For many of the Austrian writers, and certainly for the best among them, with the Auschluß of 1938 the prospect of emigration as the only possibility of not forced expression and even survival. In emigration they died, among others, Ö. von Horváth (1901-1938) and R. Musil (1880-1942), F. Werfel (1890-1945) and H. Broch (1886-1951). But if the unease of individuals was heavy in those years and the internal cultural impoverishment serious, on the contrary after 1945, that is, after the so-called “year zero”, the first voices came from emigration that had the right and possibility to rise: that the same year Broch published his masterpiece, the novel Der Tod des Vergil, and in 1946, the first of his aftermaths, Werfel’s travel novel Stern der Ungeborenen was published. It was the start of a recovery that did not intend to break with a peculiar tradition. And he did not break with tradition, clearly showing his ancestry at Trakl and further back at Hölderlin, the first unpublished author until the end of the war, the lyricist P. Celan (1920-70), who also accepted and proposed unusual poetic dictates and pressed by the most specific needs of the historical moment (poetry as a fact no longer exclusively aesthetic, nothing and absolute relived in a limit-experience that welcomes the absurdity of their coexistence, hence the way open to the hermetic and the paralogic). Celan’s was an exclusively poetic experience (Der Sand aus den Urnen, 1948; Mohn und Gedächtnis, 1952; Von Schwelle zu Schwelle, 1955; Sprachgitter, 1959; Die Niemandsrose, 1963; Atemwende, 1967; Fadensonnen, 1968; Lichtzwang, 1970; Schneepart, posthumous 1971); also for this reason his was a paradigmatic and in a certain sense unique production. Equal coherence, but differently personalized, the poet M. Hölzer (born in 191 5) could and can boast, along a line that passes from surrealism to transcendental poetry (Entstehung eines Sternbildes, 1958; Nigredo, 1962; Gesicht ohne Gesicht, 1968). On the other hand, after highly promising and in any case significant beginnings as proof of a suffered spiritual isolation (Anrufung des grossen Bären, 1956; Die gestundete Zeit, 1957), he abandoned the poem I. Bachmann (1926-1973), to devote himself fruitfully to other genres. Linked to a non-conformist Christian belief, C. Busta (born 1915), eminent among Weinheber’s heirs (among other things Der Regenbaum, 1951; Lampe und Delphin, 1955; Die Sternenmühle, 1959) have provided original and often happy contributions. ; Unterwegs zu älteren Feuern, 1965) and the self-taught C. Lavant (1915-1973), always involved in a painful participation (in the opera field, Die unvollendete Liebe, 1949; Die Bettlerschale, 1956; Spindel im Mond, 1959; Sonnenvogel, 1960; Der Pfauenschrei, 1962; Hälfte des Herzens, 1967). E. Fried (born in 1921) and M. Guttenbrunnen (born in 1919) broaden their horizon to the point of co-responsibility in historical events, one attracted to an experiment that approaches him to “concrete lyric” (among other things Reich der Steine, 1963; Warngedichte and Überlegungen, 1964; Und Vietnam, und, 1966; Zeitfragen, 1968; Unter Nebenfeiden, 1970; Die Freiheit, den Mund aufzumachen, 1972, Gegengift, 1974), the other, in the wake of K. Kraus, averse to experimentation insofar as it is deviating from commitment (Schwarze Ruten, 1947; Opferholz, 1954; Ungereimte Gedichte, 1959; Die lange Zeit, 1965). There is, moreover, a growing interest in experimentation, even with references to Futurism and Dadaism which, however, at times they slow down rather than support.
According to findjobdescriptions, the panorama of fiction and prose in general is quite articulated, also here on the trail of a well-characterized tradition. Apart from the last, more relevant Broch (with the novels Der Tod des Vergil, 1945, and Die Schuldlosen, 1950), H. von Doderer (1896-1966) finally established himself after 1945 in which, even without full suffrage in the works, we wanted to recognize the creator of a new atmosphere, less tied to the nostalgia for the idea of ”greater Austria” in which others, even of his generation, still recognize themselves (among his novels Die Strudlhofstiege, 1951; Die Dämonen, 1956). Other well-known authors who have given their best after 1945 are the poet-painter AP von Gütersloh (1887-1973), who passed from the original expressionism to a neo-Mannerism that made school (the novel Sonne und Mond, 1962) and the magic realist G. Saiko (1892-1962), oriented to the study of depth and the psychological and social conflicts that arise from it (among other things in the novels Auf dem Floss, 1948; Der Mann im Schilf, 1955). However, among the writers of the same generation, nostalgia and regret for a world loved forever finite dominate, or at least they still feel: so in J. Urzidil (1896-1970), linked to the idea of ”his” old Prague (between other the stories of the Prager Tryptychon, 1960), and in Austria Lernet-Holenia (born in 1897), constantly linked to Habsburg Vienna even if unable to confirm itself at the levels of the old novel Die Standarte (1934). Nor does G. Fussenegger, who is also younger (born in 1912), deviate from a position that can be defined as conservative, in a series of solidly realistic novels (among others Die Brüder von Lasawa, 1948; Das verschüttete Anlitz, 1957; Die Pulvermühle, 1968). They were still authors who had already started their activity since before the war, sometimes long before (and we should not forget the narrator-essayist E. Canetti, born in 1905, finally reaching the deserved acknowledgments). New thing was, first of all in the narrative, the work of I. Aichinger (born in 1921), especially Die grössere Hoffnung (1947), the first Austrian post-war novel intentionally dropped in time and the first evidence of a Kafkaesque recovery in the German cultural area, to which J. Ebner (born in 1918) joined shortly thereafter with the novels, marked by magical realism, Sie warten auf Antwort (1954), Die Wildnisfrüher Sommer (1958) and with the short stories Die Götter reden nicht (1961). In those same years, with the short stories Das dreissigste Jahr (1961), which followed, in partial confirmation, the novel Malina (1971), he conquered a place of great importance also in the fiction I. Bachmann, continuing to confess tensions and discomforts of a strongly lyricized ego in contact with a resistant and unacceptable reality. With this Bachmann differs from those, such as G. Fritsch (1924-69; among other things, Moos auf den Steinen, 1956; Fasching, 1967) and as F. Habeck (born in 1916; among other things, Das Boot kommt nach Mitternacht, 1951; Der Ritt auf dem Tiger, 1958), deal with themes of the present in a predominantly realistic key, or by how many, such as J. Lind (born in 1927; Eine Seele aus Holz, 1962; Landschaft in Beton, 1963) and H. Zand (1923-70; Letzte Ausfahrt, 1953; Erben des Feuers, 1961), do not retreat in the face of the crude and even the macabre of a still recent past and a present without illusions, or by how many, like T. Bernhard (born in 1931; Frost, 1963; Verstörung, 1967; Das Kalkwerk, 1970), rather seek contact with updated poetics and techniques (in this case of the nouveau roman).
