Vienna (Oct. 21)
Arthur Schnitzler, the great novelist and dramatist, died here suddenly to-day after a stroke.
Born in Vienna on May 15th., 1862, the son of Professor Johann Schnitzler, a famous medical man, who held a chair in medicine at Vienna University, he was intended by his father for the medical professions. He took his degree in medicine and for some years held an appointment in the Vienna General Hospital. His brother, Professor Julius Schnitzler, who also followed their father’s profession, is a famous medical authority and, like his father, holds a chair at Vienna University.
His knowledge of medicine constantly came into his writings, and doctors frequently occur among his characters. As a Jew, he took the Jewish problem as his theme for some of his most famous works, as in his play “Professor Bernhardi” and his best-known novel “The Road to the Open”. His books were translated into all modern languages, and his plays were produced in many countries and played by the leading actors and actresses.
The fact that he was a Jew added to, and perhaps, created the feeling of hostility aroused by some of his work, on the ground that it was erotic, and the demonstrations against his famous play “Rings” were almost entirely antisemitic in nature.
In 1922, he was compelled to break off a lecturing tour in Czecho-Slovakia on account of antisemitic demonstrations organised by youths wearing the swastika emblem. In 1926, on receiving an invitation from Hungary to deliver a course of readings there from his works, Schnitzler replied that on principle he refused to deliver any lectures in Hungary, where the White Terror had raged against the Jews, and where Jews were still being discriminated against.
While proud of the fact that he was a Jew, and lending the prestige of his name to many Jewish activities, and in particular protesting on many occasions against the persecution of Jews in the East European countries and elsewhere, Schnitzler tried to avoid, however, becoming involved in political controversies, holding that his sphere was literature and not polities.
Not long ago, Schnitzler’s only daughter, who had married out of the faith against his will committed suicide, and the blow undoubtedly hastened his death.