Bachelors: Novellas and Stories

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Scarcely anyone understands the psychology of men's relationship with women—in all its complexity, ambivalence, and frequent perversity—better than the turn-of-the-century Viennese writer and dramatist Arthur Schnitzler. Like Vienna itself, birthplace of much of twentieth-century thought in art, philosophy, and psychology, Schnitzler's sensibility is profoundly modern, even postmodern. He probes and records the illusions and delusions, the dreams and desires, the split between the social self and the inner self that are characteristic of the self-alienated man of his time—and ours. In Margret Schaefer's third collection of newly translated fiction from Schnitzler, we find him focusing a clear and unforgiving eye on the minds of men who desire, fantasize about, and try to relate to women. Young or old, they are all bachelors—a young officer (Lieutenant Gustl), a socially desirable lawyer (The Murderer), a middle-aged physician (Doctor Graesler), an aging roué (Casanova's Homecoming). All are looking for women. Yet these are not love stories. Although Schnitzler's topic is relationships, his theme here as elsewhere is isolation—and the losses, fears, self-doubts, and self-absorption that make it inescapable. For no matter how much social and erotic contact the men in these tales have with women, in the end they cannot escape their own terrifying aloneness.

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
Each piece is as clear as a its penetrating analysis of male ambiguities, perversities, and psychology....An excellent collection.
John Simon
An undervalued genius.
Sandra M. Gilbert
In Margret Schaefer's superb translations, Arthur Schnitzler reemerges as a riveting storyteller.
The New Yorker - Leo Carey
Schnitzler really can see into souls and give voice to the chaos he finds there.
Washington Post Book World - Chris Lehmann
The tales of Arthur Schnitzler—especially as rendered in Schaefer's clear, uncluttered translations—are many suggestive, allusive, and dreamlike things.
Village Voice
A fine selection of a crucial body of work, well worth rediscovering: humane, satirical, and magnificent.
New Yorker
Schnitzler really can see into sould and give voice to the chaos he finds there...
Washington Post Book World
The tales of Arthur Schnitzler-especially as rendered in Schaefer's clear, uncluttered translations-are many suggestive, allusive, and dreamlike things.
Village Voice
A fine selection of a crucial body of work, well worth rediscovering: humane, satirical, and magnificent.
Publishers Weekly
Four gloomy tales of male vanity and self-deception by Viennese author Schnitzler (1862-1931) form the third volume (after Night Games and Desire and Delusion) of his work brought out by Ivan R. Dee and Schaefer (who provides a sketchy preface). "The Murderer," the first and shortest tale, concerns a comfortable Viennese lawyer who lives by himself and who truly desires a wife and companion, but can't bear the thought of being emotionally restricted. He abandons her to run off with a tart whose passion drives him, in turn, to despair and worse, before returning to Vienna a year later for a shocking encounter with his past love. Similarly, in "Doctor Graesler," the eligible provincial doctor meets a suitable mate, Sabine, who has studied nursing and hopes to be his colleague, yet his agonized hesitation prompts him first to destroy another woman's life before returning to face Sabine and ask for her love. "Lieutenant Gustl" is a messy stream-of-consciousness narrative by a hare-brained young officer saved at the last moment from having to fight a duel; "Casanova's Homecoming" finds the aging lothario attempting desperately to engineer his final, bittersweet conquest. The prose feels heavy and dated, but Schnitzler remains a psychologically fascinating writer. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566636117
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 10/25/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Schaefer's prizewinning earlier translations of Arthur Schnitzler's novellas and stories, in Night Games and Desire and Delusion (both published by Ivan R. Dee), were widely praised ("Superlative fiction."—Kirkus Reviews). She lives in Berkeley, California.

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Table of Contents

The murderer 3
Casanova's homecoming 25
Lieutenant Gustl 134
Doctor Graesler 168
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