The Paris Review

Staff Picks: Constipation, Hubris, Sincerity

Arista Alanis, “ … on down the road” (detail), oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″. From the cover of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.

I first encountered Arthur Schnitzler’s work as an undergraduate, when I read  (which was adapted by Stanley Kubrick in ). NYRB Classics has just come out with a recently unearthed Schnitzler novella, , and I was excited to relive my college days with some fin de siècle Viennese fiction. Picking up this story in the spirit of nostalgia is apropos: the narrative follows an aging man, Saxberger, who is suddenly swept up into a group of young artists. They’ve discovered a book of poetry that Saxberger published thirty years earlier, have decided he is a genius, and want to hold a reading in his honor. What ensues is Saxberger’s comedic reckoning with a life he could have had: attention from a glamorous woman, exuberant toasts, and an ardent career in art (rather than as a civil servant). The cast of characters

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