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
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