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Book Title: The Road to the Open (Classic Reprint)|
The author of the book: Arthur Schnitzler
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Edition: Forgotten Books
Date of issue: September 27th 2015
ISBN 13: 9781331624547
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 469 KB
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Excerpt from The Road to the Open
George von Wergenthin sat at table quite alone to-day. His elder brother Felician had chosen to dine out with friends for the first time after a longish interval. But George felt no particular inclination to renew his acquaintance with Ralph Skelton, Count Schonstein or any of the other young people, whose gossip usually afforded him so much pleasure; for the time being he did not feel in the mood for any kind of society.
The servant cleared away and disappeared. George lit a cigarette and then in accordance with his habit walked up and down the big three-windowed rather low room, while he wondered how it was that this very room which had for many weeks seemed to him so gloomy was now gradually beginning to regain its former air of cheerfulness. He could not help letting his glance linger on the empty chair at the top end of the table, over which the September sun was streaming through the open window in the centre. He felt as though he had seen his father, who had died two months ago, sit there only an hour back, as he visualised with great clearness the very slightest mannerisms of the dead man, even down to his trick of pushing his coffee-cup away, adjusting his pince-nez or turning over the leaves of a pamphlet.
George thought of one of his last conversations with his father which had occurred in the late spring before they had moved to the villa on the Veldeser Lake.
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Read information about the authorArthur Schnitzler was an Austrian author and dramatist.
The son of a prominent Hungarian-Jewish laryngologist Johann Schnitzler and Luise Markbreiter (a daughter of the Viennese doctor Philipp Markbreiter), was born in Vienna in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and began studying medicine at the local university in 1879. He received his doctorate of medicine in 1885 and worked at the Vienna's General Hospital, but ultimately abandoned medicine in favour of writing.
His works were often controversial, both for their frank description of sexuality (Sigmund Freud, in a letter to Schnitzler, confessed "I have gained the impression that you have learned through intuition — though actually as a result of sensitive introspection — everything that I have had to unearth by laborious work on other persons") and for their strong stand against anti-Semitism, represented by works such as his play Professor Bernhardi and the novel Der Weg ins Freie. However, though Schnitzler was himself Jewish, Professor Bernhardi and Fräulein Else are among the few clearly-identified Jewish protagonists in his work.
Schnitzler was branded as a pornographer after the release of his play Reigen, in which ten pairs of characters are shown before and after the sexual act, leading and ending with a prostitute. The furore after this play was couched in the strongest anti-semitic terms; his works would later be cited as "Jewish filth" by Adolf Hitler. Reigen was made into a French language film in 1950 by the German-born director Max Ophüls as La Ronde. The film achieved considerable success in the English-speaking world, with the result that Schnitzler's play is better known there under Ophüls' French title.
In the novella, Fräulein Else (1924), Schnitzler may be rebutting a contentious critique of the Jewish character by Otto Weininger (1903) by positioning the sexuality of the young female Jewish protagonist. The story, a first-person stream of consciousness narrative by a young aristocratic woman, reveals a moral dilemma that ends in tragedy.
In response to an interviewer who asked Schnitzler what he thought about the critical view that his works all seemed to treat the same subjects, he replied, "I write of love and death. What other subjects are there?" Despite his seriousness of purpose, Schnitzler frequently approaches the bedroom farce in his plays (and had an affair with one of his actresses, Adele Sandrock). Professor Bernhardi, a play about a Jewish doctor who turns away a Catholic priest in order to spare a patient the realization that she is on the point of death, is his only major dramatic work without a sexual theme.
A member of the avant-garde group Young Vienna (Jung Wien), Schnitzler toyed with formal as well as social conventions. With his 1900 short story Lieutenant Gustl, he was the first to write German fiction in stream-of-consciousness narration. The story is an unflattering portrait of its protagonist and of the army's obsessive code of formal honour. It caused Schnitzler to be stripped of his commission as a reserve officer in the medical corps — something that should be seen against the rising tide of anti-semitism of the time.
He specialized in shorter works like novellas and one-act plays. And in his short stories like "The Green Tie" ("Die grüne Krawatte") he showed himself to be one of the early masters of microfiction. However he also wrote two full-length novels: Der Weg ins Freie about a talented but not very motivated young composer, a brilliant description of a segment of pre-World War I Viennese society; and the artistically less satisfactory Therese.
In addition to his plays and fiction, Schnitzler meticulously kept a diary from the age of 17 until two days before his death, of a brain hemorrhage in Vienna. The manuscript, which runs to almost 8,000 pages, is most notable for Schnitzler's cas
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