box 36/7
1: Panphlets, offprints
Arthur Schnitzler
Gerhart Hauptmann: Arthur Schnitzlers warme und feine Begabung
besitzt einen Zug, der in Deutschland selten ist, Grazie. Es ist
deutsche Grazie, keine französische Den Sinn für Schnitzler
besitzen, heißt Kultur besitzen, und sich von Schnitzler angezogen
fühlen, heißt die Kultur suchen.“ Schnitzler is an unsurpassed master
in manipulating delicate shades of feeling, in revealing the deepest
recesses of the soul, and in reporting his discoveries lightly and
Liebelei (1895) made the author famous throughout the world.
Here he uses the same materials as in Anatol in creating a play of
deepest tragic significance, one that holds the stage both in Austria
and Germany to this day. A young man of means makes love to a
girl of lower station. She is happy and devoted to him with all her
soul. But when she learns that he has died in a duel on behalf of
another woman, she realizes what a trivial part she played in the life
of him to whom she gave herself and commits suicide. Commonplace
as this little tragedy may seem, it is a very serions study of modern
life and possesses high esthetic refinement. The lapse of the heroine
exhibits nothing gross or sensual. It is moreover carefully motivated
by the absence of a mother, the extreme leniency of the father and
the attitude of various characters of her environment who indirectly
help to shape her life. The tragedy arises from the fact that the
heroine cannot play the love game lightly.
To recount the plots of the long list of Schnitzler’s works would
be quite futile. Neither his plays nor his stories are distinguished by
any powerful or clever action. There is little plot in the strictest
sense of the term in his works. His strength lies chiefly in subtle
characterization, in the creation of an atmosphere rather than in
the manifestation of violently dramatic situations. Schnitzler is pri¬
marily a poet of the soul. He brings the most hidden emotions to
light and he does it with infinite delicacy. Details of circumstances
mean little to him, moods everything. He is not interested in problems
as such, although he most effectively satirizes and ridicules dueling,
militarism, semitism, anti-semitism, the government, revolutionary parties,
etc., in his works. Only in Professor Bernhardi does a political
intrigue really condition the plot, and even here it is well subordinated
to the chief interest, — the character of Professor Bernhardi.
Two works of Schnitzler in particular have created a storm of
discussion, although neither is exactly representative of the author.
One is his only full-sized novel so far, Der Weg ins Freie. It is un¬
doubtedly his most ambitious, even though not perhaps his most
successful work. The novel suffers somewhat from lack of external
action and too much discussion. A voung baron falls in love with a
Jewish girl. His association with her brings him into contact with
various types of Viennese Jews and the Jewish problem in Austria