“Rosl und Ihre Tochter” is the German version of Liesl Müller-Johnson’s autobiographical book “Rosl’s Daughter”, which has been translated recently into German by Monika Mertl.
“Liesl Müller-Johnson tells of her memories of life in Vienna’s Leopoldstadt in the ‘20s and about the glittering theatre world where her mother, Rosl Berndt, worked with the great figures of the day: Fritz Grünbaum, Fritz Löhner-Beda, Hermann Leopoldi and Karl Farkas amongst others.
As well as translating Liesl’s book, “Rosl und ihre Tochter”, Monika Mertl has supplied the historic background of the time. She has used the example of the lives of three strong women, Liesl’s grandmother Bronya, her mother Rosl and Liesl herself to bring to life the spirit of an ever-changing century. A very worthwhile read!
The battles of words and emotions that beset the triumvirate who ruled mid-eighteenth century Austria are legendary. Joseph, Holy Roman Emperor and co-regent of the Austrian Monarchy, Maria Theresa his mother and Empress of Austria and Prince Kaunitz, their first minister, have long been the caricatures of academic debate. Their actions provide the key to “enlightened despotism” and what it meant for monarchical politics in pre-revolutionary Central Europe.
What Derek Beales has done in his two volume biography of Joseph is to give his life and times and the realities of his political development fresh understanding. Through lavish quotation from his correspondence and the many political treatises Joseph compiled, Beales brings to rich life a rewriting of the somewhat turgid narratives of previous biographies.
He characterises Joseph’s harangues as typically breathless, radical, censorious and impatient while Joseph himself sometimes despaired of his responsibilities, “I don’t believe that even among the Iroquois and the Hottentots such ridiculous things occur as here.”
But calm did at times intervene. Joseph loved musical repose. He was especially fond of fugues.
Derek Beales; Joseph II; Cambridge University Press; Vol 1: 1987; Vol 2: 2009
The Austrian book launch and opening of this exhibition at the base level gallery was well attended and the atmosphere at the premiere was buzzing. People came from all over Austria and England, as well as some people featured in the book.
The evening was hosted by Niclas Schmiedmaier of the gallery, and guest speakers were Mag. Peter Mikl, former director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in London and Dr. Jill Lewis, who wrote the foreword to the book. They highlighted the importance of the social history which this book relates in such a personal and informative way.
It was both moving and educational, to discover the start of new lives that Austrian women made for themselves through the "Blue Danube Scheme". Marion Trestler's book sheds light on this period of Austrian and British history, from the role of the governments, to the various individual motivations for leaving Austria, and the way that these women now perceive themselves. The exhibition and the book reward the time spent getting to know the accounts of these women.
The national newspaper "Die Presse" dedicated a whole page to reviewing the book, and the exhibition was recommended by "ORF Wien Heute".
Thanks go to the Anglo-Austrian Society and the Austrian Cultural Forum for their generous support without which it would not have been possible to publish this interesting book.
Eva-Maria Mansell, Member of the Anglo Austrian Society Authors website: www.mariontrestler.com
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