A Nervous Splendor: Vienna, 1888/1889

Front Cover
Penguin Books, 1979 - Biography & Autobiography - 340 pages
14 Reviews
On January 30, 1889, at the champagne-splashed hight of the Viennese Carnival, the handsome and charming Crown Prince Rudolf fired a revolver at his teenaged mistress and then himself. The two shots that rang out at Mayerling in the Vienna Woods echo still.

Frederic Morton, author of the bestselling Rothschilds, deftly tells the haunting story of the Prince and his city, where, in the span of only ten months, "the Western dream started to go wrong." In Rudolf's Vienna moved other young men with striking intellectual and artistic talents—and all as frustrated as the Prince. Among them were: young Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Theodor Herzl, Gustav Klimt, and the playwright Arthur Schnitzler, whose La Ronde was the great erotic drama of the fin de siecle. Morton studies these and other gifted young men, interweaving their fates with that of the doomed Prince and the entire city through to the eve of Easter, just after Rudolf's body is lowered into its permanent sarcophagus and a son named Adolf Hitler is born to Frau Klara Hitler.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889

User Review  - Bonnie Stanard - Goodreads

An aptly titled book. It cuts a wide swath, following the lives of 4 or 5 famous characters living in Vienna in 1888, including Freud, Strauss, Klimt, and Mahler. Overshadowing their stories is Crown ... Read full review

Review: A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889

User Review  - Todd Stockslager - Goodreads

A royal mess, more like it. But an important piece in the puzzle of understanding the period between 1865-1914 and why it was the most intellectually fruitful time in history yet the root of so many ... Read full review


Franz Joseph His Apostolic Majesty
Sigmund Freud in his passport photo for 1888
Theodor Herzl at twentyeight

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1979)

Frederic Morton was born in Vienna. Author of The Rothschilds, which became a hit Broadway musical, Mr. Morton has also written several novels. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, The Atlantic, Playboy, and Hudson Review, as well as in Martha Foley's Best American Short Stories and other anthologies. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information