Brilliant play about fin de siecle Vienna,
This review is from: La Ronde (Drama Classics) (Paperback)
'La Ronde' - the better known French title to English speakers of Arthur Schnitzler's masterpiece Reigen (German Edition) on fin de siecle Vienna - is a play portraying the city / culture / times through ten dialogues between 'lovers'. These form a circle, in which one of the participants stays constant to the next one, with a new entrant taking the place of the previous partner.
In spite of the book consisting of ten seduction / pillow talk scenes, it is neither obscene nor steamy - while late 19th century Vienna was certainly completely different to Victorian Britain (which the book portrays excellently), the play was still too avant garde for showing in theatres in its complete form until several decades later.
And it is this Vienna, or the Austro Hungarian society more broadly that the book depicts very well. The relationships, all in essence unequal socially, clearly demonstrate that in spite of the games of seduction and submission there is no one stronger partner, gender, or station in life - this balance being perhaps much more strongly present in Austro Hungary than in any of the other colonial empires of the time.
On top of this excellent portrayal of society, the book is also a pleasure to read, with witty dialogue and an excellent use of language. As the original is written in authentic Viennese dialect (and therefore not understandable for most) this is probably the best option for English speakers.