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The Naked Truth: Viennese Modernism and the Body

The Naked Truth: Viennese Modernism and the Body

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The Naked Truth: Viennese Modernism and the Body

W037006 | $45.00

Alys X. George. University of Chicago Press, 2020.

332 pp. Minimally illustrated (all b&w). 24 x 16 cm. LC 2019-49797 In English. Hardcover.

ISBN 9780226669984

Viennese modernism is often described in terms of a fin-de-siècle fascination with the psyche. But this stereotype of the movement as essentially cerebral overlooks a rich cultural history of the body. The Naked Truth fundamentally recasts the visual, literary, and performative cultures of Viennese modernism through a focus on the corporeal. Alys X. George explores the modernist focus on the flesh by turning our attention to the second Vienna medical school, which revolutionized the field of anatomy in the 1800s. As she traces the results of this materialist influence across a broad range of cultural forms—exhibitions, literature, portraiture, dance, film, and more—George brings into dialogue a diverse group of historical protagonists, from canonical figures such as Egon Schiele, Arthur Schnitzler, Joseph Roth, and Hugo von Hofmannsthal to long-overlooked ones, including author and doctor Marie Pappenheim, journalist Else Feldmann, and dancers Grete Wiesenthal, Gertrud Bodenwieser, and Hilde Holger. She deftly blends analyses of popular and “high” culture, laying to rest the notion that Viennese modernism was an exclusively male movement. The Naked Truth uncovers the complex interplay of the physical and the aesthetic that shaped modernism and offers a striking new interpretation of this moment in the history of the West.

Subject Headings: Eastern and Western European Art ; Western Art -- Austria -- 1900-1945 -- Several Fine Arts Media (Western) --

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