The Rise of and Literary Response to the New Far Right in Austria and Germany Open Access

Greenstein, Paul (Spring 2019)

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The Austrian Freedom Party, once a marginal force in politics, experienced a meteoric electoral rise between 1986 and 2000 under the leadership of Jörg Haider; this was accompanied by a simultaneous, and drastic, shift of that party to the right. I explore the dynamics of this shift through a dual focus on party rhetoric, viewed through the analysis of party manifestos, and literary opposition, focusing on Thomas Bernhard’s Heldenplatz, Elfriede Jelinek’s Das Lebewohl, and Werner Thuswaldner’s Pittersberg. I show that such literature embodies a dual role in understanding right-wing politics, as it responds both to the political changes themselves and the societal conditions that allow for such changes. From here, to view applicability to contemporary developments, I make a comparative analysis of the German case, centered on the recently-created farright Alternative für Deutschland party, with the primary texts being Gregor Weichbrodt and Hannes Bajohr’s Glaube, Liebe, Hoffnung – itself a case-study in digital literature, important given the use of social media by the New Far Right – and Ilija Trojanow’s Nach der Flucht.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction 1

II. Concordant Democracy in Austria 8

III. Thomas Bernhard’s Österreichkritik 12

IV. The Rise of the Austrian Far Right 17

V. The Populist Polemic of the FPÖ 21

VI. The Austrian Literary Response 28

VII. The Rise of the German Far Right 37

VIII. The German Literary Response 46

IX. Conclusion 55

Bibliography 60

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