Writing in Exile-the Land of Lost Content

The lines from A.E.Housman are well known:-

Into my heart an air that kills
 From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
 What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
 I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
 And cannot come again.

The condition of being in Exile, is one common element in the human condition. It is certainly an important factor in Irish culture as is well pointed out in this excerpt from The Guardian on Beckett and Joyce – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/28/ireland-exile-culture

Here Sean O’Hagan mentions,”This sense of spiritual as well as cultural displacement was evoked, too, by the poet Patrick Kavanagh, who walked the streets around Ealing Broadway in 1953 willing himself to remember his native Monaghan “until a world comes to life – morning, the silent bog”. In the second half of that same decade, an estimated half a million people left Ireland to begin their lives all over again, abroad.” There is spiritual exile, linguistic exile and the sense of personal exile when someone close dies or moves away, in an emotional or geographical sense.

George Klaar (1920-2009)
George Klaar (1920-2009)

TLW I have just been reading a deeply moving account of lost Austrian-Jewish culture in George Klaar’s Last Waltz in Vienna and was sorry to hear of his passing.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/george-clare-memoirist-who-recalled-life-in-nazi-vienna-and-postwar-berlin-1726060.html .This threnody mentions his experiences not only in Vienna but also in Berlin, from where Klaar attempted his escape from the Nazis, initially to Ireland. A different approach and general introduction to exilliteratur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exilliteratur) is to be found in Martin Maunthner’s book on German Writers in French Exile 1933-1940. Mauthner was born in Leningrad of  Austrian parents. He worked in journalism and with the

Katharina Mann in Munich in 1905-she later converted to Lutheranism
Katharina Mann in Munich in 1905-she later converted to Lutheranism

European Commission in Brussels as a senior information officer. He also worked with Randolph Churchill on the biography of the latter’s father. In fact the book centres around a small port near Toulon. It makes much mention too of Aldous Huxley, Somerset Maugham,H.G.Wells, Muggeridge and Mosley. The French writers, Malraux and Gide are included in this account of the émigré community which provides an introduction to the intellectual drama and the tragic zeitgeist of this seven year period. The major figures are naturally Thomas, whose wife Katia came from a wealthy Jewish family of mathematicians, and his francophile brother Heinrich Mann, as well as Thomas’s son Klaus who engaged in a bitter battle of words at one stage with the Berlin based, Gottfried Benn- before the latter was to realise the full implication of Goebbel’s authoritarian drive from 1933 to achieve the synchronisation of the arts (Gleichschaltung) from his Ministry of Propaganda as Weimar collapse. Directed against Bolshevism it engendered militarism and focussed on anti-semitism taking in gypsies and homosexuals on the way and ending in the horrors of the Holocaust. This was all under the title of popular enlightenment. The account by Mauthner lacks the stylistic verve of George Klaar’s biographical account which affords an insight into the historical development of fascism upon Jewish life in Vienna.

Many Jews who were physically harassed and otherwise threatened by the Nazis and travelled to many locations and were exiled to Amsterdam, Stockholm, Zürich, London, Prague, Moscow as well as across the Atlantic to both North and South America. Martin Mauthner’s book seems to have three great strengths. It shows the wide variety of responses of individual refugees and their attempts to organise opposition to Hitler and the hampering difficulties other countries governments and other organisations presented. There is considerable detail about individuals like Feuchtwanger and Schwarzschild, famous at the time and now unfortunately neglected as well as journalists, publishers, cartoonists and illustrators. This book confines itself to writers, poets and playwrights but is particularly intriguing on the splits with the communists and within the United Front. The cruel trials under the auspices of Stalin proving a profound sticking point; also the different approaches in the Spanish Civil War.

Leopold Schwarzschild Editor of Das Neue Tagebuch
Leopold Schwarzschild
Editor of Das Neue Tagebuch

Just this morning I recieved an interesting posting concerning classical antiquity from http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.co.uk/ with a version of Ovid’s Tristia and the mortifying effects of having to leave his wife behind in charge of his posessions.

Illa dolōre āmēns tenebrīs nārrātur obortīs
   sēmjanimis mediā prōcubuisse domō,
utque resurrēxit foedātis pulvere turpī
  crīnibus et gelidā membra levāvit humō,
sē modo, dēsertōs modo complōrāsse Penātēs,
  nōmen et ēreptī saepe vocāsse virī,
nec gemuisse minus, quam sī nātaeve meumve
 vīdisset strūctōs corpus habēre, rogōs,
et voluisse morī, moriendō pōnere sēnsus,
   respectūque tamen nōn periisse meī.
Vīvat, et absentem, quoniam sīc fāta tulērunt,
    vīvat et auxiliō sublevet usque suō.

