Arthur Schnitzler

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Arthur Schnitzler, ca.1912, photograph by Ferdinand Schmutzer Arthur Schnitzler signature.jpg

Arthur Schnitzler (born May 15, 1862 in Vienna ; † October 21, 1931 there ) was an Austrian doctor , storyteller and playwright . He is considered one of the most important representatives of Viennese modernism .


Photography by Aura Hertwig
Photography by Aura Hertwig
Birthplace at Praterstrasse 16
Mountain friends: Arthur Schnitzler, Richard Tausenau and Louis Friedmann around 1885.
Christine Kerry (left) and Schnitzler on the Gschwandtalm am Loser in Altaussee (around 1916)

Arthur Schnitzler came as the first son of the four children of the Jewish medical professor and laryngologist Johann Schnitzler (1835-1893) and his wife Luise nee. Markbreiter (1840–1911) in Praterstrasse 16 (at that time still Jägerzeile) in the 2nd Viennese district Leopoldstadt to the world. However, as an expression of the father's successful career advancement, the family soon moved from the part of town, which is particularly known for Jewish immigration, to the 1st district.

From 1871 to 1879 he attended the Academic Gymnasium in the 1st district and passed the Matura with distinction on July 8, 1879 . He then studied at the Vienna University of Medicine . On May 30, 1885 he was promoted to Dr. med. PhD. His younger brother Julius (1865-1939) also became a doctor.

Arthur Schnitzler began early as a writer of literary texts and poems. He made his literary debut with Liebeslied der Ballerine in 1880 in the magazine Der Freie Landbote and subsequently published poems and stories a. a. also in Blue Danube , Modern Poetry , Frankfurter Zeitung and Free Stage .

From 1885 to 1888 he worked as an assistant and secondary doctor at the General Hospital of the City of Vienna in internal medicine and in the field of psychiatry and dermatology. After that he was his father's assistant at the laryngological department of the polyclinic in Vienna until 1893 . From 1886 to 1893, Schnitzler published on medical topics and wrote more than 70 articles, mostly reviews of specialist books, including as editor of the International Clinical Review founded by his father . He wrote one (only) scientific publication: On functional aphonia and its treatment through hypnosis and suggestion (1889).

From 1890, Schnitzler and his friends Hugo von Hofmannsthal , Hermann Bahr and Richard Beer-Hofmann were one of the main representatives of the young Vienna , the literary Viennese modernism , whose preferred meeting place was the Café Griensteidl in the city center. Schnitzler also liked to visit the Leidinger restaurant at Kärntner Straße 61 and was also acquainted with Sigmund Freud .

Arthur Schnitzler around 1900

After his father's death in 1893, he left the clinic and opened his own practice, first at Burgring 1 (access via Bösendorferstraße 11 (Giselastraße 11), Top 3-4, 1st district, Innere Stadt ), then in an apartment in Mezzanine of Frankgasse 1 (9th district, Alsergrund , right next to the large Votive Church ). He had also contributed to his father's clinical atlas of laryngology, published posthumously in 1895 .

At the turn of the century he was one of the most important critics of the Austro-Hungarian society and its development. After the publication of Lieutenant Gustl , in which he attacked the code of honor of the military, on June 14, 1901 he was stripped of the officer rank as senior physician in the reserve.

After that he was no longer a doctor, but only worked as a freelance writer in Vienna.

“Women always played a central role in Arthur Schnitzler's life. In the time before his marriage ... there were relationships with actresses ... on the one hand, and love affairs with girls from the suburbs ... that also influenced his artistic work. 'The long-term relationships with Marie Glümer and Maria are of great importance to his work Reinhard . Schnitzler and Maria Reinhard's child was born in 1897 and is said to have died giving birth.

On August 9, 1902, the actress Olga Gussmann (1882–1970) gave birth to their son Heinrich Schnitzler . The couple married on August 26, 1903. Daughter Lili was born on September 13, 1909.

