SCHNITZLER, ARTHUR

SCHNITZLER, ARTHUR (1862–1931), Austrian playwright and author. Schnitzler's father, Professor Johann Schnitzler (1835–1593), was an eminent Viennese throat specialist. Since his patients included dramatic and operatic stars, young Schnitzler was in constant contact with theatrical life and began writing plays while still a youth. After qualifying as a physician at the University of Vienna, he edited the medical journal Internationale klinische Rundschau (1887–94). His own professional articles dealt mainly with psychotherapy, and his friend Sigmund freud later paid tribute to his poetic intuition. In 1893 Schnitzler published a collection of seven short plays titled Anatol after the central character, an elegant philanderer. The book had a prologue in verse by hugo von hofmannsthal . His first full-length play, Das Maerchen (1894), was a failure, but Liebelei, produced in 1895 at the Viennese Burg-theater, proved so successful that Schnitzler decided to devote himself almost entirely to writing. Reigen (1900), a series of interconnected dialogues satirizing conventional love affairs, gave rise to a lawsuit in Berlin. (Years later Max Ophuels produced Liebelei as a comedy and, after World War II, turned Reigen into the internationally successful film, La Ronde.) As Schnitzler grew older, the inconstant bachelor and the single girl ceased to occupy the center of his attention, and he became increasingly interested in relations between husband and wife. In many of his works, especially in the full-length plays Der einsame Weg (1904), Zwischenspiel (1906), Der Ruf des Lebens (1906), and Das weite Land (1911), he explored with growing sensitivity the problems of married life. In groping for a satisfactory substitute for the traditional marital relationship and for a morality better adapted to 20th-century psychology, he pursued various, amoral bypaths, but ultimately came to reject all moral systems, old and new alike. In the years before World War I his plays were among those most often performed on the German and Austrian stage. He was also writing some of the novellas which were always a favorite genre and included Lieutenant Gustl (1901), Casanovas Heimfahrt (1918), and Fraeulein Else (1924). In 1912 Schnitzler dramatized a problem of medical ethics in Professor Bernhardi. In this play a physician, who regards it as his duty to relieve the final hours of a dying man, prevents a Catholic priest from administering the last rites, fearing that this might subject his patient to unnecessary suffering. Since the physician is a Jew, he becomes a target for antisemitic attacks. Here, as in the novel Der Weg ins Freie (1908), Schnitzler expressed his views on the place of the Jew in modern life. He held that antisemitism was the natural outcome of the Jews' historical position as a minority group in every land, and that no amount of Jewish or Christian sentimentality would eradicate anti-Jewish prejudice. He had a positive outlook on the issue of Jewish survival and derided those Jews who hid their origin. He prophesied that, as the liberals and Pan-Germans had betrayed them, so would the politicians of the left. Schnitzler accepted neither Zionism nor assimilation as a solution, believing that each individual had to make his own adjustment. For himself, he preferred to continue the struggle against his enemies in Vienna, where he felt himself at home. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: R.H. Allen, An Annotated Arthur Schnitzler Bibliography (1966); J. Koerner, Arthur Schnitzlers Gestalten und Probleme (1921); R. Specht, Arthur Schnitzler (Ger., 1922); W. Mann, in: G. Krojanker (ed.), Juden in der deutschen Literatur (1926), 207–18; S. Liptzin, Arthur Schnitzler (Eng., 1932); H. Kohn, Karl Kraus, Arthur Schnitzler, Otto Weininger; aus dem juedischen Wien der Jahrhundertwende (1962), 13–29; O. Schnitzler, Spiegelbild der Freundschaft (1962); H.W. Reichert and H. Salinger (eds.), Studies in Arthur Schnitzler: Centennial Commemorative Volume (1963); H. Zohn, Wiener Juden in der deutschen Literatur (1964), 9–18; G. Baumann, Arthur Schnitzler (Ger., 1965); W.H. Rey, Arthur Schnitzler; die spaete Prosa als Gipfel seines Schaffens (1968); H. Kohn, in: YLBI, 6 (1961), 152–69. (Sol Liptzin)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862 1931)    Playwright. Schnitzler was a product of fin de siècle Vienna, and his artistic sensibility was in a way similar to Hugo von Hofmannsthal s, though Schnitzler was much less lyrical in his plays and far more interested in the sensual …   Historical dictionary of German Theatre

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862–1931)    Born in Vienna, Arthur Schnitzler was the son of a prosperous Jewish laryngologist. The future novelist and playwright was himself a physician, who, as a student, had an early interest in neurology and psychiatry. He did clinical… …   Historical dictionary of Austria

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862–1931)    The author of TRAUMNOVELLE (“Dream Novel,” 1926), which was the basis for STANLEY KUBRICK’s last film, EYES WIDE SHUT (1999), was born, lived, and died in his beloved Vienna. He was the son of a famous Jewish throat specialist who… …   The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — born May 15, 1862, Vienna, Austria died Oct. 21, 1931, Vienna Austrian playwright and novelist. Schnitzler practiced medicine in Vienna most of his life, and he also studied psychiatry. He became known for his psychological dramas and for his… …   Universalium

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862–1931)    Austrian playwright. Schnitzler grew up in Vienna and qualified as a doctor with a special interest in psychotherapy. After the success of his play Liebelei (1895), he turned to a career as a dramatist. His plays enjoyed a vogue on …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — ► (1862 1931) Literato austríaco. Autor de El velo de Beatriz y Rueda. * * * (15 may. 1862, Viena, Austria–21 oct. 1931, Viena). Dramaturgo y novelista austríaco. Durante la mayor parte de su vida Schnitzler ejerció la medicina en Viena y además… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Schnitzler,Arthur — Schnitz·ler (shnĭtsʹlər), Arthur. 1862 1931. Austrian writer known for his psychologically penetrating and sometimes erotic novels and plays, particularly La Ronde (1896). * * * …   Universalium

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862 1931)    Austrian play wright and author. Initially he practised medicine in Vienna, only later devoting himself to writing. His views about the position of Jews in modern society are found in the play Professor Bernhardi and the novel Der… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Schnitzler, Arthur —  (1862–1931) Austrian playwright and novelist …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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