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.
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
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
"The last two chapters on puppets and their ability to communicate at a time when language, in the wake of the Sprachkrise, has failed to do so, further broaden the book’s interdisciplinary scope. They also show the need to further broaden the horizons of European modernism beyond literature and the visual arts to include lesser-studied disciplines and media, such as avant-garde puppet theater—a need that Timpano’s book suggestively fulfills."
--Margareta Ingrid Christian, The University of Chicago