Culture Magazine

Café Culture

By Praymont

Café Culture

London coffeehouse -- 'A disagreement about the Cartesian Dream Argument turns sour'

A new book from Berghahn: The Viennese Café and Fin-de-Siècle Culture, ed. Ashby, Gronberg & Shaw-Miller: 'The Viennese café was a key site of urban modernity around 1900. In the rapidly growing city it functioned simultaneously as home and workplace, affording opportunities for both leisure and intellectual exchange. This volume explores the nature and function of the coffeehouse in the social, cultural and political world of fin-de-siècle Vienna.'
Prague's cafés: 'Just up Národní street from Slavia is Café Louvre, a former haunt of Kafka’s when he participated in the philosophical discussions of the Brentano Circle, a group that met there to discuss the ideas of philosopher and psychologist Franz Brentano. ... At one time Café Arco was the base of the city’s German-speaking writers, a group that included Kafka and his closest friends as well as Franz Werfel and Egon Erwin Kisch. The café and its literary inhabitants became so closely associated that the Viennese writer and satirist Karl Kraus mocked the café’s “Werfel-s and Brod-s and Kafka-s and Kisch-es,” dubbing the group the Arconauts.'
'The third space: the cafe’s place in forming modern Japan'. David Cozy reviews Merry White's Coffee Life in Japan. 'In Japan, as elsewhere, as work ceased to be something that was done at home, among family and neighbors, and happened instead at a location to which one commuted, intermediate spaces such as cafes that were neither home nor work, became necessary. Cafes, then, are both a product of modernity and, through the space they provide for new ideas to develop, a driver of modernity.'
Matthew Green  on 'The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse': 'Sauntering into some of London’s most prestigious establishments in St James’s, Covent Garden and Cornhill, he [John Macky] marvelled at how strangers, whatever their social background or political allegiances, were always welcomed into lively convivial company. They were right to be amazed: early eighteenth-century London boasted more coffeehouses than any other city in the western world, save Constantinople.'
Charles Lamb on a newspaper hoarder in Nando's [Ferdinando's] coffeehouse: 'What an eternal time that gentleman in black, at Nando’s, keeps the paper! I am sick of hearing the waiter bawling out incessantly, ‘the Chronicle is in hand, Sir.’'

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