This article reflects on Trieste’s representation as ‘the ghost of its Habsburg past’ (Hametz, M. 2014. ‘Presnitz in the Piazza: Habsburg Nostalgia in Trieste.’ Journal of Austrian Studies 47 (2): 131–154. doi:10.1353/oas.2014.0029., 136) – a city that laments the irreversibility of time – to explore instead the ways in which nostalgic attachments to the empire have come under suspicion. Drawing on interviews, literary texts, and atmospheric data (McCormack, D. 2014. ‘Atmospheric things and circumstantial excursions.’ Cultural Geographies 21 (4): 605–625. doi:10.1177/1474474014522930), I explore the narrative and performative strategies adopted to reframe the political and cultural relations with the empire. By discussing how events and places expected to celebrate the Habsburg legacy refuse to become nostalgic, I trace the emergence of contested feelings for the empire to explore how nostalgia becomes an ambivalent sentiment that is discursively and performatively re-appropriated and mobilized to attach and detach Trieste from the empire.
- Habsburg empire