The Arty Semite

Dreaming of Arthur Schnitzler

By Benjamin Ivry

Wikimedia Commons
Arthur Schnitzler

The Viennese Jewish doctor Arthur Schnitzler, whose 150th birthday was on May 15, 2012 wrote dozens of plays, including “Professor Bernhardi,” about a Jewish doctor, and “Round Dance,” adapted by the German Jewish director Max Ophüls into the 1950 film classic “La Ronde.” Schnitzler’s “Dream Story” inspired the 1999 Stanley Kubrick film “Eyes Wide Shut” starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise.

Apart from these frank examinations of erotic impulses, Schnitzler also trained his clinical eye onto his own psyche. At age thirteen he began to keep a dream journal, which he added to until his death in 1931. From 1921 onward, he prepared these descriptions for eventual publication, although only in May did Wallstein Verlag publish “Dreams: the Dream Diary 1875-1931,” the first authoritatively edited, complete version of this fascinating text. It reveals prescient awareness of growing European anti-Semitism, as in a dream from September, 1916 recounting a meeting of “German Nationalists” where a blond man tells Schnitzler: “You don’t understand about honor because you’re a Jew.” Schnitzler sharply replies: “You always have more honor than I do, because you have the honor to speak with me, whereas all I have is the honor to speak with you.” In a July 1924 dream, Schnitzler goes with his literary friends Stefan Zweig and Paul Wertheimer to an outdoor pub in a Vienna park where a “swastika society” awaits them, and it is impossible to flee immediately. In such fraught reveries, Schnitzler found solace by surrounding himself with Jewish friends and others whom he admired, from Theodor Herzl and Gustav Mahler – who both pop up in a single December 1916 dream – to such contemporaries as playwright Richard Beer-Hofmann and novelist Felix Salten.

The last-mentioned, best known for having written “Bambi,” which inspired the Disney animated classic, also wrote the more Schnitzlerian 1906 erotic novel “Josephine Mutzenbacher: The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself.” a racy work also available in French translation. Despite such friends, anguish is ever-present, as in the March 1900 dream account which begins: “Salten has murdered a woman.” Foreboding dreams of funerals, coffins, and public embarrassments such as riding a horse naked down a public street are offset by moments of solace from the arts. Of these, music is a chief balm, and in one 1922 dream about Mahler, Schnitzler notes an “immense feeling of happiness, that I am permitted to speak with him.” These uncanny, elusive jottings make compelling reading.

Watch a brief excerpt from “La Ronde,” Max Ophüls’ 1950 screen adaptation of a work by Arthur Schnitzler here.

And watch a German TV tribute to Schnitzler here.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Stanley Kubrick, La Ronde, Arthur Schnitzler, dreams

Friday Film: Weimar Cinema Beyond Caligari

By A.J. Goldmann

Getty Images
Elizabeth Bergner, who played the starring role in ‘Fräulein Else.’

“Weimar Cinema, 1919–1933: Daydreams and Nightmares,” running at MoMA until March 7, 2011, is billed as the largest-ever retrospective of German cinema from between the Wars to be shown in the United States. The era’s defining cinematic style, expressionism, is well-represented in dozens of offerings, giving a healthy dose of the atmospheric, disturbing and downright spooky in classics like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “M,” “Nosferatu,” “Vampyr” and “Waxworks.”

But alongside these seminal works, the 75-film retrospective — created with assistance from the F.W. Murnau Foundation in Wiesbaden and the German Kinematek in Berlin — also highlights lesser-known and in some cases downright impossible-to-find fare, such as the surviving early comedies to which Billy Wilder lent his talents as screenwriter (see the 1930 ménage à trois musical “A Blonde’s Dream”).

On December 13, the museum will screen the impossible-to-find silent version of “Fräulein Else,” adapted from the revolutionary novella by Arthur Schnizler and directed by Paul Czinner. Schnitzler’s slim volume, written in a breathless interior monologue, tells of a young woman who consents to appear naked before the benefactor who is willing to save her father from financial ruin.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Wiesbaden, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Weimar Cinema, Weimar, Virginia Woolf, Waxworks, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Vampyr, The Affairs of Anatol, Stanley Kubrick, Rosenkavalier, Salzburg Festival, Siegfried Kracauer, Paul Czinner, Nazism, Nosferatu, MoMa, Mas Ophuls, M, La Ronde, Germany, Herbert von Karajan, Holocaust, James Joyce, German Kinematek, German Film, From Caligari to Hitler, Fraulein Else, Film, F.W. Murnau Foundation, Eyes Wide Shut, Expressionism, Elizabeth Bergner, Don Giovanni, Daydreams and Nightmares, Cecil B. DeMille, Billy Wilder, Berlin, A.J. Goldmann, Arthur Schnizler, Anti-Semitism, A Blonde's Dream




Find us on Facebook!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.