I, Erzählende Schriften 30, Casanovas Heimfahrt, Seite 107

asanovas Heinfahrt
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Casanova—His Mark
Mr. Sumner Seizes Available Copies of
Schnitzler’s Brilliant Work, but Our
Reviewer Still Has His.
CASANOVA'S HOMECOMING. By Arthur Schnitzler. Simon & Schus¬
ter. 81.
UITHOUT attempting to interpret the mind of a censor, one may
IW guess at two reasons why Mr. John S. Sumner went around to Simon
& Schuster’s Friday and carted off, in a truck borrowed from the pub¬
lishers, the available copies of their forthcoming edition of“ Casanova's
One reason might be that the book was questioned in legal proceed¬
ings when first published in 1921 by Thomas Seitzer. The other is that
the main incident in the story is a seduction. Both these factors to¬
gether may or may not be proof that the book is obscene.
The publisher was exonerated bye¬
a magistrate nine years ago and sold
Casanova’s Homecoming“ is a
out his remaining copies unmolested.
tragedy, a foreshadowing of the in¬
There was a compromise, however,
evitable defeat of the years. It was
and the exact morai status of the
begen in 1915, according to the i“¬
book was not legally defined.
troduction, when Schnitzler hims.
As for the seduction, what inight
was 53, the same age as his char¬
one expect in a chapter from the
acter. And he is saying in unspar¬
life of Casanova?
ing introspection that to the eyes
of delicious youth there is nothing
—CHNITZLER places his incident
left in him.
when his hero was 53 years old.
Romance still can flare up in the
As an alternative title, he might
heart at 53, and desires may glow
have called his storyEx-Lover.“
as never before. Casanova’s strength
The once glamorcus Casanova,
is heroic. With his expert sword in
sought after by svery woman, the
a duel, he can run through a very
great lover, whose conquests extend¬
paragon of youthful Apollos. But to
ed from homes of poverty to royal
goung Marcolina he is good only
courts, not excepting i unneries on
to play cards with the elders. He is
the way, is past the bright flower of
outmoded and repulsive—just an old
his youth.
man. When his deception is dis¬
Stopping a few days at the home
covcred with the coming of dawn,
of a friend, he is enamored of the
Casanova is quite prepared to be
niece of his host, the beautiful and
denounced as a rascal. But he is
brilliant Marcolina. When persua¬
crushed by her loathing doom upon
sion fails, he tries deception. Dur¬
him—old man.“
ing the course of the narrative he
also digresses for a page to accom¬
WHEN the book first appeared
plish the downfall of a willing ado¬
lescent, too young to be fair game.
it was heaped up with the
The old scoundrel recalls grimly
praises of mature critics. Attempt¬
that the child’s mother and grand¬
ing now to give Arthur Schnitzler
mother also were on his list.
a great, big hand must be ranked
Casanova here certainly lives up to
among the major presumptions
his reputation as to moral laxity, if
One can say merely that in this
that point is bothering any one. He
book the urbane Viennese, master
is Casanova for Schnitzler, just as
of irony and surveyor of human
in his own Memoirs; Casanova at
futility, has opened up another win¬
53, Just as at 23.
dow into his own distinguished
But is not the presence of a seduc¬
tion in the book just as remote from
Schnitzler tells his story with
the question of obscenity as was the
characteristic good taste. The erot¬
action of the Grand Jury in 1921?
icism of incident is held in propor¬
After all, whether Casanova's
tion always by the predominance of
Homecoming' is an evil bock, must
the theme.
be determined by the effect it pro¬
The author is no faltering in¬
duces in the mind of the reader.
ventor, content with mincing steps.
That question, apparently, is going
He strides ouf in every scene to full
to be decided now by a magistrate
dramatic sweep, dressing up his
and possibly by a judge.
characters and incidents in the
grandest of colors. The story illus¬
IN advance of such definition,
trates perfectly Schnitzler’s sophis¬
k however, one may report that
tication and his scholarship,. his pol¬
the effect was not an incitement ck
ished style and amplitude of imag¬
this reader toward any particular
ination. It is a high mark in dra¬
ammoral outburst.
matic writing.
box 4/11