In 1910, Schnitzler acquired the villa in Vienna 18th , Sternwartestraße 71, from Hedwig Bleibtreu , in the Währinger Cottageviertel not far from the Vienna University Observatory . Friends like Richard Beer-Hofmann and Felix Salten lived nearby . He had previously lived on the next parallel street, at that time Spöttelgasse 7 (since 1918 Edmund-Weiß-Gasse).

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the writer has been one of the most played dramatists on German stages. With the beginning of the First World War , interest in his works declined. This was also due to the fact that he was one of the few Austrian intellectuals who was not enthusiastic about warmongering .

In 1919 he met Hedy Kempny . From this a friendship developed that lasted until Schnitzler's death. In 1921 he was divorced from Olga Schnitzler, the children Heinrich and Lili stayed with him. From 1923 onwards, the widowed writer Clara Katharina Pollaczek was born. Loeb (1875–1951) Schnitzler connected in a "romantic relationship". The two exchanged extensive letters; Numerous joint visits to the cinema are also documented. While the relationship with Pollaczek became increasingly difficult in his last years, the young translator Suzanne Clauser became Schnitzler's last great love.

In 1921, on the occasion of the world premiere of the stage play Reigen , which led to a staged theater scandal in Berlin and then in Vienna in 1920/1921 , he was brought to trial for causing public nuisance, which ultimately ended in favor of the author at the Vienna Constitutional Court . After further performances in Vienna, however, Schnitzler asked his theater publisher in 1922 not to allow further performances. (His son did not have the ban lifted until 1982.)

In the period that followed, the writer increasingly isolated himself. In 1927, the Austrian Radio Verkehrs AG (RAVAG) imposed a "major radio ban" on Schnitzler, who made copyright claims for royalties .

Gravestone of Lili Schnitzler, Jewish cemetery, Venice, grave 1036

Olga and Arthur Schnitzler allowed their seventeen-year-old daughter to marry the Italian officer Arnoldo Cappellini on June 30, 1927. 13 months later, on July 26, 1928 she committed in Venice , where she lived with her husband, suicide . Clara Pollaczek blamed Arthur Schnitzler for this. “That July day my life came to an end”, Schnitzler noted in his diary.

In the last years of his life he mainly wrote stories in which he portrayed individual fates around the turn of the century from a psychological point of view.

Arthur Schnitzler died of a cerebral haemorrhage on October 21, 1931 at the age of 69 . In a decree he had stipulated in the event of his death: “Heart stroke! No wreaths! [...] funeral last class! The money left over by following these provisions is to be used for hospital purposes. [...] Do not mourn after my death, absolutely none! "

He was buried on October 23, 1931 in the Vienna Central Cemetery in the Old Israelite Department, Gate 1. Adjacent are the younger graves of Oskar Strnad , Friedrich Torberg , Gerhard Bronner and Harry Weber . The Vienna city administration maintains the grave as an honor grave .

Artistic creation

Schnitzler wrote dramas and prose (mainly short stories), in which he mainly focuses on the psychological processes of his characters. Simultaneously with the insight into the inner workings of Schnitzler's characters, the reader also gets a picture of the society that shapes these characters and their mental life.

The plot of the works of Schnitzler mostly takes place in Vienna at the turn of the century. Many of his stories and dramas live not least from the local color. The characters involved are typical figures of Viennese society at the time: officers and doctors, artists and journalists, actors and easy-going dandies, and last but not least, the sweet girl from the suburbs, who became something like a distinguishing mark for Schnitzler and simultaneously for his opponents a stamp with which they wanted to disqualify Schnitzler as one-sided.

Schnitzler is mostly not concerned with the representation of pathological mental states, but with the processes inside ordinary, average people with their ordinary life lies, to which a society full of unwritten prohibitions and regulations, sexual taboos and codes of honor especially challenges the weaker citizens among its citizens.

