Theater: Seductive Self-Delusion the Loves of Anatol

by Arthur Schnitzler

Romantic love can evoke tenderness and gentle devotion. But in many people it can also trigger a frenzy of possessiveness and mistrust. They believe their infatuation entitles them to impose nonnegotiable demands on desired partners; if disappointed they lash out, hoping to leave emotional wreckage in their wake. This adolescent view of love, celebrated in popular songs and puerile soap operas, is the besetting sin of the title character in The Loves of Anatol, a reworking of Arthur Schnitzler's comedy of manners set in turn-of- the-century Vienna. To Anatol, the sweetest part of any affair is not an affectionate embrace but...

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