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Richard Lambert

Richard Lambert is Assistant Professor of German Studies at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, USA and member of the BTWH research network.

His research focuses on early 20th century literature, Austrian literature and the relations between literature and science. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Duke University (2017) and spent the 2014-15 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society (LBIGG), which was renamed the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital History (LBIDH) in March 2019. His dissertation project “In Search of Lost Experience: Hermann Broch, Robert Musil and the Novels of Interwar Vienna” examined the novels of Robert Musil and Hermann Broch and used their examples to outline aesthetic as well as historical continuities between the fin-de-siècle and the interwar period. (See further below)

He collaborates as translator and (co-)editor of the chapters “Literature”, “Newspapers, Radio and Mass Media,” and “Theatre and Performing Arts” for the Red Vienna Sourcebook. Richard Lambert has presented his research at various conferences, including the annual meetings of the Austrian Studies Association and the German Studies Association. He was a DAAD fellow in Kassel and has received travel grants from the Austrian Cultural Forum and Duke University.

Current research project: Making the Modern: The Literature of Red Vienna and the Construction of Socialist Aesthetics
The literature of Red Vienna plays almost no role in the canonical version of Austrian literature. In its place, better-known names such as Broch, Musil, Roth, Werfel and Zweig often come to the fore, showing closer links to the celebrated fin-de-siècle. Against this leading interpretation of Austrian cultural history, the literature written by socialist authors of the interwar period is regarded as programmatic and aesthetically uninteresting. As a result, writers such as Gina Kaus, Else Feldmann, Ernst Fischer and Max Winter, as well as better-known authors such as Anton Kuh and Hugo Bettauer, are still waiting for closer examination. This project attempts to classify the literary products of Red Vienna according to the constructivist pattern of late modernism, and thus to see the literature of Red Vienna not only as a by-product of a socialist propaganda machine, but as a serious attempt to trace the architectural, social (The New Woman, The New Man), as well as historiographical efforts of Red Vienna in literature as well. In this way, I want to redefine the role of literature in the Austrian interwar period – on the one hand, by redefining what counts as “literature” during this period, and on the other hand, by presenting literature as a contribution to the construction of the First Republic.

Fellow Project 2014-15: In Search of Lost Experience: Viennese Modernism’s Literary Experiments
In his dissertation project, Richard Lambert examines the production of literary experience in the novels of Hermann Broch and Robert Musil from 1900 to 1932. These novels, according to his thesis, serve as exemplary examples of a search for lost experience (Schorske 1980) that hangs primarily in the ambivalent relationship between literature and language. Broch and Musil are not content to depict this crisis of experience, but attempt to overcome it through narrative experimentation. The project attempts not only to open up new avenues of research into the works of Broch and Musil, but also to make new contributions to the literary-historical constellations of Viennese modernism and the interwar period by rearranging the concept of experience.