Sunday, January 20, 2008

Krauss' anxiety regarding the popularity of the coffeehouse literati offers a skeptical analysis of a culture and movement that is often affiliated with progress.  It is well known that Vienna, at the time of Krauss' writings, was experiencing vast cultural changes in the artistic, philosophical, scientific, and literary realms.  To grapple with Krauss' point of view it is important to remember that, in many respects, this was not an underground movement, many artists enjoyed considerable success.  As a result of the existence of these coffeehouses, Krauss feels that a society of back patting arises where young writers emulate popular authors to curry favor rather than focusing their efforts on developing important works.  Opportunism and mediocrity are old bed fellows it seems resulting in a perpetual decline of language and art.  Popular critics like Bahr, who embrace flattery and champion the imitators do little but encourage this decline.

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