La Ronde (Drama Classics) Paperback – 1 Nov 2007
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The characters of Schnitzler's play talk endlessly of love, but it's sex they are after, and in the end, it is their search for it that spins them off a life-long dance. The moment he finishes with the young maid, the soldier returns to the dance hall. The young wife returns to her husband after her dalliance with the young man. The Count surely is reunited with his friend Louis, uncertain whether or not anything happened with the sleepy prostitute, who reminds him of someone he has met long ago. Was he once the young soldier of the first scene, completing the circle? In the end, Schnitzler's world is not so much an immoral one as it is a society of dissatisfied beings. Rain Taxi Review Of Books --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1930), the Austrian author and doctor, is probably best known for his plays 'La Ronde' and 'Liebelei'. His early years were marked by a particular interest in the emergent science of psychology and his writings anticipate Freud's psychopathological theories. Stephen Unwin founded the English Touring Theatre in 1993.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
It takes the form of ten duologues, opening with a seduction scene between 'the prostitute' and 'the soldier'. They flirt, argue, lie, and finally have sex. The scene ends there, and the following is between the soldier and 'the chambermaid', who is in turn seduced by the soldier. She goes on to seduce the 'young gentleman' in the next scene; he seduces 'the young wife'...etc. The play goes round in a 'sexual merry-go-round' until we eventually meet the prostitute again.
It is a story of sexual promiscuity, about the 'facade' of seduction, and the danger of confusing sex with love. It also presents an interesting idea about the nature of sex: that it is sex, not death, that is the great 'leveller' - this is a play where chambermaids sleep with gentlemen, prostitutes with counts.
It is also, of course, brilliantly funny, sharply observed, and always pacey drama.