«Und nun gar Turgénjew!..»: On Some Features of the Reception of Ivan Turgenev’ s Prose in Austria

Reception of Turgenev’s (1818–1883) work in the Austrian literary context is seen against the background of historical events such as the Battle of Königgrätz (1866) and the formation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867). As a result, the Austrian part of the actual “double Empire” (Cisleithania) is mostly non-German-speaking (mostly Slavic) population. This fact sharpens the attention of the Austrians to the narrative experience of Turgenev as a literary representative of the “Slavic East”, which is, on the one hand, according to the reviews Hieronymus Lorm’s and Ferdinand Kürenberger‘s, perceived through the “invention” of the “Eastern European Other” (L. Wolff). In particular, Kürenberger‘s project “Sacher-Masoch as Austrian Turgenev” is based on the displacement of the original as the “Other” beyond the cultural borders of Europe replacing him to another one, more cultured, German-speaking literary specimen of “Slavs”. At the same time, the content and form of Turgenev’s works, such as “The Diary of a Hunter”, as well as stories and novels of 1850s — 1860s., being assimilated and processed, provided not only the “Austrian Turgenev” Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, but also Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Ferdinand von Saar, Karl Emil Franzos with convenient matrix for the literary “assignment” in their own medium of German-speaking prose of Austrian Slavic limits Moravia, Bohemia, Galicia. In addition, Turgenev stands for Austrian realist writers alternative benchmark, marking their opposition to the master discourse of German “poetic realism”. Particularly productive in terms of the narrative turns to Austrian authors borrowed from “The Diary of a Hunter” figure of the nobleman-storyteller, a master narrative “frame”, which reduce a certain “history”, taking place in the Austrian Slavic “outback”, Sacher-Masoch’s “Legacy of Kain” (1870–1877 ), Franzos’ “Half-Asia: the land and the people of Eastern Europe” (1876), Ebner-Eschenbach’s “Stories from Castle and Village” (1883–1886), Saar’s “Novellas from Austria” (1877–1906).

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