Robert von Dassanowsky: Lernet Holenia and the Return of Central Europe

(Contribution: Robert von Dassanowsky)

Throughout most of his wide-ranging oeuvre, Austrian author Alexander Lernet Holenia (1897-1976) conveys an image of an Austria inescapably haunted by its former Danubian Empire. Although he avoided active political involvement, the author clearly rejected nationalism, advocating instead a reunited Habsburgian Central Europe and praising the polyglot culture of Mitteleuropa. Considered the literary heir to Hofmannsthal and Rilke, Bernet-Holenia has been rediscovered by a new generation of readers and scholars due to the interest in Central European regionalism and paneuropean socioculture. His centenary in 1997 has brought new German-language editions of his novels and novellas, English and French translations, exhibitions, film re-releases, new critical studies and a superb bilingual Lernet-Holenia website that offers biographical notes, bibliography, filmography, essays, an international events listing and chat possibilities. See “Lernet-Holenia and the Return of Central Europe” by R. von Dassanowsky

Alexander Lernet-Holenia

Translated from the German by Robert von Dassanowsky

FOR EUROPA*

Where is the powerful one, who might carry you,

Agenor’s daughter, whose time is fleeting,

you loveliest of seven continents

and most beautiful child of the seven seas!

Before the waves break over you,

where is, he that can yet save you, the hero?

Who might carry you to new banks?

A new god in a new world.

*This poem, written in 1971, is dedicated to Austrian Count Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972), the founder in 1924, of the anti-fascist, later anti-communist organization promoting European unity, Pan-Europa

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