The wealth and the variety of Arthur Schnitzler’s creations tend to provoke different appraisals of the various aspects of his works. For some people, the name Schnitzler evokes only sweet Viennese girls being seduced by callous young men; others think primarily of the scandal that erupted at the premiere of La Ronde, a sequence of ten erotic scenes. Yet others think of Schnitzler’s trenchant treatment of such social problems as dueling and anti-Semitism. The truth is that Schnitzler’s uvre is greater than the sum of these components. At his best, he represented Viennese society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in such a manner as to bring out its universal qualities. In Schnitzler’s plays, universal topics of love, hate, cruelty, tenderness, faithfulness, infidelity, callousness, gentleness, and death are presented in the contemporary settings that were congenial to him. Whenever his characters speak with a Viennese inflection and whenever the setting is contemporary Vienna, his plays range from good to first-rate. He is much less successful with historical plays and with settings in foreign countries.
Gay, Peter. Schnitzler’s Century: The Making of Middle-Class Culture, 1815-1914. New York: W. W. Norton, 2002. A look at Schnitzler and the time in which he lived. Includes bibliography and index.
Keiser, Brenda. Deadly Dishonor: The Duel and the Honor Code in the Works of Arthur Schnitzler. New York: Peter Lang, 1990. An examination of the works of Schnitzler in relation to his portrayal of the honor code and the practice of dueling. Bibliography and index.
Schneider-Halvorson, Brigitte L. The Late Dramatic Works of Arthur Schnitzler. New York: Peter Lang, 1983. A critical examination of Schnitzler’s later plays. Includes bibliography and index.
Skrine, Peter N. Hauptmann, Wedekind, and Schnitzler. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. Skrine compares and contrasts the dramatic works of Schnitzler, Frank Wedekind, and Gerhart Hauptmann. Includes bibliography and index.
Weinberger, G. J. Arthur Schnitzler’s Late Plays: A Critical Study. New York: Peter Lang, 1997. A study that looks at Schnitzler’s dramatic works, particularly the later period works. Includes bibliography and index.
Wisely, Andrew C. Arthur Schnitzler and the Discourse of Honor and Dueling. New York: Peter Lang, 1996. An examination of the topics of honor and dueling as they are presented in the works of Schnitzler. Includes bibliography and index.
Yates, W. E. Schnitzler, Hofmannsthal, and the Austrian Theatre. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1992. Yates compares and contrasts the lives and works of Schnitzler and Hugo von Hofmannsthal in this discussion of the Austrian theater. Includes bibliography and index.