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…Read more
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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…Read more
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…Read more
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…Read more
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