Translated by A.Z.Foreman as:-

I’m told she fainted from grief, mind plunged in dark,   
   And fell half-dead right there in our house.
When she came round, with disheveled dust-fouled hair,   
   Staggering up from the cold hard ground,
She wept for herself, for a house abandoned, screaming   
   Her stolen man’s name time after time,
Wailing as though she’d witnessed our daughter’s body   
   Or mine, upon the high-stacked pyre;
And longed for death, to kill the horror and hardship,   
   Yet out of regard for me she lived.
Long may she live! And in life give aid to her absent   
   Love, whose exile the Fates have willed. Tristia

Otto Rudolf Schatz (Austria, 1900 – 1961)


Schatz came from a family of civil servants and attended the Vienna School of Applied Arts. With 22 years of commitment to the political left, the artist had already appeared as a book illustrator for Arthur Roessler and also for Josef Luitpold Stern. Schatz illustrated  books in the interwar period, especially literature from theStrom-Verlag(including Stefan Zweig , Jack LondonUpton Sinclair’s “Co-op” and Peter Roseggers “Jakob the Last”).

"The Hope," by Otto Rudolf Schatz.
“The Hope,” by Otto Rudolf Schatz.

1925 was the Great Treasure State Award, 1928-38 he was a member of the Hagenbund . He lived during the Second World War treasure in Brno, Prague and later in a sub-camp of Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Graditz admitted that he “jüdisch-versippt” -which apparently meant that by his marriage he was considered part of the Jewish “clan”. Schatz became, on his return, by the City Councillor for Culture. His first prize for the design of the Wiener Westbahnhofs  remained unrealized.

“Die Hoffnung” has the erotic interest that figures in much of Schatz’s work and is vaguely reminiscent of the sardonic style of Edward Burra, who has recently been the subject of a programme by Andrew Graham-Dixon called “I never tell anyone, anything”. This intriguing programme is available on You-Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BoLh8xgOdI

Extract from a painting by Edward Burra
Extract from a painting by Edward Burra
Sitzende im schwarzgrüne Trikot
Sitzende im schwarzgrüne Trikot



Two Painters from Vienna and Bohemia- Sergius Pauser and Josef Dobrowsky

_sergius_pauser_86I came across this lovely painting by Sergius Pauser in the Leopold Museum in Vienna. Mädchen vor dem Spiegel was painted in 1931 and Öl auf Leinwand, 92×73 cm, so oil on linen. The limited range of colour, the tone and the style, that is to say, The New Objectivity (in German: Neue Sachlichkeit), along with the model’s expression give this painting an attractive and contemplative feeling. The subject is, of course, a common one for artists including Lovis Corinth (1918) and famously Picasso (1932). It is also similarly the subject of the self-portrait by Zenadia Serebryakova as mentioned in my earlier posting http://penwithlit.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/self-portraits-1900-1912-3-zinaida-serebryakova/. Other paintings by Pauser will be found at http://www.sergius-pauser.at/20141006_103104

Quoting from the above link, this passage is of considerable interest,”The writer Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) wrote of Pauser: “Sergius Pauser uttered thoughts about people – Adalbert Stifter, for example – that I have never heard before or since; he succeeded in revealing the most concealed corners of poetic sensitivity; he was a tender and vigilant diviner on the landscape of world literature, a philosopher and an artist through and through.” And yet a painter like Sergius Pauser is barely known today; only a few of his works hang in Austrian galleries and many of his paintings cannot be traced due to the emigration of their owners.”

Pauser was considered unreliable by the Nazis and had a tough time as recorded by Wikipedia.de:-“In seiner Monographie berichtet Rupert Feuchtmüller (S. 22), dass Sergius Pauser im Herbst 1944 mit fünftausend sogenannten „Politisch Unzuverlässigen“ in ein Schanz-Lager bei Radkersburg gebracht wurde. Der Schauspieler Curd Jürgens, der auch bei diesem Transport war, schreibt über diese Zeit: „… Ich weiß, dass Sergius sowohl als auch Boeckl … recht viel Unangenehmes durchmachen mussten, da die SA-Bewacher mehr und mehr die Nerven verloren und dies an den Gefangenen ausließen.“ (Curd Jürgens in seinen „Erinnerungen“, Autobiographischer Roman, Droemer Knaur Verlag 1976)”

Here are three more paintings by Pauser that appeal to me. Amerikanerin 1948,

Luis Trenker mit Kamera, 1938
Luis Trenker mit Kamera, 1938

has an appealing delicacy and an optimistic and conversational appeal. The hardboard realism of Luis Trenker mit Kamera, 1938,Mischtechnik auf Hartplatte from an earlier period reminds me of a favourite painter, Christian Schad. I cannot find a colour image for Mädchen mit rotem Hut, 1942 Agathe Prinzessin von Ratibor but am intrigued to find that she was a Princess of a Polish town called Racibórz in Polish but very close to the Czech border and called Ratiboř.2010-07-12-18-06-00_wv_387_gallery_sergius_pauser




