University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > German Graduate Research Seminar > On the function of Georg von Wergenthin as ‘reflector figure’ in Arthur Schnitzler’s novel Der Weg ins Freie

On the function of Georg von Wergenthin as ‘reflector figure’ in Arthur Schnitzler’s novel Der Weg ins Freie

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The question of the main theme in Schnitzler’s first novel Der Weg ins Freie has been raised by various literary critics. Two storylines seem to be developed rather independently of each other – the so called love story between the young Gentile composer Georg and the middle-class daughter Anna and a complex picture of the Viennese Jewish bourgeoisie and its controversial discussions of Anti-Semitism and Zionism. This paper seeks to examine the function of the male non-Jew Georg as the main character of the novel, focusing on the question of his role as ‘reflector figure’: Both the relationship to Anna and the numerous discussions between Jews and non-Jews on questions of Jewry, anti-Semitism and Zionism are described through his perspective. ‘Reflector figure’ is meant to describe both, Georg’s active reflections as well as the rather passive ‘specular’ function of his character.

This talk is part of the German Graduate Research Seminar series.

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