Constructing the Viennese Modern Body: Art, Hysteria, and the Puppet, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Constructing the Viennese Modern Body

Art, Hysteria, and the Puppet, 1st Edition

By Nathan J. Timpano


210 pages

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138220188
pub: 2017-05-30
SAVE ~$31.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315413693
pub: 2017-05-25
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


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.


"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."

- Javier Samper Vendrell, Grinnell College

"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."

- Patrick Werkner, Journal of Art Historiography

Table of Contents

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

About the Author

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

About the Series

Studies in Art Historiography

Studies in Art Historiography
The aim of this series is to support and promote the study of the history and practice of art historical writing focussing on its institutional and conceptual foundations, from the past to the present day in all areas and all periods. Besides addressing the major innovators of the past it also encourages re-thinking ways in which the subject may be written in the future. It ignores the disciplinary boundaries imposed by the Anglophone expression 'art history' and allows and encourages the full range of enquiry that encompasses the visual arts in its broadest sense as well as topics falling within archaeology, anthropology, ethnography and other specialist disciplines and approaches. It welcomes contributions from young and established scholars and is aimed at building an expanded audience for what has hitherto been a much specialised topic of investigation. It complements the work of the Journal of Art Historiography.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / European
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART / Subjects & Themes / Human Figure
HISTORY / Europe / Austria & Hungary
MEDICAL / History
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General