‘The complexity of my condition: an Austrian, a Jew’. This diary entry by Arthur Schnitzler in 1913 serves as epigraph of our lecture series Jews, Politics and Austria organised jointly with the Leo Baeck Institute London. The series introduces Jewish intellectuals, artists and scientists who, in the early years of the twentieth century, lived and worked in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in the Republic of Austria.
The first lecture in this series will focus on the work of the Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler (1862 – 1931) and his acute analysis of the discontinuity of his time. Schnitzler has typically been regarded as either a voice of the Fin de siècle or a chronicler of the post WWI period. In this lecture however, Konstanze Fliedl will examine how Schnitzler’s texts, in contrast to typical assessments of his work, manifest his profound understanding of the mechanism employed by authoritarian structures. She argues that Schnitzler’s texts can also be understood as disturbing prophesies of the approaching catastrophes of the 20th century.
Konstanze Fliedl is Professor of modern German Literature at the Institute of German Studies at the University of Vienna. Her work focuses on Fin de siècle Literature. She has written and edited numerous studies on Arthur Schnitzler and is currently working on a critical edition of Schnitzler's early writings.