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Comical Modernity: Popular Humour and the Transformation of Urban Space in Late Nineteenth Century Vienna

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Volume 23

Austrian and Habsburg Studies

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Comical Modernity

Popular Humour and the Transformation of Urban Space in Late Nineteenth Century Vienna

Heidi Hakkarainen

288 pages, 26 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-273-1 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-274-8 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Through her penetrating and compelling analysis of humor in connection with the physical expansion of Vienna as a city and the shifting identity models based on gender, class, religion and ethnicity, Heidi Hakkarainen identifies a blend of elements that produced a specifically Viennese humor.” • Dagmar C. G. Lorenz, University of Illinois at Chicago

“This impressive and illuminating book represents thoughtful engagement in a wide range of discourses about what it means to be modern, but also opens up questions about what is particularly “Viennese.” It helps us learn about the city through senses that are often ignored—smells, tastes, slights and frustrations, but also moments of levity.” • Britta McEwen, Creighton University


Though long associated with a small group of coffeehouse elites around the turn of the twentieth century, Viennese “modernist” culture had roots that reached much further back and beyond the rarefied sphere of high culture. In Comical Modernity, Heidi Hakkarainen looks at Vienna in the second half of the nineteenth century, a period of dramatic urban renewal during which the city’s rapidly changing face was a mainstay of humorous magazines, books, and other publications aimed at middle-class audiences. As she shows, humor provided a widely accessible means of negotiating an era of radical change.

Heidi Hakkarainen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Turku, Finland, where she also obtained her doctorate. She is currently contributing to a research project on “Viral Culture in Early Nineteenth-Century Europe.”

Subject: History: 18th/19th Century Media Studies Cultural Studies (General)
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


List of Figures


Chapter 1. Power and Space
Chapter 2. Tensions with City Authorities
Chapter 3. City out of Control
Chapter 4. Knowing the City
Chapter 5. Urban Types and Characters



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