William H. Carter, assistant professor of German studies, recently published an article in the "Journal of Austrian Studies."
Spielerische Gedanken: Economic Crisis and Financial Speculation in Hugo Bettauer’s Die Stadt ohne Juden and Its Adaptation by Hans Karl Breslauer explores Hugo Bettauer’s hugely successful novel Die Stadt ohne Juden (1922) and offers a unique view of Austria during the early 1920s. This analysis of the novel and Hans Karl Breslauer’s 1924 adaptation explores how economic crisis and financial speculation function in these satirical texts. Economic matters permeate both texts and act as catalysts for both the expulsion of the Jews and their welcome return. This study analyzes how Bettauer and Breslauer, incorporating contemporary Austrian economic history, portray economic crisis and financial speculation as primary factors contributing to the political oppression and expulsion of the Jews. Bettauer’s novel not only recalls the effects of World War I and the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire but also questions the future of Vienna and Austria. Despite ostensibly happy endings, both texts provide ominous visions of the future.