Schnitzler, Arthur

Schnitzler, Arthur

(är`to͝or shnĭts`lər), 1862–1931, Austrian dramatist and novelist. The son of a prominent Jewish Viennese physician, he studied and practiced medicine until he attracted critical notice with his drama Anatol (1893, tr. 1982), a cycle of one-act plays concerning a philanderer. He followed a similar format in La Ronde (1900, tr. 1982), a cycle of plays about related sexual liaisons, which later served as inspiration for a 1950 Max OphulsOphüls, Max
, 1902–57, German-born French film director, b. Saarbrücken as Maximilian Oppenheimer. He started his career in the 1920s as an stage actor and director and began directing films in Berlin during the early 1930s.
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 film and a 1998 David HareHare, Sir David,
1947–, British playwright. Hare is a prominent member of the British theatrical left. A founder of the Portable Theatre and the Joint Stock, he became resident dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre, London (1967–71), and the Nottingham Playhouse
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 drama. Schnitzler's plays, novellas, and novels of fin-de-siècle Vienna are distinguished by their sparkling wit, brilliant style, and clinical observations of human psychology and social disintegration. His concern is with individual happiness, his approach is subtle and amoral, his tone unsentimental and ironic, and his dramatic problems often focused on love and sexual faithfulness. Among his more significant dramas are Liebelei (1895, tr. The Reckoning, 1907); The Lonely Way (tr. 1915), on artistic dedication; The Vast Domain (1911, tr. 1923); and Professor Bernhardi (tr. 1928) a tragedy about anti-Semitism. Of his novels, The Road to the Open (1908, tr. 1923) is autobiographical; he also wrote several novellas and numerous short stories.


See biography by S. Liptzin (1932); studies by B. Schneider-Halvorson (1983), P. W. Tax and R. H. Lawson, ed. (1984), and P. Gay (2001).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schnitzler, Arthur


Born May 15, 1862, in Vienna; died there Oct. 21,1931. Austrian writer.

Schnitzler graduated from the medical faculty at the University of Vienna in 1885. His best works written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries continue the traditions of critical realism; they expose the hollowness and cruelty of the worldly life and defend the primacy of true feeling. In the drama Free Game (1896; Russian translation under the title A Slap in the Face, 1897) and the short story “Lieutenant Gustl” (1901), he portrayed the amorality and the casteconscious arrogance of officers in the Austrian Army. The effect of Schnitzler’s critical statements was weakened, however, by his use of decadent motifs: his play The Green Cockatoo (1899) was concerned with the illusoriness of life, and his series of one-act plays Paracelsus (1899) dealt with the cult of eternal beauty.

Schnitzler’s prose, which includes the novella Casanova’s Homecoming (1918) and the short-story collections The Sage’s Wife (1898) and Masks and Miracles (1912), is distinguished by psychological insight and an intense concern with sex. Schnitzler was influenced by S. Freud; Freudian tendencies are especially apparent in such late works as the novella Theresa (1928).


Dramen. Berlin-Weimar, 1968.
Erzählungen, 2nd ed. Berlin-Weimar, 1969.
In Russian translation:
Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 1–9. Moscow, 1903–11.
Zhena mudretsa. Moscow, 1967.


Evlakhov, A. M. A. Shnitsler. Baku, 1926.
Allen, R. H. An Annotated A. Schnitzler Bibliography, 1879–1965. Chapel Hill, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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