Like Sigmund Freud in psychoanalysis , Arthur Schnitzler brought up those taboos (sexuality, death) that were suppressed by bourgeois society around the same time. In contrast to Freud, the essence of this society and its participants is revealed in Schnitzler's work not as a (previously) unconscious , but as a semi-conscious, for example in the inner monologue of a protagonist. Freud himself wrote in a letter to Schnitzler:

“I have often wondered in amazement how you could get this or that secret knowledge that I acquired through laborious research into the object, and finally I came to envy the poet whom I usually admire. So I got the impression that through intuition - but actually as a result of fine self-perception - you know everything that I have uncovered in laborious work on other people. "

- Sigmund Freud

Schnitzler's works often deal with topics such as adultery (e.g. in the drama Reigen ), secret affairs and women heroes ( Anatol , drama cycle).

It was no coincidence that Schnitzler introduced the inner monologue into German-language literature with his novella Leutnant Gustl (1900) . With the help of this special perspective, he was able to give the reader a deeper, more direct insight into the inner conflicts of his characters. He continued this narrative form in Fräulein Else .

In the novel The Path to the Free and in the play Professor Bernhardi , Schnitzler dealt with the anti-Semitism that is strongly pronounced in Vienna .

At the same time he is one of the great diarists in German-language literature. From the age of seventeen to two days before his death he meticulously kept a diary . It was published posthumously in ten volumes from 1981 to 2000.

Schnitzler's estate

(More comprehensive presentation in the article: Arthur Schnitzler's estate )

The majority of the estate, which consists of an estimated 40,000 sheets, was saved from the National Socialists by the activity of a British man living in Vienna, Eric A. Blackall, who ensured that the British representation in Vienna placed the material under diplomatic protection . The Nazi regime respected at several house searches, that it (unlike the living rooms Schnitzler) on the stored in separately accessible basement rooms of Schnitzler Villa materials legally had no access: Due to a "gift" the materials that were Cambridge University Library brought .

The problem with the "donation" was that it was made by Arthur Schnitzler's divorced wife, Olga, who was not authorized to do so. The rightful owner, the son Heinrich, was not in Vienna.

During and after the Second World War , Heinrich Schnitzler endeavored to get this intellectual legacy from his father back from Great Britain; however, he was unsuccessful. In an article in the Viennese daily Kurier on January 11, 2015 , Thomas Trenkler classified the behavior of the British authorities and Cambridge University as expropriation taking advantage of an emergency; the estate should be returned to the family. The family, the grandchildren Michael Schnitzler and Peter Schnitzler, then announced that they would reclaim the estate again.

Memorial plaque on the residential building, Vienna 18., Sternwartestraße 71
The grave in the Central Cemetery, Old Israelite Department


Bust in Vienna's Türkenschanzpark near Schnitzler's villa in Sternwartestrasse

Awards during his lifetime

Post fame

Sándor Jaray: Arthur Schnitzler

While Schnitzler was frowned upon as a Jewish author during the Nazi era, in the post-war period a slow institutionalization of the classic began.

  • In 1959/1960 the Arthur-Schnitzler-Hof in Vienna- Döbling (19th district) was named after him.
  • In 1971 a Schnitzler bust by Sandor Jaray was unveiled in the Burgtheater in Vienna.
  • On May 13, 1982 a bust of Paul Peschke was unveiled in Vienna's Türkenschanzpark (18th district). The memorial was initiated by Viktor Anninger (1911–2004), who was friends with Lili Schnitzler and who frequented Schnitzler's house at Sternwartestrasse 71. Peschke, on the other hand, was Ferdinand Schmutzer's son-in-law and lived when he created the memorial, exactly opposite Schnitzler's former home in the former house of his father-in-law.
  • April 2012: The small park opposite the train station in Baden (Lower Austria) is named "Arthur-Schnitzler-Park".
  • May 6, 2017: Following a municipal council resolution from September 2016 , the forecourt of the Volkstheater between Burggasse, Museumstrasse and Neustiftgasse is named "Arthur-Schnitzler-Platz" in Vienna's 7th district, Neubau . The theater now uses the address 1070 Vienna, Arthur-Schnitzler-Platz 1.

