Electra Historical Context

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Turn of the Century Vienna

In the 1890s, the dominant mood in von Hofmannsthal's hometown of Vienna, the capital of the great Habsburg Empire, was that of uncertainty. It was clear to many that the Habsburg monarchy, and the social, cultural and political order that it represented, was entering a crisis period and that its future could not be assured. The liberalism that had prevailed in the politics of the Habsburg Empire from the 1860s was virtually over by 1900. In its place arose reactionary and anti-Semitic forces—a development that worried von Hofmannsthal.

But, far from depressing the city's literary and artistic culture, the coming political disintegration seemed, on the contrary, to encourage it. The period from 1890 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914 produced an unprecedented flowering of Vienna's artistic and intellectual life. There was a spirit of innovation and experiment in the air, of...

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This section contains 900 words
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Buy the Electra Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Electra from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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