The always-alluring city of Vienna becomes even more enticing with the release of a new book of short stories compiled specifically for prospective visitors. Vienna: A Traveler’s Literary Companion seduces readers with some of the finest writing set in the city. The fifteen stories collected in the volume include two by Nobel Prize winners, several by well-known Austrian writers, and even a contribution from one-time Vienna resident Franz Kafka.

The neighborhoods of Vienna organize the book, which is a bonus for travelers who want to add to their knowledge of a particular locale. Most readers, however, will find themselves indulging cover-to-cover, simply because the stories are so delightful. It’s likely, for example, that anyone who reads the first story will want to keep on reading. In this tale, “Sightseeing in an Old City,” a group of tourists spend a very long day under the dubious tutelage of a tour guide whose knowledge of the city is spotty at best. Although this selection is filled with wry humor, other stories offer a range of emotions. Where Kafka offers a parable of modern life, renowned writer Arthur Schnitzler (whose work Stanley Kubrick adapted into the movie Eyes Wide Shut) offers a moving tale of an elderly man whose closest friends gather around his deathbed—and learn more secrets than they might care to know.

Whether readers have visited Vienna, plan to visit someday, or simply want to immerse themselves in great storytelling, Vienna: A Traveler’s Literary Companion has much to offer. In the capable hands of experienced writers, the character-filled city becomes a character itself—sometimes charming, sometimes menacing, but always fascinating.

The book is edited by Donald Daviau, professor of Austrian and German Literature at the University of California, Riverside (emeritus), former editor of the scholarly journal Modern Austrian Literature (1974–2000), cofounder and editor of Ariadne Press (1985–1999), and now English editor of the electronic journal TRANS (1995– ). He has authored 21 books and 190 articles on numerous Austrian authors and themes. He was awarded the prestigious Austrian Ehrenkreuz für Kunst und Wissenschaft in 1979. He lives in Riverside, California, when not in Austria.

View the Preface

Opens a glimpse to the literary world of Vienna, focusing on fiction that offers a deep look into the human soul. With special attention paid to renowned writer Franz Kafka, Vienna encourages readers to enjoy a literary walk through the town, and it is quite the walk indeed.

Midwest Book Review

If you want to delve deeply (and hauntingly) into an unfamiliar destination, check out the superb Traveler’s Literary Companion series (Whereabouts Press).

The Oprah Magazine

Each paperback is an anthology of short stories by fine local writers—a unique way to learn about a place.

National Geographic Traveler

Preface Donald G. Daviau

  • Tour of Vienna
    • Ingeborg Bachmann, Sightseeing in an Old City
  • Ringstrasse – Kärntnerstrasse
    • Erich Wolfgang Skwara, Visit to Vienna
  • Vienna Suburbs
    • Arthur Schnitzler, The Death of a Bachelor
    • Stefan Zweig, Beware of Pity
    • Elfriede Jelinek, The Lovers
    • Barbara Frischmuth, The Convent School
  • Simmeringer Hauptstrasse, Gentzgasse
    • Thomas Bernhard, Woodcutters
  • Grinzing
    • Jörg Mauthe, The Great Heat Wave
  • Kahlenberg – Leopoldsberg
    • Rose Ausländer, The Curse II
  • Amusement Park
    • Franz Kafka, A Hunger Artist
  • Inner City
    • Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities
    • Elias Canetti, The Red Cock
    • Peter Henisch, Negatives of My Father
  • The Strudelhof Steps
    • Heimito von Doderer, The Strudelhof Steps
  • Naschmarkt – Schubert House
    • Lilian Faschinger, Vienna Passion
  • Ingeborg Bachmann (born in Klagenfurt in 1926– died in Rome in 1973), with a background of philosophy and psychology, rose to fame as one of the illustrious postwar generation of writers in Austria. She never married, and because of her lifestyle as an adventurous artist she became an icon for feminists. In 1953 she moved to Rome, where she died prematurely in a fire in her bedroom. Her enduring reputation is based on her prose narratives, essays, and dramas. Like other Austrian authors, one of Bachmanns’s early concerns was to restore precise meaning to language, which had suffered from its misuse in Nazi propaganda. Her most important theme deals with individuals at a crossroads in their lives, trying to decide whether to continue the imperfect, unsatisfying life they are leading or make a change. Widely translated, she is represented in English by the novel Malina and two collections of prose tales The Thirtieth Year and Three Paths to the Lake.
  • Rose Ausländer
  • Thomas Bernhard
  • Elias Canetti
  • Heimito von Doderer
  • Lilian Faschinger
  • Barbara Frischmuth
  • Peter Henisch
  • Elfriede Jelinek
  • Franz Kafka
  • Jörg Mauthe
  • Robert Musil
  • Arthur Schnitzler
  • Erich Wolfgang Skwara
  • Stefan Zweig

VIENNA: A Traveler’s Literary Companion

Trade paperback original


5 x 7¼, 256 pp.,

ISBN 978-1-883513-10-8

Publication date: November 2008

Excerpts to come.

Posted on 24 February 2010

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