The Strudlhofstiege sits at a bend in a road that abruptly dead ends. And if you ascending the stairway and proceed onward you arrive at the mottled metal gates that announce the American embassy. A pair of fountains, asymmetric design, and Art Nouveau stylings set the Strudlhofstiege apart in obvious ways that don’t even require knowing what Art Nouveau actually is. A poem by the fish-faced fountain alludes to the literary significance of the site: a prominent location in the Great Austrian Novel Die Strudlhofstiege oder Melzer und die Tiefe der Jahre (The Strudlhof Steps or Melzer and the Depth of the Years) by Heimito von Doderer. I visit the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, but it is not among local offerings. (I settle for some Thomas Bernhard instead). Almost predictably, this Great Work was only published in English by New York Review Books Classics in 2021.