Josef Dobrowsky (* 22. September 1889 in Karlsbad, Böhmen; † 9. Januar 1964 in Tullnerbach) was a painter who worked in Vienna with Pauser and his work is currently on display as “Perception and Colour” in the Upper Belvedere http://www.belvedere.at/de/ausstellungen/ausstellungsvorschau/josef-dobrowsky—wahrnehmung-und-farbe-e152593



Albin Egger-Lienz -Austrian painter of the Tyrol

In the Leopold Museum in the Museum Quarter of Vienna, I discovered a number of artists about whom I had not previously heard. One of the most interesting was Egger-Lienz.


Museum Quarter in Vienna
Museum Quarter in Vienna





Albin Egger-Lienz (* 29 January 1868 in Stribach , community Doelsach in Lienz ( East Tyrol ); † November 4 1926 in St. Justina inBolzano ( South Tyrol )) was an Austrian painter .


The oeuvre of Egger-Lienz includes many oil paintings. Several of his designs and drawings are available in various versions and images. Some subjects, such as the Mountain Mowers, are ​​lithographs.


1904 Egger-Lienz turned to the theme of the sower, which  kept him busy until the 1920s. The prototype for this was Jean-François Millet (The Sower , 1851), the other  inspiration was actually a work of Giovanni Seganti. 36 major works were exhibited in 1901 at the Secession. Characteristic of Egger-Lienz is also the long time between recognising a source to  its development or use.


1904/05  in South Tyrol The Pilgrims  originated, whose formal conception parallels to Ferdinand Hodler’s picture The Truth (1903), which was exhibited along with 30 other works belonging to Hodler in the spring of 1904 in the Secession. Although the first drafts of The Pilgrims  showed in the middle a seated Madonna with Child, Egger-Lienz replaced them, under  Hodler;’s influence by the Crucified Christ. By means of this painting Egger-Lienz made ​​a breakthrough to his “monumental-decorative period”

Translated from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albin_Egger-Lienz and more information may be found at http://www.altertuemliches.at/gemaelde/albin-egger-lienz

Following in this bucolic vein here is a somewhat sad but evocative poem possibly inspired by Hesse’s Swabian countryside.

The Sower
The Sower

Dorfabend by Hermann Hesse


Der Schäfer mit den Schafen

Zieht durch die stillen Gassen ein,

Die Häuser wollen schlafen

Und dämmern schon und nicken ein.


Ich bin in diesen Mauern

Der einzige fremde Mann zur Stund,

Es trinkt mein Herz mit Trauern

Den Kelch der Sehnsucht bis zum Grund.


Wohin der Weg mich führet,

hat überall ein Herd gebrannt;

Nur ich hab nie gespüret,

Was Heimat ist und Vaterland.


This has been put to music as at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=50581

Red Vienna

Flats as diplayed in the Jewish Museum in Vienna
Flats as diplayed in the Jewish Museum in Vienna

It is difficult to sum up my impressions and also, on a short holiday, to get a complete impression anyway. I am constantly aware of how poor my knowledge of German is -especially on the spot. A few days ago, I wandered into what seemed a gemutlich place to eat and found it was basically, a bar. Also I was confronted with an unfortunate fellow, probably a bit lonely, who had a pronounced bodily tick and spoke about five sentences that I could not understand. These also were delivered in a pronounced Austrian accent. The whole area seemed somewhat run down and some places, at least this one, was not prepared for custom. So despite an Irish pub, a purple-lighted peep show and other unusual places, there was nowhere serving what I had thought to be ordinary Austrian food. Obviously when travelling, one should give up expectations, in order to actually discover what really is there.

Cafe Central where Trotsky planned the Revolution
Cafe Central where Trotsky planned the Revolution


Actually, the outside of a hostelry can be quite confusing,as until you enter, there is no way of telling if you are in a beer keller, a coffee house or a wine bar. I suppose this could be fun unless you are in some degree of need for some particular type of produce. Unlike Berlin, which has many Italian restaurants, Vienna seems in short supply. I thought I saw Greek but it turned out to be Green; vegetarian requirements seem fairly well catered for. There are several Chineese and other asian establishments and in general they serve very good food.

Fast food, faster profits.
Fast food, faster profits.

However big chains like Wimpy and MacDonalds are taking over in huge shopping complexes which are designed, it seems to be to cater for the very young. So Capitalism and fast food and quick money making dominate in glass complexes built over roads carrying speeding traffic. So far, I have heard almost no live music except for two quite good rappers in amongst the trams. Not many little bars like in film noir so far. There is a freedom over sexual mores and over smoking, however. I liked the Kafka Bar where nice soup and beer were accompanied by what sounded like an Anton Chekhov play in German which I could not understand. However, Cafe Central was as elegant as expected, no one was playing chess or writing novels, however. Surely there is someone playing a zither hereabouts!

