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Arthur Schnitzler (1862 - 1931)

Lifespan: 1862 - 1931

Related: Austria - Vienna Secession - theatre - German literature


Arthur Schnitzler (May 15, 1862 - October 21, 1931) was an Austrian writer and doctor.

He was born in Vienna and began studying medicine at university in 1879 where he received his doctorate of medicine in 1885. He then worked in Vienna's General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus).

His works illuminated personal relationships so cuttingly (causing scandals more than once) that fellow Viennese Sigmund Freud confessed almost enviously that Schnitzler succeeded in intuitively finding solutions where he himself required long scientific research to achieve the same result. Despite his seriousness of purpose, Schnitzler frequently approaches the bedroom farce in his plays.

He meticulously kept a diary from the age of seventeen until two days before his death in Vienna. This manuscript of almost 8,000 pages has been edited in ten volumes between 1981 and 2000 by the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The British playwright Tom Stoppard adapted Schnitzler's play Leibelei as Dalliance, and Das weite Land as Undiscovered Country. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Schnitzler [Apr 2005]

Traumnovelle (1925/26) - Arthur Schnitzler

Traumnovelle (1963) - Arthur Schnitzler [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Traumnovelle (1925/26) (adapted as the film Eyes Wide Shut by American director Stanley Kubrick)

Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle, adapted into the film Eyes Wide Shut by director Stanley Kubrick, and also dramatized for BBC Radio 4 as Dream Story, details the thoughts and psychological evolution of doctor Fridolin over a two day period. In this short time, he meets many people who give a clue to the world Schnitzler is creating for us. This all culminates in the masquerade ball, a wondrous event of masked individualism, sex, and danger for Fridolin the outsider.

The mystery of this novella comes from the self-discovery that Fridolin experiences, a descent into the depths of his own mind, and the changes in the relationships between people. It incorporates a plethora of psychological imagery and symbolism.

This book falls into the period of Viennese decadence after the turn of the century. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traumnovelle [Dec 2004]

Her stupid questions ...

"Her stupid questions, which once had seemed to me the happiest proof of her love; her voice, which had once been capable of exciting me physically; her touch which had ravished me, all had only one effect and influence over me now—to enervate me. She became jealous, or behaved as if she were; there was scene after scene. I realized that I should have been devastated, but all I could feel was torture. Then she would kiss my hand, beg for forgiveness, we would rest side by side, and I was consumed by boredom. I ate oranges and was annoyed by the thought that I would have to get up in the middle of the night and go home. And as I held her in my arms, I was thinking of any other woman, longing for any other woman, a prostitute for all I cared, if only I could have kissed other lips, heard other sighs..."

If Schnitzler was a master of the playboy type, he was even more famous for his depiction of the woman with whom the playboy was so often involved, das susses Madel, "the sweet girl." She is socially inferior and sexually accessible; he can buy her company with modest gifts. Each of the parties in this relationship is subject to a characteristic illusion: the young man pretends that there may be a future for their affair; the young woman tries to pretend that she is content with its impermanence. The break, when it comes, is likely to be awkward for the young man, painful for the young woman. Far from being the femme fatale of the fin-de-siècle aesthetic imagination, she is fragile and vulnerable. --via http://media.ucsc.edu/classes/thompson/schnitzler.html [Oct 2006]

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