About the Museum

Beginning of the exhibition on the 2nd floor

Johann Nestroy, Arthur Schnitzler, Franz Kafka, Ilse Aichinger, Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard, Friederike Mayröcker – these are only some of the names of major Austrian authors whose letters, works and creativity is presented in Literature Museum of the Austrian National Library using unique original sources and numerous media points.

Two storeys in the listed building will contain a varied and innovative presentation, while from 2016 the third storey will be used for special exhibitions. The ground floor is available for readings, workshops and discussions. Occupying a total of 750 m², the Literature Museum will in this way present a living and open picture of Austrian literature from the end of the 18th century to the present.

The focus will be on the authors and the phenomena of literary life that were or are of importance within the Austrian borders at the relevant time. Thus the Literature Museum has not just an Austrian but also a European dimension. After all, Austrian literature with its multi-ethnic and multilingual history is a particularly appropriate reflection of historical dividing lines and questions of national identity: the contrast between province and centre, the tension between political abstinence and commitment, and the way Austria dealt with its large German neighbour.

A combination of thematic and chronological chapters will guide the visitor to significant historical milestones and caesuras – from the Enlightenment and Biedermeier via Vienna around 1900 as the laboratory of the Modern, the two world wars, the interwar and Nazi periods, exile and the Cold War up to the immediate present.

The Museum will also show, however, the aesthetic qualities of Austrian literature, its affinity to music and the fine arts. Visitors to this Museum will also learn more about the circumstances in which the authors lived and how literary business works.

last update 2/3/2016