Vienna's Dreams of Europe puts forward a convincing counter-narrative to the prevailing story of Austria's place in Europe since the Enlightenment. For a millennium, Austrian writers have used images of Europe and its hegemonic culture as their political and cultural reference points. Yet in discussions of Europe's nation-states, Austria appears only as an afterthought, matter that its precursor states-the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian Empire, and Austria Hungary-represented a globalized European cultural space outside the dominant paradigm of nationalist colonialism. Austrian writers today confront reunited Europe in full ackwledgment of Austro-Hungary's multicultural heritage, which mixes various nationalities, ethnicities, and cultural forms, including ancestors from the Balkans and beyond. Challenging standard accounts of 18th- through 20th-century European imperial identity construction, Vienna's Dreams of Europe introduces a group of Austrian public intellectuals and authors who have since the 18th century construed their own public as European. Working in different terms than today's theorist-critics of the hegemonic West, Katherine Arens posits a political identity resisting two hundred years of European nationalism.
Katherine Arens is a Professor of Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. She is also a Professor in the Center for European Studies and the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of seven books, including Belle Necropolis: Ghosts of Imperial Vienna (2014), Empire in Decline (2001), and Austria and Other Margins: Reading Culture (1996). She has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Plato Award from the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, UK.