With Peter Altenberg and Hugo von Hofmansthal, Arthur Schnitzler was a major modernist of the period of Viennese intellectual activity from 1890 to 1930. Born in 1862 and trained as a physician, Schnitzler increasingly came to be influenced by the psychoanalysis centered around Sigmund Freud. Ultimately he gave up medicine to devote himself to writing brilliant psychological portraits of the Viennese bourgeois and upper classes of the fin du siècle.
Schnitzler´s most famous works include his dramas, Anatol (1893), Liebelei (1896), and The Green Cockatoo (1899), and the fictions The Lonely Way (1904), The Road Into the Open (1908), Casanova's Homecoming (1918), and Dream Story (1926). Lieutenant Gustl, published in 1901, is among Schnitzler's major short works, and is important as one of the first examples in this century of "stream of consciousnesss" narration. James Joyce has admitted to have been influenced by this book in writing Ulysses.
A tour de force of modernist point-of-view, Lieutenant Gustl is highly critical of Austria's militarism, and resulted in anti-Semitic attacks on Schnitzler when it was first published.