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Commentary: Menace as Metaphor: The Traumatic Memory of Ottoman Encounters

  • Larry Wolff


Johann Pezzl's account of Vienna in the 1780s was conceived from the perspective of an enlightened supporter of Joseph II. Pezzl divided this account into numerous small sections, including one on “The Twelfth of September,” the date of the defeat of the Turks outside Vienna in 1683. As Maureen Healy notes, the new austerity of Joseph II, who did not favor excessively ceremonial occasions, moderated the annual celebration of that date. However, for a whole century, the religious commemoration of the date 12 September (which was also the festival of the Holy Name of Mary) preserved the historical memory of the liberation of Vienna in a manner that is more often associated with modern (rather than early modern) commemorations.



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1 Johann Pezzl, Sketch of Vienna, in Robbins Landon, H. C., Mozart and Vienna (New York, 1991), 8687.

2 Ibid., 87.

3 18 April 1781; Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life, Robert Spaethling (New York, 2000), 244.

4 Braunbehrens, Volkmar, Mozart in Vienna 1781–1791, trans. Bell, Timothy (1986; New York, 1989), 312–16.

5 Seton-Watson, R. W., Disraeli, Gladstone, and the Eastern Question (1935; New York, 1972), 7476, 545–50.

6 Braudel, Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, trans. Reynolds, Sian, 2 vols. (1949; New York, 1976), vol. 1:286–88.

7 Neumann, Iver, The Uses of the Other: “The East” in European Identity Formation (Minneapolis, MN, 1999), 3963.

Commentary: Menace as Metaphor: The Traumatic Memory of Ottoman Encounters

  • Larry Wolff


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