… Austrian literature, its subjects, forms and contemporary history
… its colourfulness, internationality and multilingualism
… its relationship to other art forms: to film, music, painting and graphic design
… its settings and the places of literary life: from the city’s cafés to the Vienna Prater, from mountain villages to the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
History and focus
In the Literature Museum of the Austrian National Library, you will be enthralled by manuscripts and first editions, three-dimensional objects as well as media, audio and film stations for literature. In addition to the permanent exhibition, a temporary exhibition, a cinema room and reading lounges that invite you to linger and browse await you on three floors.
The Literature Museum is located at a historical site: in 1848, a year of revolution, the Royal and Imperial Court Chamber archive created in the 16th century was moved to Johannesgasse 6. Today, the purpose-built building is a particularly impressive example of Biedermeier functional architecture and is now heritage-protected. The rooms, with their historical archive shelves, represent an exciting contrast to modern exhibition architecture and to the topicality of the text, audio and images presented.
Franz Grillparzer (1791–1872) was the Director of Archives here until 1856 – torn between the duties of a Royal and Imperial tax inspector and his literary mission. Franz Grillparzer’s study, kept in its original form, is unique, providing an insight into the daily work and writings of the author. “Grillparzer proved that Vienna is an excellent place for suffering,” said Franz Kafka in a letter to his friend Grete Bloch in 1914.
A thematic and historical tour of Austrian literature since the end of the 18th century awaits you in the » permanent exhibition on the first and second floors. Discover texts of Johann Nestroy, Franz Kafka, Ilse Aichinger, Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard or Friederike Mayröcker. See astonishing objects such as Peter Handke’s hiking pole or a uniform as worn by Arthur Schnitzler’s “Leutnant Gustl”.
The third floor is dedicated to temporary » special exhibitions.
Use our » museum tablet for general and subject-based tours through the Literature Museum. Additional text, audio and images enable you to get more deeply involved and a writing workshop invites you to get creative with language yourself and become part of the museum.
Our » guided tours for children and teenagers range from general and subject-based tours to readings and writing workshops for primary school classes. Weekly guided tours for adults and a diverse » programme of events with discussions, workshop talks, film presentations and lectures round off our offering.
You can find more information in the » Museum Policy.