The discovery of the Jewish areas has been fascinating and the bookshops are amazing. Books that you need fluent German to read; Walter Benjamin, Karl Kraus and Habermas to mention just three. Both in the Leopold, which is showing films from the 1930s and in the models of housing projects in the Jewish Museum you catch a glimpse of the advanced movement of socialist Vienna, There are some You-Tube clips on this and much on Wikipedia. The smiles on the faces of the children in swimming pools, clear evidence of their health and a feeling of optimism. All this before Britain had the NHS.{Must look up Peckham anarchist project once again.) Crushed by rural reaction and the artillery fire from the Nazis.Today, the news from the UK is the election of a UKIP MPAbsolut und völlig verrückt und dumm!

Das kühle Netz -The Cool web

Kinder können nicht sagen wie heiß der Tag ist,
wie scharf der Duft der Sommerrose,

Kaffee und Kuchen
Kaffee und Kuchen

These evocative lines from Robert Graves indicate how some pots translate so very well. Yesterday, travelling around Vienna left me little time for reading -only perhaps for a few lines of poetry. I started by going North to the Landstrasse – and wandered Feclessly down the Hauptstrasse which had interesting markets. I tried using the Sun to navigate but wandered in a direction away from the Danube Canal. Easily distracted, as usual by a bookshop I found an excellent plastic sleeved grammar of German on three foldable sheets. Then found an excellent cafe where the small house torte was the best that I found in Vienna thus far. I then followed a friends advice and entered a Church founded after the second encirclement of Vienna by the Turkish forces.image

During a further digression around towards the Canal and the Prater, I discovered a pleasant Chemist/Herbal shop, bought some cough sweets for flying and generally forgot all my language skills explaining ludicrously St John’s Wort and its supposed benefits. I forgot the Latin name-hypericum.Walking over a 1950s bridge I arrived eventually in the Prater. Then there was a large tennis club and I wondered if this might be one that was referred to in Vienna by Eva Menasse. After apassing a cheerful group of blind children through tree-lined avenues, which neverthless gave thought to some reflection, I arrived at an interesting denkmal, the Habsburg composer, Carl M.Ziehrer. Finally looming out of the mid afternoon mists I saw the Prater wheel and felt Harry Lime must be about to emerge with a grotesque smile from the surrounding fun-park.

View from Hauptallee in the Prater
View from Hauptallee in the Prater

Karl Michael Ziehrer (also spelled as Carl Michael Ziehrer) (May 2, 1843 – November 14, 1922)[1] was an Austrian composer. In his lifetime, he was one of the fiercest rivals of the Strauss family; most notably Johann Strauss II[2] and Eduard Strauss.


Prater Reisenrad
Prater Reisenrad


Exploring Museums Quartier Wien -Egon Schiele usw

imageNot difficult to find in Vienna – it’s just after the parliament building and turn through the archway-simple and effective method for getting tickets and free WC if you ask at the desk. DSCN0571Brilliant wi-fi connection in the middle of the MQ and nice cappucino at the inside cafe. Have just been investigating service of EE in a T-mobile shop, the only place where I have to queue. imageApparently although capitalism may be international, the service to people is not. Perhaps this explains the why mobile phone producers produce a isolated and insular service that the Tory Party and UKIP would be proud?
Nothing prepares you for the size and vivid colour of the Schiele paintings. He produced some 170 self-portraits. Thecomposition and vitality of the collection is quite amazing. It was the great flu epidemic that curtailed the life of this highly prolific painter at the age of just 28. Add to these the drawings currently on show downstairs, the Klimt and other Austrian painters, you will have no difficulty in looking around for a minimum of four hours.image

Wir stoppen uns jetzt! Aber heute im Wein

What an amazing place! imageRecovering from the cost of a taxi from the airort I was amazed at the amount of industry-the light colour and the cleanliness of the scene into Vienna. Travelling around the city was veryeasy with U-bahn and strassenbahn and bus. The U-bahn gehen ueber, nichts unter. Most impressive are the massive wooden doors that form the entry to the U-bahn and most other large buildings.
After a brief wander around and past the Natural History Museum, I came across a lovely rising winding street and smaller gasse. imageI discovered what looked like a bohemian student bar -Kafka’s Bar.image The Linselsuppe here was much the best value that I have discovered here on the first day. Then around another few corners opposite the Meerhaus, a lovely cafe-bar opposite in the late afternoon sunshine. Cappucino and crepes with honey and bananas and I felt I had already found my indulgent Vienna. A few steps later the social conditions, the dachtlos, influx of migrants from the East and people sleeping in doorways around the church showed another side of life here.image