Bachelors: Stories and Novellas
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 roue (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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