Cover image for Arthur Schnitzler : four major plays
Arthur Schnitzler : four major plays
Schnitzler, Arthur, 1862-1931.
Uniform Title:
Plays. Selections. English
First edition.
Publication Information:
Lyme, NH : Smith and Kraus, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 207 pages ; 22 cm.
La ronde -- Anatol -- The green cockatoo -- Flirtation.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PT2638.N5 A25 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PT2638.N5 A25 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931), one of the seminal forces in world drama, was also a novelist and practicing physician. His four dramatic works in this volume (La Ronde, Anatol, The Green Cockatoo, and Flirtation) are among the most celebrated plays of the 20th century. Much like his contemporary Sigmund Freud, Schnitzler's work is inextricable from the social and intellectual milieu, which accompanied the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was the age of the "Viennese Secessionists", exemplified by composers such as Berg, Webern, and Schoenberg, painters Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, the foundations of modern architecture, and Zionism. To add to the ferment, Freud introduced his theories of sexuality. It was from within this maelstrom that Schnitzler wrote his plays. He wrote with charm and grace and with great compassion for the fraility of humankind. These plays are regularly performed throughout the world and are acclaimed as masterpieces of modern theater.Mueller's translations of plays include works by Brecht, Buchner, Wedekind, Hauptmann, Strindberg, and Sophocles.

Author Notes

Arthur Schnitzler, Viennese playwright, novelist, short story writer, and physician, was a sophisticated writer much in vogue in his time. He chose themes of an erotic, romantic, or social nature, expressed with clarity, irony, and subtle wit. Reigen, a series of ten dialogues linking people of various social classes through their physical desire for one another, has been filmed many times as La Ronde. As a Jew, Schnitzler was sensitive to the problems of anti-Semitism, which he explored in the play Professor Bernhardi (1913), seen in New York in a performance by the Vienna Burgtheater in 1968. Henry Hatfield calls Schnitzler "second only to Hofmannsthal among the Austrian writers of his generation and one of the most underrated of German authors... . He combined the naturalist's devotion to fact with the impressionist's interest in nuance; in other words, he told the truth" (Modern German Literature). In his most famous story, Lieutenant Gustl (1901), Schnitzler employs the stream-of-consciousness technique in an exposition of the follies and gradual disintegration of society in fin de siecle Vienna. Schnitzler has also been linked with Freud (see Vols. 3 and 5) and is credited with consciously introducing elements of modern psychology into his works. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Austrian playwright Schnitzler was not prolific, but his few plays cut to the quick of the Viennese soul. Anatol, the first, presents a portrait in seven scenes of a charming, fashionably dressed, morally bankrupt young man. In The Green Cockatoo, set in Paris on the fateful day of July 14, 1789, Schnitzler uses the old regime's last hours analogically to critique the decadent hypocrisy of both late-eighteenth-century France and late-nineteenth-century Austria-Hungary. La Rondethanks to Max Ophuls' film, Schnitzler's best-known work--reveals the darkest recesses of the sexually ravenous Viennese heart. By today's standards, the play, which traces a circle of lovers, casual and otherwise, across Vienna, is tame, but in its day it was very shocking, even, to Austrian censors, crude and pornographic. Mueller's simple, graceful, sexy translations of those three plays and Flirtation capture well, in highly readable contemporary English, the full power and subversive edge of Schnitzler's work. --Jack Helbig

Library Journal Review

This collection, written at the turn of the century by Austrian Jewish playwright Schnitzler, consists of three light Viennese plays set in 1890Ä"La Ronde," "Annatol," and "Flirtation"Äand the dark, sinister one-act play "The Green Cockatoo," set in 1789 at a Paris cabaret-theater on the eve of the fall of the Bastille. The theme of all four is "the Pirandellian confusion between reality and illusion." In the Viennese plays, this is dramatized by an aimless search for the meaning of love and life through a series of sexual encounters, a search that can result in disillusionment and even death. Showing the sentimental and melancholic erotic escapades of egocentric libertines, Schnitzler offers psychological and sociological criticism of the decadent Viennese society in which he lived. For theater students and general readers, Schnitzler's dramatic works are worthy of this new translation, though the eroticism banned on stage during his time is no longer shocking. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.ÄMing-ming Shen Kuo, Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.