Meanwhile, the need to clarify the problems of expression in general and of language in particular from the ground up was also felt in Austria. Thus was born the so-called Wiener Gruppe, operating between 1952 and 1964 (attentive among other things to the dictates of the philosophy of language of the Austrian Wittgenstein), a meeting place for avant-garde artists linked by a concept of literary function that between the other excludes the diversification of genres – hence their “texts”, neither prose nor poetry – and reduces personalisms to a minimum. From this and other avant-garde groups (at least the Forum Stadtpark of Graz) received the first, decisive solicitations of authors among the most interesting in the panorama of the sixties and beyond, such as HC Artmann (born in 1921; in an abundant production, Von denen Husaren und anderen Seiltänzern, 1961), E. Jandl (born in 1925, with the “concrete poetry” of Klare gerührt, 1964), O. Wiener (born in 1935; with the novel Die Verbesserung von Mitteleuropa, 1969), F. Mayröcker (born in 1924; among other things, with Minimonsters Traumlexikon, 1968), from here is also moved the most famous of the last generation, P. Handke (born in 1942), also indebted to the poetics of the nouveau roman but above all disposed to the analysis of linguistic expression, which is extended in analysis and criticism of the current and potential means of dehumanization. This applies to fiction (and we remember the novels Die Hornissen, 1966; Der Hausierer, 1967; Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter, 1970; Der kurze Brief zum langen Abschied, 1972; Die Stunde der wahren Empfindung, 1975), but a lot more for theater (Publikumsbeschimpfung, 1966; Hilferufe, 1967; Kaspar, 1968; Das Mündel will Vormund sein, 1969; Der Ritt über den Bodensee and Quodlibet, 1970). Handke has managed to give a real shock to a theater which, like the Austrian one, is struggling more on the path of innovation precisely by virtue of its flourishing tradition, remote and recent. And in fact, in a first and longer phase, after the post-war recovery, they continued to produce and have followed authors who had already been in the breach for some time, such as F. Braun (born in 1885; Die Tochter des Jairus, 1950; Joseph und Maria, 1956), R. Henz (born 1897; Flucht in die Heimat, 1946; Die Erlösung, 1949; Die grosse Entscheidung, 1952), F. Bruckner (1891-1958; Früchte des Nichts, 1952, and various historical dramas published in one in 1956), M. Mell (1882-1971; Jeanne d’Arc, and other historical dramas), FT Csokor (1885-1969; Der verlorene Sohn, 1946; Medea postbellica, 1947; Pilatus, 1954; Hebt den Stein ab, 1957; Die Kaiser zwischen den zeiten, 1964), or the aforementioned Lernet -Holenia, or still others – relatively unpublished but entrusted with the role of “continuators” – above all F. Hochwälder (born in 1911; among his many works, Das heilige Experiment, 1947; Virginia, 1951; Donadieu, 1953; Die Herberge, 1955; Der Befehl, 1967). The relatively new genre of radio play soon contributed, however, to promoting less conventional achievements, involving several of the most gifted authors, such as Aichinger (Oakland, 1970), Bachmann (the most prominent Der gute Gott von Manhattan, 1958), essayist-poet R. Bayr (born 1919; Windmühlen, 1969), Fritsch (Kopf oder Adler, 1965), Habeck (Die Baracke des Glücks, 1966), la Mayröcker (Land Art, 1970), the avant-garde writer G. Rühm (born 1930; Ophelia und die Wörter, 1969). The fortune of the radio drama, entrusted exclusively to the word, also served as a braking action in the controversies, caused by the advent of Handke, on the problem of “anti-theater”, as Handke essentially aimed against mimicry and therefore on a radical downsizing of the word as the predominant means of expression. Another trend is the one that follows W. Bauer (born in 1941), who however prefers to innovate from within, referring, if anything, to naturalistically strengthened popular theater (Mikrodramen, 1964; Magie afternoon and Change, 1969; Silvester and Film und Frau, 1971): and is, alongside Handke, the most prominent personality of the most recent Austrian theater.