About the Museum

Foto vom Grillparzer Haus in dem das Literaturmuseum untergebracht ist


… Austrian literature, its subjects, forms and contemporary history

… its colourfulnessinternationality 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.

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. 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.


Publications of the Literature Museum

  • Das Literaturmuseum. 101 Objekte und Geschichten 
    Begleitbuch zur Dauerausstellung, hg. von Bernhard Fetz. Salzburg: Jung und Jung 2015. 280 S. € 24,90
  • Stefan Zweig. Weltautor
    Katalog zur sechsten Sonderausstellung des Literaturmuseums (11. 6. 2021 – 27. 2. 2022), hg. von Bernhard Fetz, Arnhilt Inguglia-Höfle und Arturo Larcati. Wien: Paul Zsolnay Verlag 2021. 349 S. € 29,90; ISBN 978-3-552-07233-6
  • Utopien und Apokalypsen. Die Erfindung der Zukunft in der Literatur
    Katalog zur fünften Sonderausstellung des Literaturmuseums (8. 10. 2020 – 25. 4. 2021), hg. von Katharina Manojlovic und Kerstin Putz. Wien: Paul Zsolnay Verlag 2020. 222 S. € 27,80; ISBN 978-3-552-05986-3
  • Wien. Eine Stadt im Spiegel der Literatur
    Katalog zur vierten Sonderausstellung des Literaturmuseums (12. 4. 2019–16. 2. 2020), hg. von Bernhard Fetz, Katharina Manojlovic und Kerstin Putz. Wien, Bozen: Folio Verlag 2019. 192 S. € 22; ISBN 978-3-85256-778-5
  • Berg, Wittgenstein, Zuckerkandl. Zentralfiguren der Wiener Moderne
    Begleitbuch zur dritten Sonderausstellung, hg. von Bernhard Fetz unter Mitarbeit von Katharina Manojlovic und Kerstin Putz. Wien: Zsolnay 2018. 336 S. € 27,80 
  • Im Rausch des Schreibens. Von Bachmann bis Musil
    Begleitbuch zur zweiten Sonderausstellung, hg. von Katharina Manojlovic und Kerstin Putz. Wien: Zsolnay 2017. 384 S. € 27,80
  • Bleistift, Heft & Laptop. Zehn Positionen aktuellen Schreibens
    Begleitbuch zur ersten Sonderausstellung, hg. von Angelika Reitzer und Wolfgang Straub. Salzburg: Jung und Jung 2016. 64 S. € 12,90
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