The Viennese Waltz: Decadence and the Decline of Austria's Unconscious

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Satirically utilized by Strauss II to highlight the deceptive aristocratic class, under Lehár, Schoenberg, Mahler, and Webern’s pens the waltz became the pivot between the conscious and unconscious, forcing the music into a paralytic “second state” analogous with the stagnation of the Habsburg Empire. The Waltz: The Decadence and Decline of Austria’s Unconscious shows how over the hundred years between the Vienna Congress and the dissolution of the Empire, the waltz altered from signifier of upper-class artifice—covering with glitz and glamour the poverty and war central to the time—to the link between the three classes, between man and nature, and between Viennese and “Other.” Danielle Hood wields the Freudian concepts of the uncanny and the doppelgänger to explain this revolution from the simple signification of a dance to the psychological anxiety of a subject’s place in society.

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Lexington Books
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