Vienna Voices: A Traveler Listens to the City of Dreams

SKU: 1-932559-89-2

Jill Knight Weinberger

Writing Travel Series
Edited by Jeanne Moskal

Information and Pricing
1-932559-89-2 (Paper; $18.00; £11.00) © 2006 by Parlor Press. 264 pages with illustrations, notes, and bibliography

Other Formats Available
1-932559-88-4 (Cloth; $34.00; £20.00); 1-932559-90-6 (Adobe ebook; $14.00; £8.00)

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Read a review at Connecticut Muse (Oct 2006; PDF)


Read Jill Knight Weinberger's Preface (PDF format; 145K)


A work of creative nonfiction, Vienna Voices: A Traveler Listens to the City of Dreams offers a nuanced portrait of the enigmatic “City of Dreams,” whose intellectual and artistic culture reached its height at the end of the nineteenth century, only to be eclipsed in the twentieth by the collapse of the Habsburg empire and the rise of National Socialism.

Inspired by Jill Knight Weinberger’s twenty-year acquaintance with the city and the story of her husband’s family, who as Viennese Jews were forced to flee in 1938, the book portrays two spheres of acquaintance with Vienna. There is the city of legendary charm and reverence for the arts, the city of Mozart, Schubert, Klimt and Freud; there is also its darker character, hedonistic and intolerant. Weinberger family history, historical anecdote, and personal observation are woven into a segmented structure that allows the reader to discover Vienna much as Weinberger did, in a juxtaposition of “voices” heard in the city’s poetry, everyday language, history books, period documents, and as recalled by its citizens, past and present.

What others are saying about Vienna Voices . . .

In Vienna Voices, Jill Weinberger masterfully weaves historical fact with family lore, literary anecdotes with personal anecdotes, and art history with folklore into a truly captivating and beautiful tapestry of Vienna.  This wonderfully inspired and original work teaches, informs, entertains, and moves us to dream in the city of dreams. Weinberger’s intricate and exquisite prose is itself dreamy, giving voice to all things Viennese—the Hapsburgs, the coffee houses, Klimt, and the bim trolleys—as well as the most revealing subtleties that characterize the city.  Vienna Voices adds incredible dimension and depth to the art of travel writing by recognizing that as travelers we move not only through space, but also through the dimension of time: always experiencing the past within the present, always caught in the flux of personal history as well as the history of a city, always shuttling between the real and the imagined.  —Richard Blanco, author of Directions to the Beach of the Dead University of Arizona Press, 2005)

Vienna Voices is such a wonderful book that lets me listen in on the city I have been dreaming of visiting and meander in this tapestry of its proud and troubled history woven together so intimately with such honesty, elegance, and delicacy. The bold juxtaposition of history, poetry (yes poetry!), personal narratives, character sketches, and so much more, works magically for me. It is travel writing at its best as it takes you on a suspenseful ride to enjoy the sights and sounds of an amazing city and to search for understanding of ourselves as well as history. I can’t wait to visit Vienna one day with this ultimate "tour guide" in hand. —Shouhua Qi, author of When the Purple Mountain Burns (Long River Press, 2005)

Traveling companions are the conundrum of any trip. The wrong one, and you wish only for solitude; the right one, and each sight, moment, taste and encounter is gilded and made memorable. Jill Knight Weinberger is the woman with whom to visit Vienna; and Vienna Voices: A Traveler Listens to the City of Dreams, is a sympathique volume to carry. Weinberger leads you into the opera and the underground, the café life and the Jewish cemeteries. She allows you to share her twenty year quest to piece together knowledge about her husband’s family’s Vienna past. With her, you visit the sites of their pre-Nazi businesses and homes. You meet kin. You learn how the Nazi’s took over the city, and the devastating effects. Offering vignettes of the personal and the historic, the heroic and the monstrous, Weinberger creates a rich collage which brings the city to life.—Janna Malamud Smith, author of My Father Is a Book: A Memoir of Bernard Malamud (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)

Vienna Voices is part memoir, part history, part travelogue. In blending the three literary forms, Weinberger enhances the power of each. The impeccable historical account ensures that her observations of friends and family who lived through the city’s best and worst times resonate beyond their personal experiences. Her sensitive portraits of people and places that mean so much to her family give Vienna Voices an emotional power that a dispassionate history of the city could never possess. Her wry depictions of traveling through modern-day Vienna enables us to see the city as it is, not just as an historical artifact unable to rise above its painful past. Weinberger masters each form through elegant writing, astute analysis, and gentle insight. The result enables the reader to understand this special city in a way we never have before.—Laurel Leff, author of Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America's Most Important Newspaper (Cambridge, 2005)

In Vienna Voices, Jill Knight Weinberger offers the reader not just the insights of a sophisticated and seasoned traveler but much more: a love story about a remarkable city and a complex heritage. The book is delightfully structured in photographically lucid vignettes woven together by the reflections of a mature and compassionate intelligence. The author has managed to use personal history as a window on a public history that includes Sigmund Freud, Nazis, and Jewish refugees, set to a musical score by Beethoven and Mozart. Altogether a rich and satisfying book. —Philip Gerard, author of Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Creating Stories of Real Life and co-editor (with Carolyn Forche) of Creative Nonfiction

About the Author

Jill Knight Weinberger (PhD, University of Connecticut) is an Associate Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University, where she teaches courses in creative writing and American literature. Her travel writing has appeared frequently in the New York Times, Boston Sunday Globe, and Los Angeles Times. In 2000, the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation recognized her writing with a Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism.


Series Editor’s Preface
1 Vienna Faces
2 German Is the Language of Liebe (Love!)
3 By Bim
4 From Favoriten to Döbling: Wilhelm’s Vienna Journey
5 The True Lover of Books Illustrations
6 Searching for Schnitzler
7 Schöne Post
8 Grace Notes
9 The Anschluss and After
10 City of the Dead
11 Vienna Voices
Works Cited
About the Author

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