In his essay “Beating Them to It? The Vienna Group and the Beat Generation” in the volume The Transnational Beat Generation (2012) Jaap van der Bent examines similarities between Beat writers and the so called Vienna Group which existed as a loose collective of five poets from 1954 to 1962. But apart from this group many Austrian writers from the 1960s onwards were influenced by U.S. Beat authors, amongst them Nobel laureate in literature Elfriede Jelinek, Ernst Jandl, Wolfgang Bauer, and younger poets like Christian Ide Hintze and Christian Loidl who founded the Vienna School for Poetry in 1992 which is modelled on the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University.
In this lecture a mapping of Austrian writers and particular facets of their works which are connected to American Beat literature will be undertaken.But Austrian traces in U.S. Beat writing will be negotiated as well (William S. Burroughs’ sojourn in Vienna 1936/37; Allen Ginsberg who was several times in Austria, read along with Ernst Jandl at the “International Poetry Incarnation” in London 1965, and taught at the Vienna School for Poetry in 1993/94; and of course Beat poet ruth weiss who spent her childhood in Vienna).
Thomas Antonic received his PhD from the Department of German Studies at the University of Vienna. His research focuses on experimental and contemporary Austrian and German literature and theater, and he is currently working on an extensive research project on the Austrian playwright Wolfgang Bauer, as well as on a project on transnational connections between Austrian avant-garde and Beat literature. He is also a writer of fiction and member of the European artist collective William S. Burroughs Hurts. His recent publications include the edited volume Wolfgang Bauer: Der Geist von San Francisco (with an introduction by Elfriede Jelinek, publisher: Ritter, 2011), a number of scholarly essays, the novel Der Bär im Kaninchenfell (together with Janne Ratia, publisher: Edition Atelier, 2013), and within the artist collective William S. Burroughs Hurts the CD’s Flat Cat Bonfire (2011) and Limits of Control (Absurdia Records, 2013).