Book review entries
February 02, 2005
I just read Reigen by Arthur Schnitzler… A very strange play indeed. It starts off with a prostitute and a soldier, the next scene is with the soldier and a maid, then the maid and a young man, the young man and the young lady, the young lady with her husband, the husband with a pretty girl, the pritty girl with a poet, the poet with the actress, the actress with a count and it ends with the count and the prostitute again. A complete circle of infidelity and sex!
It was written 1896/97, and I can see why it was impossible to perform the play until way into the 20th century! It is basically about people having sex – of course the juicy bits have been replaced with "——-" or Gedankenstriche as the Germans call it.
I talked to one of my friends from my course. She told me the book was very sad because none of the characters really know love, and none of them are happy. At first I just found the book hillarious, but now I am starting to realise that my friend was right. It is very sad indeed! They all have sex, but lack intimacy, friendship, happiness… All the things you want in a relationship. Also, several of the characters keep asking their sex-partner Hast du mich lieb? Hast du mich gern? They lack security.
So I went from giggling to getting very thoughtful, hence blogging about it to get it out of my system ever so slightly before starting the second play by Schnitzler: Liebelei – The title suggests that it might not be much better in terms of cheerfulness!
A good play though! Can be recommended – especially if you have a thing for the Austrian, or should I say Viennese dialect.