Gendered lives in anticipation of a biographer? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437



Following Carl Pletsch’s hypothesis of ‘The life lived in anticipation of one’s biographers’, we explore the ‘autobiographical lives’ of two couples of creative individuals who have and will become the subjects of biographies: these couples are the canonised and popular Austrian writers Friederike Mayröcker (b. 1925) and Ernst Jandl (b. 1925, d. 2000) and the relatively unknown exiles Salka Viertel (b. 1889, d. 1978) and Berthold Viertel (b. 1885, d. 1953). As more or less well-known actors in the cultural scene of Austria’s ‘long twentieth century’, they give us the opportunity to analyse gendered socialisation and examine how their lives and gendered life scripts shaped their respective personal archives. All four of them left behind substantial collections of documents. The particular archives of these four modern intellectuals are not only of very different shapes and sizes, but also stored in different memory institutions ranging from the Austrian National Library to the Viennese City Library and the German Literary Archive – they, by extension, also depict diverse politics of archival memory in the context of gender and nationality.


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