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Bertha Garlan   By: (1862-1931)

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Arthur Schnitzler's Bertha Garlan is a novel that delves into the complex web of human desires, relationships, and societal expectations. Set in Vienna, the narrative revolves around the eponymous character, Bertha Garlan, and her struggles to navigate the constraints imposed on her by society.

Schnitzler's writing style is nothing short of remarkable, capturing the nuances of human emotions and the intricacies of interpersonal dynamics with astute precision. The author masterfully explores themes of sexuality, identity, and personal freedom, highlighting the challenges faced by women in a patriarchal society.

What sets Bertha Garlan apart is its unflinching portrayal of the human psyche. Through Bertha's journey, Schnitzler exposes the inner conflicts and desires that lie beneath the surface of every individual, highlighting the often contradictory nature of human behavior. The characters in the novel are vividly depicted, each grappling with their own personal dilemmas and desires that ultimately shape their relationships.

At its heart, Bertha Garlan is a novel about the quest for personal fulfillment and the struggle to break free from societal norms. Schnitzler challenges the reader to question the established conventions of his time, prompting a reflection on the timeless themes of choice, self-discovery, and autonomy.

While the novel is set in the early 20th century, its themes and messages remain relevant today. The questions it raises about individual agency and societal expectations continue to resonate in our modern world. Schnitzler's ability to capture the complexities of human nature makes Bertha Garlan a compelling read that transcends time.

However, readers should be forewarned that the novel's exploration of sexuality and unconventional relationships may not be suitable for all audiences. Schnitzler addresses taboo topics with frankness and candor, pushing the boundaries of what was considered acceptable in his time.

In conclusion, Bertha Garlan is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that delves deep into the human psyche, challenging societal norms and expectations. Arthur Schnitzler's skillful storytelling and exploration of timeless themes make this book a must-read for anyone interested in a nuanced examination of the human condition.

First Page:




She was walking slowly down the hill; not by the broad high road which wound its way towards the town, but by the narrow footpath between the trellises of the vines. Her little boy was with her, hanging on to her hand and walking all the time a pace in front of her, because there was not room on the footpath for them to walk side by side.

The afternoon was well advanced, but the sun still poured down upon her with sufficient power to cause her to pull her dark straw hat a little further down over her forehead and to keep her eyes lowered. The slopes, at the foot of which the little town lay nestling, glimmered as though seen through a golden mist; the roofs of the houses below glistened, and the river, emerging yonder amongst the meadows outside the town, stretched, shimmering, into the distance. Not a quiver stirred the air, and it seemed as if the cool of the evening was yet far remote.

Bertha stooped for a moment and glanced about her. Save for her boy, she was all alone on the hillside, and around her brooded a curious stillness. At the cemetery, too, on the hilltop, she had not met anybody that day, not even the old woman who usually watered the flowers and kept the graves tidy, and with whom Bertha used often to have a chat. Bertha felt that somehow a considerable time had elapsed since she had started on her walk, and that it was long since she had spoken to anyone... Continue reading book >>

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