Literary Archives in Austria

The many delegates gathered at the meeting of the International Comparative Literature Association in Vienna in July 2016 were able to see for themselves the good work which is being done in Austria in respect of collecting literary archives. Three examples particularly stood out:

The Austrian Literary Archives, which is part of the national library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek – ÖNB), holds fine and varied literary collections, including the papers of Günther Anders, Ingeborg Bachmann, Peter Handke, Ödön von Horváth, Ernst Jandl, Robert Menasse, Gerhard Rühm, Hilde Spiel and Oswald Wiener.

The Austrian Literature Museum, opened in 2015, supports the work of the Literary Archives by literary materials in an accessible way. Books, manuscripts, letters, drawings, photos as well as fascinating objects such as Ernst Jandl’s director’s chair or a model for the “Rose House” from Adalbert Stifter’s novel ‘Der Nachsommer’ give visitors a close-up experience of literary creativity.

The University of Vienna is building its own literary collections, notably the papers of the Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek, who deposits her papers in the University periodically. A centre for the study of her work, the Elfriede Jelinek-Forschungszentrum, ensures the fullest and best use of the archival collections.

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