Fräulein Else

by Arthur Schnitzler
read by Senta Berger

Nineteen-year-old Else is holidaying in the Dolomites when a desperate letter from her mother reaches her: Else's father is apparently about to become bankrupt, and she alone can still save them by persuading a family acquaintance, the art dealer Dorsday, to lend them 30,000 guilders. Else suspects that there might be some strings attached to this loan. Her suspicions are confirmed, because Dorsday promises to give her the money only if she undresses in front of him. This request provokes a storm of inner conflicts in the young woman, from which she extricates herself by making a surprising decision, although this leads her to the limits of her middle class existence.

In this novella, written in 1924, Arthur Schnitzler employed the inner monologue as a means to describe Else's conflicting emotions with great psychological precision. Schnitzler's genre-defining narrative technique not only makes his protagonist's consecutive thoughts understandable but also turns a spotlight on the contemporary bourgeoisie's moral depravity.

Senta Berger has appeared in well over 100 films; she has also performed at the Burgtheater, the Thalia Theatre and the Schillertheater and is one of the most popular TV actors in the German-speaking countries. She has won numerous prizes and awards for her work, including a Golden Globe, the Bundesfilmpreis, a 'Silver Bear' at the Berlin International Film Festival and a Bambi Award.