The organized appearance of artists in the Danube monarchy either aroused suspicion or was considered a sign of poverty; it succeeded, if at all, only in the form of a social aid organization or for reasons of artistic renewal. One of the earliest associations in literature was the "Verein der Schriftstellerinnen und Künstlerinnen" (Association of Women Writers and Artists), which was founded in 1885, even before the Vienna Secession, which came into being in 1897 with the motto "Der Zeit ihre Kunst - Der Kunst ihre Freiheit" (To Time its Art - To Art its Freedom). Its members included Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Selma Lagerlöf, Ricarda Huch and Berta Zuckerkandl. Its main purpose was to establish a "pension fund for aging women writers and artists who were unable to work."

Tendencies toward increased self-organization in these years are also evident in the emergence of a literary life in Austria that developed independently of book publishing and theater life, with the founding of the magazine "Die Fackel" (1899 - 1936) by Karl Kraus and the Innsbruck semimonthly "Der Brenner" (1910 - 1954) by Ludwig von Ficker, as well as a Viennese coffeehouse literary society split between Café Griensteidl and Café Central. "Die Fackel" and "Der Brenner" were read throughout the German-speaking world; the European center of literature written in the coffeehouse was Vienna.