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  • Post published:April 28, 2019

Picking Pages: At the Literature Museum


© By Sheila 

Rainy days and the eternal question: A good book or a trip to the museum. I said: Both. Follow me this week through the Literature Museum in Vienna. 

I admit it, I seriously underestimated this rather unknown museum in Vienna. Its size, versatility, richness. The good news: I know now where I can come back to anytime, when the sky is cloudy and the time is right. For a bit of literature and a bit of museum.

One of the very sweet arranged corners at the Literature Museum of Vienna.
Enjoying word after word... decorated with a lot of attention into detail.

April 23rd, it’s a day dedicated to books. More precisely, World Book Day. So what am I going to explore today for this beautiful blog? The Literature Museum in Vienna. First things second, I already I like its situation. Centrally located and easy to find, but as soon as I step through the doors, it is quiet. Which I again really like because inside the great museums in Vienna, as splendid and enriching as they are, I often get headaches caused by buzzing tourists crowds.

Eye-catcher: The beautiful stairway of the Literature Museum in Vienna.
Eye-catcher: The beautiful stairway of the Literature Museum in Vienna.

During my entire stay at the Literature Museum, about three hours, I met a total of four people in the premises. Including a security, which by the way is an exceptionally friendly one. Well, maybe it was also the time, Wednesday 3 PM is not the most popular timeframe to explore museums, even among die-hard Viennese culture lovers. It still made me happy. It’s the little things.

View into the exhibition rooms at the Literature Museum Vienna.
View into the exhibition rooms at the Literature Museum Vienna.

The exhibits in the Museum of Literature are so extensive that I walked around disorientated for the first hour. A first look here, one there. Another interesting photo, next. The content is endless, whether works or artists. Vicki Baum (author of the bestseller and later Hollywood production “Grand Hotel” with Greta Garbo) is represented, as well as Ödön von Horvath. Just to name some of my favorites. Much emphasis has been placed on the personal touch: handwritten notes, expressive portraits and excerpts delight the heart of literature lovers.

At the same time, the shady sides are shown, I think you know now, where this is heading to. Black and white photographs of Jewish Viennese cleaning the streets in front of a mob, a few of them. My heart ached when I saw the malicious glances on the one hand and the desperate citizens, brilliant writers among them, on the other. I think it’s good and right to give such photographs their space, just like here. Especially since I get a feeling lately, that many people tend to forget how awful and hard times of war were and are.

A portrait of Vicki Baum
A portrait of Vicki Baum

Back to the museum: In a successful attempt, the Austrian literature in its forms, colors, prominent representatives and contemporary history is processed here on three floors. Especially nice is the focus on local scenes and places in Vienna, where (literary) history was written. On the top floor you can currently visit the exhibition “Vienna. A city in the mirror of the literature” (translated title). I surrendered before I made it up another floor. And already had a look on the weather forecast for next week. Next Tuesday will be rainy again…

Again: the stairway is simply stunning...

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