Loston Masg
aug 13-30
From Professor O. P. Schinnerer’s in¬
troduction 1o Casanova's oming“
we quote the following passages, perhaps
a little too commendatory for the book,
but interesting nevertheless:
Casanova’s Homecoming' is not a
studg in erotieism, but a poetie rendition
of an experience that is universally hu¬
man and one to which all of us will
sooler or later have to submit; ihe slow;
but inevitable fading of youth, the wan¬
ing of our powers, the approach of age.
That Schnitzler has personally felt this
more keenly than the average human be¬
ing is merely due to his intense love and
affirmation of life.
#In a work of art, however, the suh¬
ject as such is never of vital importance.
It is always the manner of treatment
and the author’s ability to create living
and convineing characiers that deter¬
mine its ultimate value. Casanova's
Homecoming' reveals Schnitzler at the
height of his powers. In stglistic ele¬
gance and finish of execution it is un¬
Isurpassed and ranks as a fit companion¬
piece to Rhapsodz“ and Daybreak.' De¬
spite the boldness of its theme, Schnitz¬
ler’s unfailing good taste and his artistic
Frestraint render it inoffensive even to the
most sensitive. Furthermore, as Casa¬
Unova is a historical character, remote in
time, the reader does not get the im¬
pression of actually witnessing the scenes!
deseribed, as he would in a work with a
contemporary setting, but feels more as
if he were perusing a chapter from the
Memoirs themselves.
When it was first issued in this conn¬
try, in the present admirable translation,
it was hailed by American erities with
Tpractically unanimous acchim. In bis
penetrating study of Schnitzler’s life
and works, Richard Specht, the noted
Umusie critic of Vienna, remarks that per¬
sonally he does not 'love’ this work in
thé same wag that he does so many oth¬
Ters by the author, but that in view of its
high artistic qualities he stands aside
with bared head and devoutly and rever¬
ently greets a master.“
Casanova’s Homecoming', was first
published in Germany in 1918 and has
Tsince been translated in most countries
Tof the world. It was first issued in the
United States in 1921 by another house
than Simon & Schuster who. since 1925,
Thave been Arthur Schnitzler’s American
Ppublishers and have issned nine other
books from his pen:" Fraulein Else.“
1925:None but the Brave,“ 1926;“ Rhap¬
1927: Dagbreak,“ 1927;"There¬
sa,“ 1928; Professor Bernhardi,“ 1928;
• Little Novels,“ 1929, and“ Dr. Gracsler,“
1930. An indietment against“ Casanova’s
Homecoming' was found in 1923 and was
never brought to trial by the district
Henry Holt & Company are initiating
on Aug. 22 a practice in bookselling that
may eventually lead to the issuing of
legal stamps with each new novel. On
Sthat date they will publish a novel by
Daphne Muir called Pied Piper“ and
with each copy will go a gold certificate
which tells the reader that if he is not
satisfied with the book it may be re¬
Cturned to the publisher who will refund
Uthe purchase rrice. This offer is good
Tuntil Oet. 15, which seems to indicate the
length of life which one publisher assigns
to a modern novel.
k #n

FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 1930.
Some Dollar Books.
The movement toward lower prices
in books is settling enough so that
one may see its outlines. On the
one hand we see a rather general
reduction in the prices of books at
large: fer instance, the fall list of
Messrs. Doubleday, Doran & Co. calls
attention tc the fact that large, il¬
lustrated volumes of biography and
travel, the sort of book that a year
or so ago sold for prices running
from 37.50 to 310, are now priced at
from 84 to 87.50. And in many lists
we have noticed the type of novel
that cost 82.50 now priced at 82.
Then, besides the dollar novels in
ordinary format at 8i—thöse of
Doubleday, Doran and Farrar & Rine¬
hart, for example—Coward McCann
are issuing new fiction, also in ordi¬
narr format, at 81.50.
On the other hand, and thil is
from one point of view a more in¬
teresting development, we have books
at a dollar or less in a new type of
format. More interesting, not on ac¬
ccunt of the contents of the books,
but because it may educate the
American public into estimating a
book by its content and its format
rather than by its size. For years
we have been buying with every book
—and a book for one’s library is an
asset—something else that was a
debit—so much bulk on which we
have had to pay rent, for these
books soon filled all the available
space in an ordinary apartment. We
have had before us lately both the
French and English versions of Mio¬
mandre's The Love of Venus.“ The
story was al short one, and the
French edition was a featherweight
affair that would go in a man's
pocket. The American translation
was not only bound in cloth, but
bulked out to make an ordinary-sized
novel. And yet the French version
was in quite large type and very
well printed.
We now have before us the first
six volumes in Simon & Schuster’s
The Inner Sanctum Novels' at a
dollar. They are not bound in paper
but in a thin paper board which is
fairly durable—and the reader who
wishes them in doth may return his
copy and have a cloth bound book
substituted for a dollar. These becks
run to such lengths as 381 and 409
pages. Also the first six of them
give no indication that Messrs. Simon
& Schuster are making them to ap¬
peal to a Harold Bell Wright public.
In fact they are for the most part
what members of that public would
call highbrow.
The first of them,“ Am Jonathan
Serivener“' by Claude Haughton, an
English author, and is what mäy be
called a philosophical or psychologi¬
cal mystery story. And it is exceed¬