Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Late Fame by Arthur Schnitzler- written in early 1890s, first published in 2016, translated from German by Alexander Starritt, 2016.

A Very Good Video on Arthur Schnitzler and Vienna - Friom the Getty Institute

Late Fame was written around 1892. Schnitzler’s publisher wanted to initially serialise it in eight episodes in a literary journal.  Schnitzler did not want this and the work was put in a drawer.  It was recently found in his archives.  It was published for the the  first time by The New York Review of Books, translated by Alexander Starritt in 2016.

Schnitzler is one of the leading literary chroniclers of Fin-de-Siécke Vienna.

As  Late Fame opens Eduard Sayberger, a fifty year old bachelor is returning home from his job at a government office.  He has been working there over thirty years.  As he enters his apartment he is surprised when his housekeeper tells him a young man is waiting to see him.  He is even more surprised when the man says “Are you the poet Eduard Sayberger who wrote The Wanderings?”  Sayberger, very shocked, asks  the young man how he knows of this book he wrote forty years ago.  He says he found it in a used book store in Vienna, read it and was so moved by the beautiful poetry that he felt compelled to seek him out.  He tells Sayberger he is part of a poetry group, everyone his read now The Wanderings, they want badly to meet him.  

Compressing a bit, Sayberger ends up at the cafe where the poets meet.  He is gratified to be appreciated, he had almost forgotten his times as a poet in his routine of work and eating with friends. Schnitzler charmingly satirises the pretentious of those in the group.  Slowly he begins to resume the identity of a poet.  His new friends ask him how can he stand being a civil servant, he in fact was happy with his life, at least up until he met the young poets.

The ending is interesting.  We see how all of this has impacted Sayberger.

I enjoyed this book and hope to read more of Schnitzler’s work.  I last read him in November, 2013 for German Literature Month.

I offer my great thanks to The New York York Review of Books for providing me with a review copy of Late Fame

A renowned Austrian writer and dramatist, Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931) chronicled turn-of-the-century Vienna. He was famous for his frank treatment of sexual and psychological themes as well as his outspoken stance against anti-Semitism. His works were called "Jewish filth" by Adolf Hitler and were banned by the Nazis in Austria and Germany. 

Schnitzler's masterful stories and plays impressed Sigmund Freud (who famously called him his "double") and were admired by his contemporaries Thomas Mann and Henrik Ibsen. His writing continues to inspire creative artists; Tom Stoppard adapted several works by Schnitzler, and Stanley Kubrick based the film Eyes Wide Shut (1999) on Schnitzler's 1926 novella Dream Story.  - from The Getty Institute 

Mel u


Fred said...

I had seen the film, Eyes Wide Shut, and was perplexed by it. I then read Dream Story, which was an interesting read. The film now made more sense once I filled in the gaps left by the director of the film. One of these days, I'm going to check out a collection of his short works.

Mudpuddle said...

this sounds well worth reading... i'm intrigued, but not shocked, about the idea of an incident in one's life having the capacity of totally altering that life either in positive or negative ways... and i believe it's true that who we are depends on very minor events in our lives... " if i hadn't been walking along that particular street at that particular time, i never would have...". etc.

Mel u said...

Fred, I hope to see Eyes Wide Shut oneday., one of these days I also hope to read more of Schnitzler’s work. Thanks as always for your comments

Mel u said...

Mudpuddle. I liked the sense of the older poet looking back on his life, wondering what might have been. Thanks so much for your comments

Fred said...

Mel u, have you read the story the film is base on?

Mel u said...

Fred, I just acquired a kindle collection including for of his novella and ind brief short story but not Dresm Story. There is another kindle collection which does include it and if all goes well with my first collection I Will probably acquire that. Thanks as aleays for your comments