Hermann Bahr

An Austrian Critic of the European Avant-Gardes

Hermann Bahr is one of the main programmaticists of Viennese Modernism of around the year 1900. More recent research predominantly focuses on his function as a “cultural mediator,” whereby there is stronger interest in his numerous essayistic and journalistic texts than on his literary works. But precisely in this area, incomplete knowledge of the sources has impeded research.

This project grasps itself as a research-oriented reappraisal of Hermann Bahr’s theoretical and journalistic writings. Guided by current questions raised in cultural studies regarding translation and cultural exchange, the relationship between the literary and scientific culture of modernism, transfer, and transnational cultural dynamics, an exemplary body of works is to be studied. The most urgent concern of the project is therefore to reconstruct this unique archive of European discussions on modernism by means of intensive research and meticulous philological comments.

A complete inventory of Bahr’s journalistic publications is to be compiled and edited for the first time. The dispersed and until today never systematically collected magazine articles, reviews and art section contributions, with which Bahr led the Viennese cultural world to an international exchange, are especially suitable to give new contours to his role as a cultural mediator and theorist of modernism. Furthermore, the new edition of the critical writings in 23 volumes initiated by the applicant in 2004, five of which have already been published, is to be continued and completed within the project period. The project will therefore compile those writings with which Bahr’s function as a “networker” of European stature can be exemplarily reconstructed and made accessible in a scientifically reliable form. Their relevance owes to the insight that the ensemble of theoretical and journalistic writings can contribute to decisively expanding our knowledge of Viennese, Central European and European modernism. Further information can be found here: Project Homepage.