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Selected Short Fiction

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Arthur Schnitzler is best known for his plays, such as La Ronde and The Game of Love, but his short fiction, in which the pulse of early twentieth-century Vienna can be felt as in no other writer, is no less masterly. Characteristic of this observer of the late Habsburg world of balls, adultery and duels is an ironic, bitter-sweet tone reminiscent of another doctor-turned- Arthur Schnitzler is best known for his plays, such as La Ronde and The Game of Love, but his short fiction, in which the pulse of early twentieth-century Vienna can be felt as in no other writer, is no less masterly. Characteristic of this observer of the late Habsburg world of balls, adultery and duels is an ironic, bitter-sweet tone reminiscent of another doctor-turned-writer, Anton Chekhov. Schnitzler’s intuitive understanding of the human psyche was much admired by his contemporary Sigmund Freud, and the primary focus of his stories is on the volatile, turbulent inner lives of his characters as revealed in dreams, unconscious sexual impulses, and psychopathic states. This volume containing thirteen stories provides the balanced selection of Schnitzler’s short fiction that has long been needed. It ranges from short comic tales to dense novellas such as Lieutenant Gustl, Fräulein Else, and the superbly atmospheric late, dramatic tale of love and sudden death The Duellist’s Second. Some narratives – as told, for instance, by a deluded bank clerk, or the jealous admirer of another man’s wife – are distinctly ambivalent in implication; others feature characters in threshold situations which force them to reappraise their entire lives. These stories, a number of them translated into English for the first time, brilliantly display the social and psychological awareness of their author, whom today’s reader is likely to find distinctly modern. Contents: His Royal Highness is in the House; Flowers; The Wise Man's Wife; Dead Men Tell No Tales; Lieutenant Gustl; Andreas Thameyer's Farewell Letter; Success; The Green Cravat; An Eccentric; The Grecian Dancer; The Prophecy; Fräulein Else; The Duellist's Second.


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Arthur Schnitzler is best known for his plays, such as La Ronde and The Game of Love, but his short fiction, in which the pulse of early twentieth-century Vienna can be felt as in no other writer, is no less masterly. Characteristic of this observer of the late Habsburg world of balls, adultery and duels is an ironic, bitter-sweet tone reminiscent of another doctor-turned- Arthur Schnitzler is best known for his plays, such as La Ronde and The Game of Love, but his short fiction, in which the pulse of early twentieth-century Vienna can be felt as in no other writer, is no less masterly. Characteristic of this observer of the late Habsburg world of balls, adultery and duels is an ironic, bitter-sweet tone reminiscent of another doctor-turned-writer, Anton Chekhov. Schnitzler’s intuitive understanding of the human psyche was much admired by his contemporary Sigmund Freud, and the primary focus of his stories is on the volatile, turbulent inner lives of his characters as revealed in dreams, unconscious sexual impulses, and psychopathic states. This volume containing thirteen stories provides the balanced selection of Schnitzler’s short fiction that has long been needed. It ranges from short comic tales to dense novellas such as Lieutenant Gustl, Fräulein Else, and the superbly atmospheric late, dramatic tale of love and sudden death The Duellist’s Second. Some narratives – as told, for instance, by a deluded bank clerk, or the jealous admirer of another man’s wife – are distinctly ambivalent in implication; others feature characters in threshold situations which force them to reappraise their entire lives. These stories, a number of them translated into English for the first time, brilliantly display the social and psychological awareness of their author, whom today’s reader is likely to find distinctly modern. Contents: His Royal Highness is in the House; Flowers; The Wise Man's Wife; Dead Men Tell No Tales; Lieutenant Gustl; Andreas Thameyer's Farewell Letter; Success; The Green Cravat; An Eccentric; The Grecian Dancer; The Prophecy; Fräulein Else; The Duellist's Second.

32 review for Selected Short Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    knig

    A gorgeous collection of stories rendered with nostalgic melancholy yet compassionate awareness of the fragility of life and love in fin-de-siecle Vienna: the golden age of confluence of centuries of European cultural erudition. The psychological power and gossamer subtlety of Schnitzler’s vision is a product of introspective qualia, and his experiments with associative interior evocations precedes the surrealistic coterie of writers by a tleast two generations. ‘ Lieutenant Gustl ‘ is a sublime A gorgeous collection of stories rendered with nostalgic melancholy yet compassionate awareness of the fragility of life and love in fin-de-siecle Vienna: the golden age of confluence of centuries of European cultural erudition. The psychological power and gossamer subtlety of Schnitzler’s vision is a product of introspective qualia, and his experiments with associative interior evocations precedes the surrealistic coterie of writers by a tleast two generations. ‘ Lieutenant Gustl ‘ is a sublime example of discursive interior monologue signified through heteroglossia: an evanescently orchestrated descent into madness, redeemed through a jejune moment. The lieutenant’s imagined nemesis dies of a stroke, and psychological order is restored. This restorative quality which Schnitzler grants his protagonists stands him in sharp contrast to the complete and full psychological alienation administered by subsequent German writers, (most notably Kafka). If this is so, its because Schnitzler’s characters remain anchored in the context of social reality. The pulse of Viennese spiritual life, its recurrent memes and cultural idiosyncrasies inform the psychological introspection of even the most dream like, effervescent personas (as in the Wise Man’s Wife). Schnitzler’s stories are invariably symphonic variations on a theme: the depth and complexity of the human heart and soul. Yet each beautifully evocative story renders this anew in a marvellously atmospheric séance of psychological and social awareness. Plus, I am enriching my vocabulary with the following splendid word: satisfaktionsunfahig. I shall be using it indiscriminately going forward.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ollie

    Superb.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elise Baigent

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lamerestbelle

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eveliene

  6. 4 out of 5

    Will

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Ar

  8. 5 out of 5

    Becks

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisajean

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kimley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Moran

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tosh

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mehrdad Boozchaloo

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nick Richards

  16. 4 out of 5

    George Berguño

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sofia aaa

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  19. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gabby Chu

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eadweard

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jur

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andreas

  27. 4 out of 5

    SigurSof

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sisavang

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  31. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  32. 5 out of 5

    Mairéad

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