Saturday, May 15, 2010

Eyes Shut

The portly fellow above is one Arthur Schnitzler, born this day 1862 in Vienna, Austria. He was born the son of a famous Austrian doctor, and followed in his father's footsteps (at least for a little while). He obtained his doctorate of medicine from the University of Vienna in 1885, and worked at the Vienna General Hospital for a while, but eventually he threw over his medical career in order to write. Must have been nice to toss away all those years of work, and education in medicine, and just write. I guess bravery, talent, and family money sort of helped make the decision a bit easier. One of his most famous works is "La Ronde" in which ten pairs of character are seen before and after the sexual act. The story begins and ends with a prostitute (thus, the circle of life is complete). The work caused a HUGE scandal in the world of German theatre, and ended with him being acquitted after a six day obscenity trial. He was a fairly close friend of Sigmund Freud, and Freud's envy of Schnitzler's insight into the depth of the human mind, is well known. Another sure sign of his talent is that he works were later branded "Jewish filth" by one Adolph Hitler. Pretty much anything that Hitler panned was probably good stuff. He once responded to an interviewers question about the subjects he chose to write about, he replied "I write of love and death, What else is there?" That sums it up about as well as it can be, and far be it from me to try to put anymore of a twist on his writings. He was a intrepid diary keeper, keeping from from about the age of 17 until two days before his death. In it he describes numerous, numerous sexual contacts he had throughout his life, even going so far as to keep count of the number of times he and certain woman had sex. One of them did the deed with him 400 times in the year 1888. Talk about a busy man, and that was not even the only girlfriend he "pleased" that year. The work that most of our most familiar with is the novella "Dream Story," upon which the Stanley Kubrick film "Eyes Wide Shut" is based. Hey, anything with Nicole Kidman is worth a look. So, for all of those racy plays, novellas, and novels, and for being one hell of a lover boy, Arthur Schnitzler (May 15th, 1862-October 21, 1931, at the age of 59 of a brain hemorrhage), you are my (263rd) hero of the day.

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