GABRIELE MATZNER-HOLZER Foreword: Arthur Schnitzler’s Legacy vii
GABRIELE MATZNER-HOLZER Foreword Arthur Schnitzler’s Legacy When Arthur Schnitzler was born into a bourgeois Viennese Jewish family in 1862, Austria was still a major European power. But this Central European Habsburg Empire with more than a dozen dif ferent nationalities and lan- guages had already started its political and economic decline. Nationalism had begun to erode its foundations. The ruling classes proved incapable of stemming the tide by meaningful reforms. Especially after the revolution of 1848 which brought with it, inter alia, the total liberation of the Jews from crippling laws, aspirations towards freedom and national self-determination were never to die down again. In the early nineties of the nineteenth century, when Schnitzler was still a young man, having reluctantly finished his training as a physician, and later, when he had become a highly successful author of prose and drama, Vienna was going through what was later termed the Wiener Moderne. Schnitzler was a major figure in this fin-de-siècle outburst of creativity in the arts and sciences. He interacted with key figures, such as Hermann Bahr, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Theodor Herzl, Karl Kraus, Anton Bruckner, Richard Strauss, Johannes Brahms, Richard Beer-Hofmann, Alma Mahler-Werfel and many others. This impressively rich period of Austrian cultural history, with its lasting inf luence on Europe and the world, has often been explained by the unique multinational, multilingual environment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in its final stages. Many of its most famous protagonists were born outside of what is now...
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