Grand Surroundings The Café Central in the Herrengasse is certainly where one starts when it comes to Viennese coffee culture. The Herrengasse is a rather short street in the very heart of the city, which was one of the most prestigious addresses in imperial Vienna. The street ends in…
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