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date: 27 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter places the reception of Schopenhauer in fin de siècle Austria in its historical context before considering in more detail various areas of intellectual and cultural life where the impact of Schopenhauer has been or may be detected. These include music, Freud and psychoanalysis, gender and misogyny (Weininger and Sacher-Masoch), literature (Karl Kraus, Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler, Rudolf Kassner, and Hermann Broch), philosophy (Fritz Mauthner and Wittgenstein), and visual art (Klimt). Some critics have placed considerable emphasis on the influence of Schopenhauer in these areas, whereas others see his impact as less significant. The chapter concludes by considering Schopenhauer from a characterological angle, arguing that, to the extent that the thinkers, writers, and painters of fin de siècle Austria regarded their intellectual, cultural, and artistic deeds as, in Schopenhauer’s words, “the impression or copy of the character, the mirror of the will,” they were participating in his project of “looking into this mirror” and “recogniz[ing] our innermost self, the kernel of our will.” In this respect it is legitimate to speak of a deep affinity between Schopenhauer and fin de siècle Austria, one that is far more significant than any specific details of his reception.

Keywords: fin de siècle, pessimism, music, psychoanalysis, gender, misogyny, literature, Austria, visual art, characterology.

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