Academic journal article German Quarterly

A Companion to the Works of Arthur Schnitzler

Academic journal article German Quarterly

A Companion to the Works of Arthur Schnitzler

Article excerpt

Lorenz, Dagmar, ed. A Companion to the Works of Arthur Schnitzler. Rochester: Camden House, 2003. xii + 415 pp. $90.00 hardcover.

"Die Begrenzungen zwischen Bewuikem, Halbbewufkem und Unbewufitem so scharf zu ziehen, als es überhaupt möglich ist": recent proof that Schnitzler scholarship continues to read Schnitzler on his own terms-not through the lens of Sigmund Freud or Ernst Mach or even Stanley Kubrick-are two anthologies published in 2003: KonsianzeFliedl's Arthur Schnitzler imzwanzigstenjahrhundert (Vienna: Picus), featuring eighteen mostly European scholars, and Dagmar Lorenz's edition of A Companion to the Works of Arthur Schnitzler, containing sixteen essays by mostly American scholars. Both volumes boast a dustcover showing Schnitzler next to his bicycle in Brioni; both deal with crises of language, identity, and politics; both further distance themselves from the view of Schnitzler as mere mouthpiece of Vienna's versunkene Welt.

In both her introduction and essay on character and personality, Lorenz explains the crisis of class, race, and gender codes and Schnitzler's concern for exposing the structures responsible for individual and collective suffering. By so doing, she overturns Peter Gay's silence in Schnitzler's Century (2001) toward the complexities of Schnitzler's post-war achievements. All contributors to Lorenz's volume examine crisis in some way on the level of reception, politics, or psyche. Some turn to undervalued texts, as in Katherine Arens' nuanced investigation of gendered discourse in Dr. Grasler, Badearzt (1917); or to familiar texts, such as John Neubauer's fresh look at the heterosexual and homosocial dialogues of "overaged adolescents" in the novel Der Weg ins Freie (1908); or to the social criticism of genres such as puppet plays, as in J. G. Weinberger's exposition.

Analyses of reception are scattered throughout: Gerd Schneider exposes the continuities of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the reception of Reigen, notably in the play's function as a foil for reactionary views. Evelyn Deutsch-Schreiner draws attention to the way in which the staging and reception of Schnitzler in post-Shoah Austria reflected the reluctance of political parties to remember the immediate past or acknowledge the profundity of Schnitzler's contrary dramaturgy. Elizabeth Ametsbichler emphasizes the meanings of intrigue in Schnitzler's dramatic apparatus and his reception, due to the volatile mix of his reclusive nature with stage success, censorship, and sensational press. …

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