Arthur Schnitzler and Twentieth-Century Criticism

Arthur Schnitzler and Twentieth-Century Criticism

Andrew C. Wisely


Camden House



An analysis of the scholarly criticism of the great Viennese writer up to the year 2000.
Schnitzler, one of the most prolific Austrian writers of the 20th century, ruthlessly dissected his society's erotic posturing and phobias about sex and death. His most penetrating analyses include Lieutenant Gustl, the first stream-of-consciousness novella in German; Reigen, a devastating cycle of one-acts mapping the social limits of a sexual daisy-chain; and Der Weg ins Freie, a novel that combines a love story with a discussion of the roadblocks facing Austria's Jews. Today, his popularity is reflected by new editions and translations and by adaptations for theater, television, and film by artists such as Tom Stoppard and Stanley Kubrick. This book examines Schnitzler reception up to 2000, beginning with the journalistic reception of the early plays. Before being suspended by a decade of Nazism, criticism in the 1920s and 30s emphasized Schnitzler's determinism and decadence. Not until the early 60s was humanist scholarship able to challenge this verdict by pointing out Schnitzler's ethical indictment of impressionism in the late novellas. During the same period, Schnitzler, whom Freud considered his literary "Doppelgänger," was often subjected to Freudian psychoanalytical criticism; but by the 80s, scholarship was citing his own thoroughgoing objections to such categories. Since the 70s, Schnitzler's remonstrance toward the Austrian establishment has been examined by social historians and feminist critics alike, and the recently completed ten-volume edition of Schnitzler's diary has met with vibrant interest.

Andrew C. Wisely is associate professor of German at Baylor University.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781571136138), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


November 2003
211 pages
9x6 in
Literary Criticism in Perspective
ISBN: 9781571130884
Format: Hardback
Camden House
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

Journalistic Criticism During Schnitzler's Lifetime
The First Critical Monographs
Schintzler as Humanist Institution
Emancipation and Sociohistorical Approaches
Schnitzler and Freud: Uncanny Similarities?
The Task of Memory: The Diary Project
Conclusion: Eyes Wide Shut and Beyond
Works Consulted


A selective, well-balanced analysis of perspectives on Schnitzler's life and work....[The book] illuminates hopeful new directions for accurate and insightful analysis. CHOICE

Contains a treasure of information concerning both Schnitzler's works and their reception history. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

With Wisely's thorough overview of criticism as a road map, the job of the Schnitzler scholar has been made easier. GERMAN QUARTERLY

Also in Series