“Lost Books” is a weekly series highlighting forgotten books through the prism of Tablet Magazine’s and Nextbook.org’s archives. So blow the dust off the cover, and begin!
In 1908, Viennese playwright Arthur Schnitzler published The Road into the Open. The novel featured Schnitzler’s favored plotline—an affair between a male aristocrat and a lower class woman—but also vividly addressed contemporary anti-Semitism in the city over which Hitler’s hero, Karl Lueger, had presided as mayor.
Wesley Yang revisited the novel in 2008, writing that turn-of-the-century readers were simply not prepared for the realities Schnitzler unloaded, and most ignored the book entirely. The Road into the Open, Yang argues, remains Schnitzler’s least understood work:
In the novel, Schnitzler the former doctor lays out a clinical anatomy of the psychic scars imposed on the Jews by their liminal position as privileged outsiders in Austrian society. His characters can neither fully embrace nor wholly reject their equivocal role in an unjust and disintegrating society. They twist themselves into a fantastic array of personal and political contortions in an effort to break out of the impasse, and into the open.
Read Beginning of the End, by Wesley Yang
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.