English Summary/英文概要： Among the brilliant writers and thinkers who emerged from the multicultural and multilingual world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were Joseph Roth, Robert Musil, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. For them, the trauma of World War I included the sudden loss of the geographical entity into which they had been born: in 1918, the empire was dissolved overnight, leaving Austria a small, fragile republic that would last only twenty years before being annexed by Hitler’s Third Reich. In this major reconsideration of European modernism, Marjorie Perloff identifies and explores the aesthetic world that emerged from the rubble of Vienna and other former Habsburg territories--an "Austro-Modernism" that produced a major body of drama, fiction, poetry, and autobiography. Perloff explores works ranging from Karl Kraus’s drama The Last Days of Mankind and Elias Canetti’s memoir The Tongue Set Free to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notebooks and Paul Celan’s lyric poetry. Throughout, she shows that Austro-Modernist literature is characterized less by the formal and technical inventions of a modernism familiar to us in the work of A Joyce and Pound, Dada and Futurism, than by a radical irony beneath a seemingly conventional surface, an acute sense of exile, and a sensibility more erotic and quixotic than that of its German contemporaries. Skeptical and disillusioned, Austro-Modernism prefers to ask questions rather than formulate answers.
Awards/获奖情况： "Always on the cutting edge of whatever she investigates, Perloff throws light on the subtleties and contradictions--inner and outer--of the literary universe of Celan and Canetti, Kraus and Freud, Musil and Roth. She interweaves, as no one else could, the examination of Celan’s poetry with his personal life. The majestic coda to her study, dealing with Wittgenstein’s fascination with the Christian Gospels and his complicated involvement with his own traces of anti-Semitism, forms a particularly convincing refusal of closure, the enemy of the historical modernism she so brilliantly studies and espouses."--Mary Ann Caws, author of Surprised in Translation
"Edge of Irony is a beautifully written account of Austrian modernism. In this important contribution to European literary history, Perloff reveals the rich contexts and surprising contemporaneity of mid-twentieth-century Austrian literature."--Patrick Greaney, University of Colorado Boulder
"This book takes us into the undiscovered country of Austro-Modernism in all of its historical complexity, and in the process requires us to address in new ways the questions of literary innovation, the sources of authorial identity, and how to read texts whose distinctive language and formal ingenuity confront us with the inadequacies of our received critical concepts and practices. Edge of Irony is without doubt the most impressive achievement of Perloff’s distinguished career."--Gerald Bruns, University of Notre Dame
"Most critics have dealt with Austrian modernism--and modernism in general--from a prewar perspective. Perloff rightly sees the aftermath of the war, the breakup of empire, as informing the Austro-Modernists’ boldest works. Edge of Irony presents a model for attuning literary study to the political complexities with which writings like these are eternally embroiled."
--Thomas Harrison, University of California, Los Angeles