I, Erzählende Schriften 30, Casanovas Heimfahrt, Seite 61

30. Casanovas Heimfahrt
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HERE is a lightness of touch and charm about Arthur Snitz¬
ler's The Return of Casanova'’ that is closely remiscent to
his carlier Anatol.“ It is difficult to portray the love affairs
uofafatold man of 60—even if he has the reputation of Casa¬
nova or even of Don Juan himself for that marter, as anything more than
rather sickening. Snitzler, however, has attempted and succeeded in that
difficult task and the result is a combination of real wit and infinite charm.
Snitzler has taken as the theme of his story a part of the life of Casanova
that have failed to obtain notice in his voluminous memoirs—his return to
Venice, the town of his birth, to die after many years of weary exile.
While awaiting the decree at Padua he happens by chance on an old
friend who insists on taking him to his home. Casanova though old is still
irresistible to the ladies and the wife of his friend is most anxious to resume
the place in Casanova’s fleeting affections that she once occupied. He has
gazed uvon the lovely face of her young niece however and has sworn that
she shall be his. The young lady is disdainful of him and for once in his
life he begins to realize that old age is upon him. He refuses however to
give her up and by a clever subteringe manages to obtain his end. It leaves
him with a sorry realization of himself and he creeps into Venice almost
wishing he could die.
* The Return of Casanova,“ by Arthur Snitzler. Thomas Seltzer.
IS 0
Dee o11322
On Casanova
Schnitzler Concludes the
Records of a Famous
4 Rericse
Bp Bernice Stewart.
Cusanoru's Homgenling. 2rthur Schnitg.
ler. (Thomas Selteh.
ASANOVse##tied Chevalier de
Seingalt, is probably the most dis¬
respectable gentleman in autobio¬
Lb graphical literature. This profane
Venetian has been dead now for nearly a
century and a quarter and the frank twelve——
volume account of his misdeeds has been
smuggled into this country with enough suc¬
cess so that his history is not unfamiliar to
curious American readers.
Schnitzler's story of“ Casanova’s Home¬
coming,“ which Seltzer has at length breught
out after a long legal strüggle with Mr. I¬
am-my-brother’s-keeper Sumner, comes as a
fictional continuation of the authentic rec¬
ords of this handsome and boastful sconn¬
drel. The Casanova of the“ Homecoming“
is very much the Casanova of the
Memoirs,“ except the later Casanova’s star
is not in the ascendant. Time and time
again in this later book, with moving sor¬
row, the old reprobate acknowledges him¬
seif worsted by the arch foe of all sensual¬
ists, age. It has taken his money, his good
looks, and, most grievous of all, his appeal
to women.
In real life the defeat of a swindler, liar
and seducer at the hands of old age is
hardly a theme to wring tears of sympathy
from one’s eyes. Butyhere comes in the
art of Arthur Schnitzler. All through the
rogue’s last intrigueg in the“ Homecoming“
Casanova is a sympéthetic figure, a gay but
harrowed spirit beset by an enemy that
is sure toovertake and destroy him."He
could still at tiines grasp happiness, but
for a moment ofly; he could no longer hold
it fast. Hil pewer over his follows, over
women no lèss than over men, had van¬
ished. Only Where he evoked memories
could his words, his voice, his glance, still
conjure; apart from this, his priesence was
vold of interest. IIis day was donie!“
Mis seductiveness was Spent and the
tragedy of this is revealed in his confession
that it had been: Women, always women.
For them he had again and again cast every¬
thing to the winds; sometimes for women
who were refined, sometimes for womich who
were vulgar; for passionate women and for.
frigid women; for maidens and for harlots.
All the honors and all the joys of the world
had ever seemed cheap to him in connpari
son with a successful night on a new love
Hence, being bereft of what he valnes
most in the world, this power of seduction,
there is something pathetic and courageous
in the way he summons bis bravado and
swaggers manfully in the face of his in¬
vincible opponent, time. There is, 100,
something sad abont his disgracefel von¬
niving. 10 obtaln ine. Iavorn