In Arthur Schnitzler’s poignant novella, Casanova’s Return to Venice, the famed gambler, adventurer and seducer Casanova has been reduced to melancholy, unhappily civilised by age. His yearning for Venice, the city of his birth, grew so intense that, like a wounded bird slowly circling downwards in its death flight, he began to move in ever-narrowing circles. One of Schnitzler’s most poignant evocations of the passing of time and the ironies of sentiment and love, Casanova’s Return to Venice tells the story of an ageing Casanova’s desperate desire to return to the city he truly loves after a life of exile; a desire which is contrasted with his still-libidinous and sensuous – yet weary – pursuit of women, money and prestige. Arthur Schnitzler’s Casanova’s Return to Venice is translated from the German by Ilsa Barea, and published by Pushkin Press. Arthur Schnitzler was born in Vienna in 1862. The son of a prominent doctor, he worked first as a physician and then, following his father’s death, as a writer of novels, plays and short stories. His work fearlessly and profoundly explores everything from sexuality to anti-Semitism with an intense understanding of human motives and weaknesses.
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