The Arthur Schnitzler Society awards the Arthur Schnitzler Prize every four years . This is endowed with 10,000 euros by the Austrian Ministry of Education and the Culture Department of the City of Vienna.


The years refer to the conclusion of the manuscript.



Stories and short stories


  • Life and Reverberation, Work and Echoes , originated mainly in 1916–1918, published as: Arthur Schnitzler: Jugend in Wien . An autobiography . Edited by Therese Nickl and Heinrich Schnitzler. With an afterword by Friedrich Torberg . Vienna, Munich, Zurich, New York: Fritz Molden 1968.

Work editions

  • Collected works in two departments . [7 vol.] S. Fischer, Berlin 1912.
  • Collected works in two departments . 9 vols. S. Fischer, Berlin 1922.
  • Collected Works . S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1961–1977.
    • The narrative writings . 2 vols., 1961.
    • Dramatic works . 2 vols., 1962.
    • Aphorisms and reflections . Edited by Robert O. Weiss. 1967.
    • Drafted and rejected . From the estate. Edited by Reinhard Urbach . 1977.
  • Historical-critical edition of the early work. Edited by Konstanze Fliedl. De Gruyter, Berlin 2011ff.
  • Arthur Schnitzler digital. Digital historical-critical edition (works 1905–1931) . Ed. V. Wolfgang Lukas, Michael Scheffel, Andrew Webber and Judith Beniston in collaboration with Thomas Burch. Wuppertal, Cambridge, Trier 2018 ff. <Https://>.

For current edition projects, see Schnitzler edition projects .


  • Diary 1879–1931. Published by the commission for literary forms of use of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, chairman: Werner Welzig . Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1981–2000, free PDF online :
    • 1879-1892. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 1987)
    • 1893-1902. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Konstanze Fliedl, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 1989)
    • 1903-1908. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 1991)
    • 1909-1912. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Richard Miklin, Maria Neyses, Susanne Pertlik, Walter Ruprechter and Reinhard Urbach, 1981)
    • 1913-1916. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Richard Miklin, Susanne Pertlik, Walter Ruprechter and Reinhard Urbach, 1983)
    • 1917-1919. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Richard Miklin, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 1985)
    • 1920-1922. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 1993)
    • 1923-1926. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 1995)
    • 1927-1930. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 1997)
    • 1931. Complete directories 1897–1931. (With the participation of Peter Michael Braunwarth, Susanne Pertlik and Reinhard Urbach, 2000). Corrections and additions (PDF)
  • Diary 1879–1931. Digital edition . Publishedby the Austrian Center for Digital Humanities (ACDH), 2019
  • Dreams. The dream diary 1875–1931. Published by Peter Michael Braunwarth and Leo A. Lensing, Wallstein, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8353-1029-2 .


See also the special article: Arthur Schnitzler's correspondence .

  • Arthur Schnitzler: Letters 1875–1912. Edited by Therese Nickl and Heinrich Schnitzler. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer 1981. ( online )
  • Arthur Schnitzler: Letters 1913–1931. Edited by Peter Michael Braunwarth, Richard Miklin, Susanne Pertlik and Heinrich Schnitzler. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer 1984. ( online )
  • Hermann Bahr, Arthur Schnitzler: Correspondence, records, documents 1891–1931. Edited by Kurt Ifkovits, Martin Anton Müller. Göttingen: Wallstein 2018, ISBN 978-3-8353-3228-7 Publishing house presentation , PDF , extended web presentation
  • Georg Brandes and Arthur Schnitzler. An exchange of letters . Edited by Kurt Bergel. Bern: Francke 1956. ( online )
  • Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Arthur Schnitzler: Correspondence . Edited by Therese Nickl and Heinrich Schnitzler. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer 1964. ( online )
  • “The girl with thirteen souls.” A correspondence supplemented by sheets from Hedy Kempny's diary and a selection of her stories. Edited by Heinz P. Adamek , Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1984, ISBN 3-499-15457-9 .
  • Heinz P. Adamek (Ed.): In the New World - Arthur Schnitzler - Eugen Deimel, correspondence. Holzhausen, Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-85493-074-7 . ( online )
  • Arthur Schnitzler and Olga Waissnix: love that died before time. An exchange of letters . Edited by Therese Nickl and Heinrich Schnitzler. Vienna, Munich, Zurich: Molden 1970. ( online )

