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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

12                     MODERN   GERMANf   LITERATURE

which was to be more drastically pilloried in Sudermann's Sodom
Ends and Heinrich Mann's novel Im SMaraffenland\ and it was
L'Arronge who first, though with a different moral, laid hold of
the contrast between Vorder- und Hinterhaus and created a new
type of play which culminated in Sudermann's Die Ehre. In the
history of the German stage L'Arronge will always figure pro-
minently. The great work of his life was his management of Das
Deutsche Theater. L'Arronge gradually worked out his schemes
of reform. He combined the scenic splendour of the Meiningers
with the noble declamation, the cult of poetry in the spoken word,
for which the Burg Theatre at Vienna had, under Heinrich Laube's
management from 1850 onwards, become famous. He revived
Shakespeare and Goethe and Schiller, and took down from the
library shelves the noble dramatic poems of the later classics,
Kleist and Grillparzer and Hebbel, and gave them at last a definite
and enduring place in the life of the nation.

With the rejuvenation of the stage came better and before long

great acting. L'Arronge discovered and trained talent. Joseph

Kainz (1858-1910) and Agnes Sorma (1865-1927) found in him

their first patron. How deeply the brilliant actors of the next

decades influenced literature it would take too long to show, but

a few words might be said of Joseph Kainz. He created a style of

acting which was entirely his own; he owed absolutely nothing

to tradition. Perhaps he followed a hint of Richard Wagner, who

urged that the most essential reform of German acting was to

double the speed of delivery. But though Kainz tore along at a

furious pace, with absolutely no punctuation, his accentuation was

so clear that never a word was lost. There was no rhetoric in his

speaking, and if the dramatist had put it there he eliminated it.

He worked in chiaroscuro; he spoke in dull tones to enhance the

light of the passionate moments. In Ibsen's Ghosts, for instance,

he was laconically conversational, and to spectators accustomed

to the old school of acting seemed only to act in the last tragic

moments; there he was overpowering. But though his speaking

might be the grey language of everyday life, his gesture was always

eloquent. Not that he threw himself about or made a windmill of

his arms; gesture was to him the harmony of movement with the

mind, the trailing rhythms of Oswald's diseased limbs in Ghosts,

the tortured irresolution of Haupttnann's bell-founder, the lyric

haste of Romeo. His flexible frame has been compared to a sword,