Bachelors: Novellas and Stories

Arthur Schnitzler, Author, Margret Schaefer, Translator , trans. from the German by Margret Schaefer. Ivan R. Dee $27.50 (268p) ISBN 978-1-56663-611-7

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.)

Reviewed on: 07/24/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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