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AUSTRIA’S POST-89: STAGING SUPPRESSED MEMORY IN ELFRIEDE JELINEK’S AND THOMAS BERNHARD’S PLAYS BURGTHEATER AND HELDENPLATZ

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Chapter Summary

The Austrian memory device doubtlessly changed after the so called Wende in 1989. However, the decisive shift did not take place in 1989 but in the years before. On a political level the Waldheim affair brought about lasting changes of Austria’s political landscape. But the erosion of the main memory narrative, i.e. the ‘victim myth’, commenced from the cultural sphere, accompanied by numerous fierce debates. The scandals around Elfriede Jelinek’s farce Burgtheater and Thomas Bernhard’s play Heldenplatz, which took place before and after the Waldheim affair, illustrate allegedly stabilising mechanisms of defence memory vis-à-vis challenging stratas of memory turning up in these plays. Besides, both Jelinek und Bernhard implicitly draw on stratas of memory in regard to the Holocaust which only in the 90s – before Austria’s entry to the European Union – reached Austria’s cultural memory as post-memory.

10.1163/9789401208895_012
/content/books/b9789401208895s012
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