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ARTHUR SCHNITZLER (1862-1931),
THE PHYSICIAN WHO FOUND IN VENICE SEDUCTION AND DEMISE
André J. Fabre June 2013
Arthur Schnitzler was born in Leopoldstadt, nearby Vienna, where his father, renowned otorhinolaryngologist and voice expert had his office crowded with all sorts of actors, actresses and opera singers .
Arthur Schnitzler was fascinated by the world of artists and as early as twelve, heban to write theatre plays.
However, Arthur's father wanted to see his son follow the same path. Arthur did not at any time think to disobey his father and he entered, as soon as his studies were over, the Medicine School of Vienne.
In 1885 he obtains his diploma and starts an hospital, career at the Algemeines Krankenhaus in Vienna.
Anyway, as soon as his father was dead, Arthur jumped into his beloved theater world.
VIENNA THATER LIFE, FULL SPEED
Hardly 23 yrs old, he was already a success playwright also author of many short stories and novels. He knew how to bring in his books a dreamlike atmosphere, of anguish mixed with sensuality.
Despite or perhaps because of his triumphant career, Schnitzler aroused much hostility around him and the high-society of Vienne often appeared shocked by the cynicism underlying in all Schnitzler's books… .
At the same time, is it only mere coincidence ?, Sigmund Freud became a great name in Vienne and, on several occasions, showeda great interest for Schnitzler's books. On his 60 yrs birthday Schnitzler received a message from Freud acknowledging that they had much in common to say.
CASANOVA AND SCHNITZLER
Very much alike Freud Arthur Schnitzler had a true passion for Venice. That could explain his fascination for Casanova. He wrote a book called "The Return of Casanova" showing the Venetian seducer at the end of his career. He wants to see a last time the city where he lived twenty years earlier, before being thrown to jail for his "crimes" of atheism and libertinism. Sib=nce that time, much time has passed, the seducer is no longer the "lover of a thousand and three women" but only a shivering old man in threadbare clothes. He meets a young and brilliant girl, Marcolina, to him, the living symbol of perfection in women. After a last firework of seduction, Casanova remains the greatest of all lovers, but at the cost of a double crime.
In this tale, Arthur Schnitzler wanted to promote his ideas, very similar to Freud's doctrines, on the strength of erotic impulses in any human life, with Venice, temple of seduction, as background scenery.
DRAMA IN VENICE
In fact, Venice occurred to be fatal for the disciple of Casanova : his beloved daughter, Lili, longtime reluctant to marriage ended up as wifeto a handsome Italian officer, veteran of the fascist march to Rome, Arnoldo Cappellini. Unfortunately, the marriage turned out rapidly ito a nightmare ; Lili since long time haunted by anxiety and depression, shot herself to death in an hotel room of Venice.
Broken by grief, Arthur Schnitzler made every year a Journey of mourning to Venice, standing hours and hours at his beloveddaughter's grave in the old Jewish cemetery of Lido.
As would have commented Schnitzler's master in analysis of the Psyche, Sigmund Freud, : "the loop was closed" ...
Date de dernière mise à jour : 30/07/2013