Faksimile

Text

2. Guttings
box 37/7
A. G
□-K 1915
ARTHUR SCHNITZLER’S DRAMATIC WORK
Br Josrrn W. BALLEY
In that classic of literary criticism which Mr. Joseph Conrad
has appended as a preface to his inimitable novel, The Nigger
of ihe Narcissus, we are given a statement of the author'’s
artistie creed:
7o arrest, for the space of a breath, the hands busy about the
work of the earth, and compel men entranced by the sight of distant
goals to glance for a moment at the surrounding vision of form and
color, of sunshine and shadows; to make them pause for a look, for
a sigh, for a smile—such is the aim, difficult and evanescent, and
reserved only for a very few to achieve. But sometimes, by the de¬
serving and the fortunate, even that task is accomplished. And
when it is accomplished—behold!—all the truth of life is there: a
moment of vision, a sigh, a smile—and the return to an eternal
rest.“
Whether or not Arthur Schnitzler, dramatist, novelist, and
physician of Vienna, will have been assigned a place in the
pantheon of those“ deserving and fortunate'' ones, when the
sickle of the critically iconoclastic years shall have thinned
out the teeming numbers of our striving contemporaries, we
cannot be certain. But, judging him as best we can without
that breadth of vision which only the perspective of the
years can bring to us, we can delegate to Schnitzler no sub¬
sidiary position in the ranks of those artists who have utilized
their art to hold the mirror up to life itself and to cast what
gleam of truth they may upon the dark riddle of our
existence.
It is probable that, to the conscious moralist and the mawk¬
ish purist, the name of Schnitzler may be anathema, and it
is true that he makes no concession to the popular desire for
the triumph of a“supposed immediate ethical good over a
supposed immediate ethical evil'' Schnitzler does not use his
drama for the preaching of a moral; there is no sermonizing
in it, and he does not distort and destroy the verisimilitude