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Lieutenant Gustl by Arthur Schnitzler
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Lieutenant Gustl (original 1900; edition 2010)

by Arthur Schnitzler, Arthur Schnitzler (Author)

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251369,288 (3.5)19
Member:timoheuer
Title:Lieutenant Gustl
Authors:Arthur Schnitzler
Other authors:Arthur Schnitzler (Author)
Info:Yanus Verlag (2010), Taschenbuch
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:österreich, wien, deutsche literatur, deutschsprachige literatur, militär, ehre, tod, selbstmord, suizid

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Lieutenant Gustl by Arthur Schnitzler (1900)

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Showing 2 of 2
Gustl is rather impatient and short-tempered after suffering through an evening concert. He exchanges impolite words during the post-concert crowd and receives an insult to his honor. An insult that can only be assuaged by death -- either kill the insulter or commit suicide.

The reader listens to Gustl thoughts through it all and through the sleepless night as he worries over the impending crisis and through it's conclusion in the early hours of the next day. It is a fascinating use of interior monologue, almost a precursor of stream of consciousness. Schnitzler touches upon large themes and questions as well as the inconsequential minutia that comprise consciousness in a charmingly realistic manner. ( )
  ELiz_M | May 17, 2014 |
Lieutenant Gustl (published in English as None but the Brave) is a novella by the Austrian novelist Arthur Schnitzler. With this novella, which appeared in 1900, he was one of the first authors to experiment with, and write a story conceived entirely in monologue interieur.

The novella has very little to offer in the sense of plot or action. The story consists entirely is the ruminations of Lieutenant Gustl. The difficulty in reading and appreciating the novella lie in the ability to put up with Gustl's stream of thoughts, and understanding his thoughts and conclusions in the setting and time frame of nineteenth century Austria.

The novella opens with Gustl being bored, sitting through a performance in a Viennese concert. While collecting his coat from the cloakroom he is offended by the local baker. Unable to settle this affront there and then, he comes away feeling utterly humiliated, and spends the night ruminating on what he should have done, and how to rid himself of this blemish, seeing no other way out than to commit suicide. He decides to postpone this gruesome act until after his morning coffee in his regular cafe, where he is informed that the baker died unexpectedly the previous night from a heart attack. Utterly relieved, Gustl abandons his suicide plans.

When it appeared, in 1900, the novella caused a scandal, as it purported to show the cowardice of an officer of the Austrian Imperial and Royal Guard. Gustl's decision to commit suicide must be seen within the context of the then current military code, which prescribed suicide in such a situation, where the officer was prevented from settling the matter there-and-then, not by a duel, which would suit offenders belonging to the same aristocratic class, but by immediate action.

Readers who can put up with Gustl's depressing ruminations, may find Lieutenant Gustl an exemplary early example of a novella entirely based on interior monologue. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Apr 5, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur Schnitzlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Farese , GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simon, Richard L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Originally translated as "None But the Brave" in 1926, "Lieutenant Gustl "is one of the great Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler's most accomplished novels. Written entirely in the form of an interior monologue-the book highly influenced James Joyce in Ulysses-the novel recounts the moment-to-moment experiences of a swaggering Austrian military man. In a cloakroom argument after a comment, a baker, reacting to Gustl's rudeness, grabs the soldier's sword and orders him to have patience. Convinced he has been completely dishonored, Gustl ponders suicide and wanders through Vienna wishing for the baker's death. When he learns that the baker has, in fact, died that evening from a stroke, he immediately returns to his aggressive and hateful nature, and relishes a duel he had entered into days before.… (more)

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