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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

NATURALISM                                      IJ

which laboriously produces the impression of every ticking second
of time; it is a minute notation of trains of thought and sensuous im-
pressions which points forward to psycho-analysis and the 'stream
of consciousness' novel of recent years. Papa Hamlet owes its im-
portance in the history of literature principally to the fact that
Gerhart Hauptmann in his first play, which was dedicated to Bjarne
P. Holmsen, 'dem konsequentesten Realisten\ copied the externals of
its style, i.e. Sekundenstil.

In the first of these three tales, Papa Hamlet, there was so much
dialogue that it approached drama. Holz and Schlaf then provided
their model for a naturalistic style of drama in Die Familie Selicke
(i 890), which was staged by the Freie Buhne, and of which Theodor
Fontane said: 'Here the roads part; here old and new separate/
A father comes home drunk and goes to sleep on the sofa while
his family are watching by the bedside of a sick child. The child
dies; the daughter has to tell a theological student, the lodger,
that she cannot marry him, as she will be needed at home to keep
the peace between her drunken father and suffering mother. The
language is in the Berlin dialect and the strictest SekundenstiL

After this the collaboration between HoLz and Schlaf ceased.
Holz scored one popular success in a play which was not tied to a
theory - a drama of school life, Traumulus (1905), written in col-
laboration with Otto Jerschke. The action - a grammar-school
boy has an affair with an actress - was topical: the straining of the
educational machine in Germany had led to an epidemic of suicides
among schoolchildren, and the problem of educational methods,
both as regards teacher and taught, became so acute that there
was repeated discussion of it in literature.1 Three other plays re-
lated in theme are Wedekind's Fruhlings Erwachen (1891), Otto
Ernst's Flachsmann als Er^ieher (1901), and Georg Kaiser's Rektor
Kleist (1905). Holz planned a magnum opus, a cycle of twelve plays;
of these he completed So^ialaristokraten (i 896), a literary satire (the
characters transparently stand for notables of the literary Boheme
of Berlin, Bruno Wille, John Henry Mackay, Przybyszewski); Son-
nenfinsternis (1908), the tragedy of the artist; and Ignorabimus (1912),
the tragedy of the poet. In these later plays Holz sets himself the

1 There are distressing pictures of school life in Thomas Mann's 'Buddm-
brooks, Heinrich Mann's Professor Unrat, Friedrich Huch's Pefer Michel> Freund
He/n (1902) by Emil Strauss, J. C. Heer's J0Łg0//, Hermann Hesse's Unterm JEW,
and To vote's Frdulem Grisebacb (1909, girls' school).