Schnitzler, Arthur

Schnitzler, Arthur
   The author of TRAUMNOVELLE (“Dream Novel,” 1926), which was the basis for STANLEY KUBRICK’s last film, EYES WIDE SHUT (1999), was born, lived, and died in his beloved Vienna. He was the son of a famous Jewish throat specialist who was also the founder of a leading medical journal of the day. Arthur followed in the profession and received his medical degree at the University of Vienna in 1885 with a thesis on the hypnotic treatment of neurosis. Like SIGMUND FREUD, he was deeply interested in the subconscious, which played a major role in many of his plays and novels. The plays Anatol (1893) and Reigen (1896–1903) for example, and novels like Lieutenant Gustl (1901) and Traumnovelle dissect the erotic sexual encounters and dysfunctional relationships among their characters, probing their psychological roots and proving there is an enormous difference between desire and love. His Viennese were men and women of wealth and leisure, bent on indulging the pleasures of the moment. Their lives outwardly seemed graceful and charming, but ultimately they were only empty and doomed. Schnitzler’s seeming preoccupation with sexual themes, despite his dispassionate and cynical tone ran him afoul of conservative critics of the day—Reigen was confiscated and banned in Germany, resulting in several public court proceedings, and it was not premiered in Vienna until 1921—but his stature as a serious artist has long since been vindicated. As Oscar G. Brockett and Robert R. Findlay note in their estimable (1973 study of modern theater, A Century of Innovation, Schnitzler “was a keen observer of surface detail and sensitive to subtle nuance, but he lacked the doctrinaire naturalist’s naïve belief that science can correct society’s ills. ” Historians Block and Shedd praise him as an artist of “courage and fortitude” and place him alongside his contemporaries August Strindberg, Gerhardt Hauptmann, and Frank Wedekind:“A master of psychological realism, he possessed a limited but sure talent that enabled him to probe sensitively and deftly, like a skillful physician, into the innermost recesses and cleavages of modern life. ” His works were banned by the Nazis during World War II, and only recently have been enjoying a revival.
   In addition to Eyes Wide Shut, other screen adaptations of Schnitzler’s works include Cecil B. DeMille’s The Affairs of Anatol (1921), in which Wallace Reid appears as “Anatol DeWitt Spencer,” a Park Avenue socialite whose philandering jeopardizes his marriage to Vivian (Gloria Swanson); Max Ophuls’s classic La Ronde (1950), which in setting, tone, and theme, is close to Schnitzler’s original; and Roger Vadim’s The Circle of Love (1964), a tepid remake of the Ophuls film.
   ■ Block, Haskell M. , and Robert G. Shedd, eds. , Masters of Modern Drama (New York: Random House, 1962);
   ■ Brockett, Oscar G. , and Robert R. Findlay, A Century of Innovation (Englewood Cliffs,N. J. : Prentice-Hall, 1973).

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SCHNITZLER, ARTHUR — (1862–1931), Austrian playwright and author. Schnitzler s father, Professor Johann Schnitzler (1835–1593), was an eminent Viennese throat specialist. Since his patients included dramatic and operatic stars, young Schnitzler was in constant… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862 1931)    Playwright. Schnitzler was a product of fin de siècle Vienna, and his artistic sensibility was in a way similar to Hugo von Hofmannsthal s, though Schnitzler was much less lyrical in his plays and far more interested in the sensual …   Historical dictionary of German Theatre

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862–1931)    Born in Vienna, Arthur Schnitzler was the son of a prosperous Jewish laryngologist. The future novelist and playwright was himself a physician, who, as a student, had an early interest in neurology and psychiatry. He did clinical… …   Historical dictionary of Austria

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — born May 15, 1862, Vienna, Austria died Oct. 21, 1931, Vienna Austrian playwright and novelist. Schnitzler practiced medicine in Vienna most of his life, and he also studied psychiatry. He became known for his psychological dramas and for his… …   Universalium

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862–1931)    Austrian playwright. Schnitzler grew up in Vienna and qualified as a doctor with a special interest in psychotherapy. After the success of his play Liebelei (1895), he turned to a career as a dramatist. His plays enjoyed a vogue on …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — ► (1862 1931) Literato austríaco. Autor de El velo de Beatriz y Rueda. * * * (15 may. 1862, Viena, Austria–21 oct. 1931, Viena). Dramaturgo y novelista austríaco. Durante la mayor parte de su vida Schnitzler ejerció la medicina en Viena y además… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Schnitzler,Arthur — Schnitz·ler (shnĭtsʹlər), Arthur. 1862 1931. Austrian writer known for his psychologically penetrating and sometimes erotic novels and plays, particularly La Ronde (1896). * * * …   Universalium

  • Schnitzler, Arthur — (1862 1931)    Austrian play wright and author. Initially he practised medicine in Vienna, only later devoting himself to writing. His views about the position of Jews in modern society are found in the play Professor Bernhardi and the novel Der… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Schnitzler, Arthur —  (1862–1931) Austrian playwright and novelist …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Schnitzler — Schnitzler, Arthur …   Enciclopedia Universal

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