A famous guest: Franz Grillparzer
Health problems plagued Franz Grillparzer (1791 to 1872) throughout much of his life. And so it came about that this famous Austrian author and dramatist came to Gastein Valley on multiple occasions, in order to “take the cure”. “This spa community probably saved my life back then. I returned home fortified and able to work once more”, Grillparzer noted in his autobiography. This literary icon traveled to Hofgastein at the recommendation of Ladislaus Pyrker, who was abbot of Cistercian Lilienfeld Abbey at that time and also actively involved in literature. A man with a love for the arts and presumably rather wealthy, the abbot also enjoyed close ties to the imperial household and is generally regarded as one of the pioneering figures of Hofgastein as a spa resort.
In commemoration of Franz Grillparzer: Franz Grillparzer was a guest at “Hotel Moser – zum Goldenen Adler”, today’s Palais Norica, in 1819 and 1827, as noted in the town chronicle. It was precisely this point in the local annals which caught the attention of the Czerny family while they were in the process of renovating Palais Norica. It is there that we can also read that the town of Hofgastein, back in the year 1890, formally passed a resolution, on December 27 of that year, to install “a memorial plaque made of marble, as well as a pipe for hot water” at Hotel Moser. To commemorate his visits and to mark what would have been Franz Grillparzer’s 100th birthday. However, this decision would ultimately be forgotten. And would not be followed through on until 2018, 128 years later, at the initiative of the Czerny family.
His Life: Franz Grillparzer lived in Vienna, studied law and, in addition to his literary activities, was a governmental official. Amongst other things, he was director of the k. k. Hofkammerarchiv (which would later become the Ministry of Finance), located in the Johannesgasse In Vienna’s 1st District. Today, this building houses the Literature Museum, where Franz Grillparzer’s study has been preserved true to the original.
His Works: Franz Grillparzer, who is also proudly proclaimed as “Austria’s National Poet”, began writing at an early age. He is known above all for his dramas, which are frequently performed even today. These include “Das goldene Vlies”, “König Ottokars Glück und Ende” – which was performed in 1955 at the reopening of the Burgtheater, “Ein treuer Diener seines Herrn”, “Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen”, “Der Traum ein Leben”, “Weh dem, der lügt”, “Die Jüdin von Toledo”.
His autobiography, a new edition of which was published in 2017 (Jung und Jung Verlag), provides insights into his life, his travels and his encounters with contemporaries including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
As the name suggests, one of his poems, “Farewell to Gastein”, recalls one of his visits to the valley.