Film work

  • Film work. Scripts, drafts, sketches . Edited by Achim Aurnhammer, Hans Peter Buohler, Philipp Gresser, Julia Ilgner, Carolin Maikler and Lea Marquart. Ergon, Würzburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-95650-057-2 .

Film adaptations

Schnitzler's work served as a template for numerous cinema and television films, including:

The structure of the dance served as inspiration for the film 360 (2011) .

Radio plays about his relationship with Adele Sandrock

  • 1985: Arthur Schnitzler, Adele Sandrock : You with body and soul - you dog! - Adaptation and direction: Friedhelm Ortmann (radio play adaptation - ORF / WDR ) - First broadcast: September 22, 1985 | 89'36 minutes
Speaker: Elisabeth Trissenaar : Adele Sandrock; Helmuth Lohner : Arthur Schnitzler.

See also

Literature (reverse chronological)


Overviews and lexicon articles

Manuals and compilations

Brief descriptions and introductions

More extensive biographies

On special topics

  • Achim Aurnhammer, Barbara Beßlich , Rudolf Denk (eds.): Arthur Schnitzler and the film (= Classical Modernism. Volume 15; = Files from the Arthur Schnitzler Archive of the University of Freiburg. Volume 1). Ergon, Würzburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-89913-748-4 ( table of contents (PDF))
  • Nikolaj Beier: "Above all, I am I ..." Judaism, acculturation and anti-Semitism in Arthur Schnitzler's life and work. Wallstein, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-8353-0255-6 ( dissertation at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich 2007).
  • Manfred Engel : Dream notes in poets' diaries (Bräker, Keller, Schnitzler). In: Bernard Dieterle, Manfred Engel (eds.): Writing the Dream / Écrire le rêve (= Cultural Dream Studies, Volume 1). Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2017, pp. 211-238, ISBN 978-3-8260-6120-2 .
  • Bettina Riedmann: "I am a Jew, an Austrian, a German". Judaism in Arthur Schnitzler's diaries and letters (= Conditio Judaica [Iudaica] . Volume 36), Niemeyer, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-484-65136-9 .
  • Michael Rohrwasser , Stephan Kurz (Ed.): “A. is sometimes like a small child. ”Clara Katharina Pollaczek and Arthur Schnitzler go to the cinema (= Manu Scripta. Volume 2). Böhlau, Vienna 2012, ISBN 978-3-205-78746-4 .
  • Johannes Sachslehner : I want everyone, everyone. Arthur Schnitzler and his sweet Viennese girls. Styria, Vienna a. a. 2015, ISBN 978-3-222-13505-7
  • Heinz P. Adamek: Artistic Chords - Diagonal. Essays on art, architecture, literature and society . Vienna: Böhlau 2016, ISBN 978-3-205-20250-9 , pp. 191-223

