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Eine Besucherin und eine Besucher bestaunen eine Vitrine im Prunksaal

Which "Special Exhibit" do you like to see at the State Hall? Vote now! In this round three extraordinary objects from the Literary Archive of the Austrian National Library are available. You can vote until November 29. The winning object will be displayed from March 16, 2021 at the State Hall.

Avowals of love
Literary outporings of the heart

Whether prosaic or poetic demonstrations of love: Both the Literary Archive and the Department for Planned Languages contain many testimonies by authors who have set out on paper their deep emotional attachment to a loved one. With expressions of love nowadays increasingly transmitted in short-lived media such as text messages or even as mere pictograms, these surviving letters and poems give off an even greater aura.

Thank you for your participation!On November 30 we will announce the winning object on our website.

Your vote counts!

You decide: Vote here for your favourite object!
Only one vote per IP address possible.


Object 1: Ingeborg Bachmann to Paul Celan, draft letter
Typescript, November 1949

Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan are among the most important Germanspeaking poets of the second half of the 20th century. The two met and fell in love in 1948 in the house of the painter Edgar Jené in Vienna. Celan had just arrived in Vienna after fleeing from Romania, before travelling on to Paris a few weeks later, while Bachmann had been studying at the University of Vienna since 1946. Their almost 20-year correspondence, first published in 2009, reveals the excessive and painful struggle between the two for private understanding and poetic comprehension. Under the title „The Dreamed Ones“, Ruth Beckermann commemorated this love affair on film in 2016.

Object 2: Thomas Bernhard to Hilde Spiel, letter
Manuscript, 19 October 1986

Hilde Spiel is considered the grande dame of Austrian literature. A writer herself, she has set decisive accents in the Austrian literary scene with her roles as a highly acknowledged critic, as General Secretary of the Austrian P.E.N. Club and as a promoter of young aspiring writers. She was more than just Thomas Bernhard’s literary colleague. For 30 years she supported him and defended him and his work against misunderstandings and hostility. The great recognition Bernhard paid her, and the fraternal love he felt for Hilde Spiel can be seen in his letters to her, such as the one dated 19 October, 1986, which Bernhard ends with the words: „I will soon be back in Vienna, the city of which you are both child and queen“.

Object 3: Kalman Kalocsay: “Somernokto”, poem in Esperanto
Volume of poems, 1948

Kálmán Kalocsay (1891 – 1976) studied medicine and from 1929 was a lecturer in infectious diseases and senior physician at a Budapest hospital. He had already learned Esperanto before the First World War and published his first volume of poetry originally written in Esperanto, „Mondo kaj Koro“, in 1921. He exerted a particular influence on Esperanto literature through the magazine „Literatura Mondo“, which he founded together with Gyula Baghy and Tivadar Soros in 1922. It was in this journal that he published „Somernokto“ in 1948. The poem, which tells of a night of love under the skies, is considered by critics to be his most perfect, a very special combination of linguistic dexterity and emotional depth.

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Capacity library area at Heldenplatz

Due to the minimum distance required by the authorities, currently not all seats are available in the reading rooms. The capacity indicator serves as an orientation for your visit


302 seats (reading rooms, lounge or research zone) are still available.

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