Mark Twain stayed in Vienna with his wife Olivia and his daughters Clara and Jean from the end of September 1897 till the end of May 1899, except for a few weeks in the summer of 1898, spent at the summer resort of Kaltenleutgeben near Vienna.
The family took quarters in Hotel Metropole, beautifully situated on the Franz-Joseph's Quay, on the right bank of the Danube Canal. Later they moved to the Hotel Krantz, opposite the old Capuchin Church and Monastery, in the center of the city.
The political conditions in Austria in general, but especially these parliamentary affairs which Mark Twain had the opportunity to observe and which made upon him, the citizen of an old democracy, the most painful impression, form the subject of his essay"Stirring Times in Austria", which was first piblished in the March issue of 1898 of Harper's Monthly Magazine. The publication of the essay caused a great sensation in Austria, as is revealed in detailed newspaper reviews.
LEDERER, MAX. “Mark Twain in Vienna.” Mark Twain Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 1, 1945, pp. 1–12. JSTOR, . Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.
- “Beauties of the German Language” is about something Clemens had decided not to read as part of a lecture he gave on 1 February “for a public charity” (Notebook 40, TS p. 8, CU-MARK). The text he declined to read was handed to him as a clipping as he began his lecture, and he pinned it to the last page of this manuscript as an example of his point about the German habit of compounding words. It is actually a traditional, or at least typical, German tongue twister of the kind Hank Morgan invoked in chapter 23 of A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court (SLC 1889).
- “Comment on Tautology and Grammar” briefly airs one of Clemens’s acknowledged “foibles,” his preference for “the exact word, and clarity of statement.”
- “A Group of Servants,” which is probably unfinished, records Clemens’s secret enjoyment of his wife Olivia’s attempts to control the ebullience of one of the servants hired for the house in Kaltenleutgeben (just outside Vienna), where they stayed from late May to mid-October 1898. The servant is dubbed “Wuthering Heights (which is not her name)” and proves herself a legitimate member of Mark Twain’s literary family of incessant talkers, from Simon Wheeler onward.
- “A Viennese Procession,” which highlights Clemens’s genuine delight in public ceremony and showy costume, describes a parade in honor of the fiftieth year of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830–1916), which was also celebrated with an extensive exhibition of “industry, commerce, agriculture, and science” (Horowitz 1898).