1st Edition

Constructing the Viennese Modern Body Art, Hysteria, and the Puppet

By Nathan Timpano Copyright 2017
    222 Pages
    by Routledge

    222 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book takes a new, interdisciplinary approach to analyzing modern Viennese visual culture, one informed by Austro-German theater, contemporary medical treatises centered on hysteria, and an original examination of dramatic gestures in expressionist artworks. It centers on the following question: How and to what end was the human body discussed, portrayed, and utilized as an aesthetic metaphor in turn-of-the-century Vienna? By scrutinizing theatrically “hysterical” performances, avant-garde puppet plays, and images created by Oskar Kokoschka, Koloman Moser, Egon Schiele and others, Nathan J. Timpano discusses how Viennese artists favored the pathological or puppet-like body as their contribution to European modernism.

    List of Illustrations

    List of Plates


    Introduction: A Conundrum of the Viennese Modern Body

    1 “The Semblance of Things”: Re-Visioning Viennese Expressionism

    2 “The Woman Emerges”: Medical Vision and the Spectacle of Hysteria

    3 Performing Hysteria: A Vogue for Hystero-Theatrical Gestures

    4 A Tale of Three Hysterics: Elektra, Isolde, and Salome

    5 The Inanimate Body Speaks: The Language of the Marionette Theater

    6 Pathological Puppets: The Body and the Marionette in Viennese Expressionism



    Nathan J. Timpano is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Miami.

    "I cannot begin to do justice to this book in this brief review. As a lay reader interested in gender, sexuality, and the history of the body, I approached the book with great curiosity and I was not disappointed."
    -- German Studies Review

    "Alongside all of the quickly and superficially produced publications on Viennese modernism, Timpano's book pleasantly stands out - as a very serious study written with a highly scientific ethos."

    -- Journal of Art Historiography

    "Timpano writes with confidence and authority on art history…[his] perspective on some of the better known developments in twentieth-century European puppetry will be of interest to readers."

    -- Puppetry International