Faksimile

Text

11. Reigen
box 19/4
HS —
Gal. 72—P.M.L.A.—1108—p. 209—9-11-31E—B-00-
XLV
THE HISTORY OF SCHNITZLER’S REIGEN
VVEN a cursory examination of the twostout volumes of H. H. Hou¬
D ben's Verbotene Literatur von der klassischen Zeit bis zur Gegenwartl
vividly brings home to the reader the significant röle that censorship has
played in the bistory of German literature during the past one hundred
and fifty years. Here we find represented not only the authors of Young
Germany, Heine, Gutzkow, Laube, Wienbarg, Mundt, and modern
writers, such as Dehmel, Hauptmann, Schönherr, Sudermann, but even
relatively harmless poets like Bettina von Arnim, Grillparzer, Hebbel,
Heyse. Despite the fact that Schnitzler is listed in the announcementat
the end of the first volume as among those to be treated in the second
volume, he is nevertheless conspicuously absent, while such lesser lights
as Bahr, Dreyer, Fulda, Harleben are included. Houben himself has
recognized the Austrian poet’s title to a place of honor in this literary
rogues’ gallery. In discussing Maria von Magdala by Heyse, who drew
a sharp line between his poetic muse and the sensationalism and un¬
bridled freedom of the modern dramatists, Houben points out that in
one respect Heyse has far outdone the younger generation, “durch einen
solennen Zensurskandal, der anderthalb Jahre die Offentlichkeit in Atem
hielt und in seiner kulturhistorischen Bedeutung höchstens durch den
Kampf um Schnitzlers Reigen übertroffen wurde.??
Reigen was written in the winter of 1896—1807, within the relatively
short period of three months, from the end of November till the end of
February, being paralleled in this respect only by Zeutnant Gustl which
was likewise composed in a few weeks in the summer of 1000, whercas
most of the poet’s works required years for their full fruition. Reigen was
at first laid aside in accordance with the author’s customs, to season, as
it were. Some time later Schnitzler submitted the manuscript tothe Ber¬
lin critic, Alfred Kerr, for an opinion as to its fitness for publication. The
latter made an affirmative recommendation, but suggested thatthe ori¬
ginal title Liebesreigen be changed to Reigen.3 In 1000 the author had
two hundred copies printed at his expense, Lals unverkäufliches Manus¬
kript,'for presentation to his friends. This edition contains the follow¬
ing foreword:
Ein Erscheinen der nachfolgenden Szenen ist vorläufig ausgeschlossen. Ich habe
sie nun als Manuskript in Druck gegeben; denn ich glaube, ihr Wert liegt an¬
derswo als darin, daß ihr Inhalt den geltenden Begriffen nach die Veröffent¬
lichung zu verbieten scheint. Da jedoch Dummheit und böser Wille immer in der
Nähe sind, füge ich den ausdrücklichen Wunsch bei, dag meine Frcunde, denen
ich dieses Manuskript gelegentlich übergeben werde, es durchaus in diesem
Sinne behandeln und als ein bescheidenes, ihnen persönlich zugedachtes Ge¬
schenk des Verfassers aufnehmen mögen.
Some half dozen newspapers brought short notices of this edition, but
naturally refrained from discussion or comment. The book, however,
circulated freely among the initiated and soon its contents were an open
secret, shared by thousands. This may have been cne ofthe reasons that
induced Schnitzler to make it available through regular publishing chan¬
nels. A regular edition of the book was brought ouf brethe Wiener Ver¬
lag in April, 1903.
It scems almost needless to emphasize that Reigen was not ritten in