Genius and Gender in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna (The 2022 IBC Lecture)

Fin de Siècle Vienna witnessed a resurgence of interest in genius as an ideal of exceptional, transformative creative power. Reform movements of all kinds took it up to express their aspirations and dissatisfaction with the status quo, combining Modernist concerns with the existing topoi of Sturm und Drang or Romantic genius. For women seeking to establish themselves as authors at the fin de siècle, genius constituted both a promise and a threat. It stood for the overthrowing of convention and for untrammelled self-expression, but came heavily laden with masculinist assumptions and traditions. In this recording of her lecture given at the University of London on 22 September 2022, Deborah Holmes surveys the history of the concept and examines the negotiations with genius conducted in the writing of three women seeking emancipation in various forms: Elsa Asenijeff, Rosa Mayreder and Grete Meisel-Hess. 
Deborah Holmes is Assistant Professor in Modern German Literature at the University of Salzburg and General Editor of the MHRA Yearbook Austrian Studies

Speakers: Deborah Holmes (Salzburg); Andrea Capovilla (IBC, London)

Event date: Thursday, 22 September 2022