Fashioning Vienna: Adolf Loos's cultural criticism by Janet Stewart

By Janet Stewart

This e-book seeks to increase our realizing of Adolf bogs and his position within the fight to outline the character of modernity in Vienna on the flip of the 19th century. e-book hide; Half-Title; name; Copyright; commitment; Contents; Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction(s); 1 Investigating and excavating; 2 the opposite; three The Self; four The reveal and cover of distinction; five finding the narrative; end; Notes; Bibliography1; Index

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18 Adorno’s theory of the essay, then, provides a model through which Loos’s individual essays and lectures can be understood. Simultaneously, it suggests a model through which his texts as a whole can be investigated. Although it is correct that his texts shun linear progression, refusing to advance a single coherent theory (Amanshauser 1985:209), this is not a shortcoming of his work. 19 Loos’s individual lectures and essays refer to each other in a complex fashion, but they also lead an independent existence as ‘fragments of modernity’.

3 Poster advertising Loos’s 1913 lecture ‘Ornament and crime’ Source: Historisches Museum, Vienna. 24 INVESTIGATING AND EXCAVATING And indeed, it seems that the force and popularity of Loos’s lectures lay in his talents as a speaker. In 1927, Josef Hoffmann (1988:120) was moved to declare: ‘Herr Loos is extraordinarily witty and a very accomplished speaker’, while an anonymous admirer of Loos’s lecturing talents went so far as to suggest that ‘there are two categories of people, those who have experienced Loos’s lectures and those who have not’ (cited in Loos 1983:220).

The conversational tone of many of his essays is typical of successful written versions of stories: ‘it is the great ones whose written version differs least from the speech of the many nameless storytellers’ (Benjamin 1992:84). Prime examples of the modern essay form and the modern lecture form, Loos’s lectures and essays are based on a form of communication identified by Benjamin (1983:113) as one of the oldest in existence. The continuing presence of oral culture in the space of the urban metropolis is an exemplary instance of the paradoxical nature of modern life.

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