Journal Title

Journal of Austrian Studies

Publication Date

Spring 2015


Thomas Glavinic’s novels Wie man leben soll (2004) and Die Arbeit der Nacht (2006) feature male protagonists who experience a process of devolution, echoing Robert Menasse’s concept of the “Rückentwicklungsroman” developed in his essays on Austrian literature and in his own novels, specifically the “Trilogie der Entgeisterung.” For Menasse the “Innerlichkeit” of Austrian literature in the post–World War II era simply concealed a disturbed relationship to its history, resulting in a hypertrophied subject. In Glavinic’s Wie man leben soll, the inflated self-importance of the main character against a backdrop of trivialized historical references is reflected in his meteoric success as a pop star; he is portrayed as a ridiculous figure, vulnerable in the final moment of wish fulfillment. The main character in Die Arbeit der Nacht experiences his suddenly overdetermined meaning as a subject in a posthuman world only through the erasure of and the receding importance of history.


Glavinic Thomas. Wie Man Leben Soll ; Glavinic Thomas. Arbeit Der Nacht. ; Menasse, Robert, -- 1954- ; Subject (Philosophy) In Literature ; Subjectivity In Literature

Publication Information

Journal of Austrian Studies, 2015, Volume 48, Issue 1, 27-58.

© 2015 Austrian Studies Association

Archived version is the accepted manuscript.

Published by the University of Nebraska Press.





Document Type

Journal Article