Web links

Commons : Arthur Schnitzler  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Arthur Schnitzler  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Birth register of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien, Volume C, No. 2948 ( facsimile at FamilySearch, free registration required ).
  2. Karin Weisemann: Arthur Schnitzler. In: Wolfgang U. Eckart , Christoph Gradmann (Hrsg.): Ärztelexikon. From antiquity to the present . 3. Edition. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg / Berlin / New York 2006, pp. 292–293. doi: 10.1007 / 978-3-540-29585-3 .
  3. ^ RD Barley: Laryngology and literature: The Schnitzler-Hajek family. In: ENT Compact. Volume 16, Issue 3, June 2008, Kaden Verlag, Heidelberg, ISSN  1864-1164 .
  4. Schnitzler Arthur . In: Lehmann's Allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger together with Handels = u. Trade = address book for the Imperial and Royal Reichs-Haupt = u. Residence city Vienna and the surrounding area. Alfred Hölder, Vienna 1890, p. LVIII ( online [accessed June 20, 2020]).
  5. The exact living situation is unclear. He lived in the same house with his mother, but at times in his own apartment. See the letter he wrote to his wife Olga on March 30, 1922: “And in Frankgasse 1 I have re-entered both apartments over the last 1–2 years - the Rikola publishing house is on the 1st floor, and on the 3rd floor. the painter Horowitz lives. "
  6. Manfred Vasold: Schnitzler, Arthur. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1304.
  7. Arthur Schnitzler - Bilddokumente einer literati, Chapter 5, The partial photographic estate in the ÖNB's picture archive
  8. Rolf-Peter Lacher: Man is a beast . Anna Heeger, Maria Chlum, Maria Reinhard and Arthur Schnitzler. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-8260-5396-2
  9. ^ Adolph Lehmann's General Housing Gazette for Vienna . 1910 edition, Volume 2, p. 1096 (= p. 1190 of the digital representation)
  10. ^ Biographical resources on Clara Katharina Pollaczek on the website of the University of Vienna
  11. ^ Clara Katharina Pollaczek in the database Women in Movement 1848–1938 of the Austrian National Library
  12. Pollaczek on the website of the German culture magazine Perlentaucher
  13. Little Chronicle. (...) Schnitzler boycott on the radio. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt (No. 22644/1927), October 1, 1927, p. 6, bottom left. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfpas well as
    Arthur Schnitzler and the "Ravag". In:  Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt (No. 22644/1927), October 1, 1927, p. 7, center right. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
  14. Renate Wagner: Like a wide country. Arthur Schnitzler and his time. Vienna 2006, p. 297.
  15. Schnitzler's funeral . In: Vossische Zeitung No. 500, Morgenblatt, October 23, 1931.
  16. ^ The funeral of Schnitzler. In:  Die Neue Zeitung , October 24, 1931, p. 3 (online at ANNO ).Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nzg
  17. "We would rather say about my unconscious, my half-conscious - but I still know more than you do, and after the darkness of the soul more paths go than the psychoanalysts dream of (and dream-interpret). And very often a path still leads right through the illuminated inner world where they - and you -. Think we have to turn too early into the realm of shadows "writes Schnitzler on 31 December 1913, the Freud pupil Theodor Reik , of his work dedicated to a psychoanalytic study would have. Cf. Theodor Reik: Schnitzler as a psychologist. With an introduction and notes edited by Bernd Urban. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1993, p. 12 (introduction). Schnitzler always retained a reservation against the "fixed psychoanalytic ideas".
  18. Erwin Ringel : The Austrian soul . 13th edition. Europa Verlag, Hamburg / Vienna 2001, ISBN 3-203-81506-0 , p. 76 .
  19. Thomas Trenkler: Schnitzler's estate: Saved - and expropriated . In: Kurier , Vienna, January 11, 2015
  20. Thomas Trenkler: Troubled descendants . In: Kurier , January 18, 2015
  21. Cf. for example Reinhard Urbach: Does he want to make a joke? The press , May 24, 2014
  22. Schnitzler monument in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  23. ^ Arthur Schnitzler Park Baden
  24. ^ Arthur-Schnitzler-Platz in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  25. Finally a place for Arthur Schnitzler . In: Wiener Bezirkszeitung Neubau , April 27, 2017, p. 20