(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE   DRAMATISTS   OF  NATURALISM                  39

The vampire in this roman a clefs is a Jewess from Odessa, 'white
as milk and black as night' - '26 Jabre hochstens war diese blutlos-
wachserne Fran, die ibren Mam verlassen hat? The hero meets her
while studying in Rome, where she is the mistress of an artist
who says she is dead - and quotes Byron's Bride of Corinth. There
is autobiographical interest too in the fantasy Die Spit^hacke (1930),
in which Hauptmann pays a tribute of piety to the old inn he was
born in, and where, too, the tragedy dramatized in Fuhrmann Hen-
schel had taken place: he sleeps there before it is pulled down, and
is visited (in dream) by the heraldic beasts which provide the
familiar signs of inns. Das Meenvunder (1934) is another fantasy
with a sailor's yarn and the South Seas and a mermaid. Das Marchen
(1941), as Hauptmann acknowledges, directly follows the lines of
Goethe's symbolic tale of the same title; how much in these closing
years of his life the musings of der alte Goethe were in his mind is
still further proved by his Mignon (1947), which was written in
1944. This, his last work to be completed (his long novel Der mm
Christophorus, which was to be the final expression of his mysticism,
remained a fragment), was written in 1944. It is again autobio-
graphical in the sense that the gist of it is made up of the inner
longing and the dreams of the writer. He who tells the story has
fled from the humdrum life of duty to the magic of the Lago
Maggiore, and here he meets a slip of a girl, a dancer who has
run away from her father's itinerant circus and is on the tramp
from inn to inn with an old beggar. They are Goethe's Mignon
and Harper come to life again; and Goethe himself is recreated,
as a kind of yokel. Mignon as a fairy being must fade out of the
trammels of reality, and as she dies it is borne in on the teller of
the tale why the incarnation of a poet's longing incorporates also
the problem of life: whether what is demonic in our nature should
prevail over what is factual.

Two of Hauptmann's works, the novel Im Wirbel der Berufung
(1936) and the play Hamlet in Wittenberg (1935), complement each
other, and, by making the problem of Hamlet serve as a symbol
of life, in some sort continue Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. Im Wirbel
der Berufmg is in substance a re-hash of the old homme incompris
matter - but this time there is a noble princess (of the very duo-
decimo sort) as well as the inevitable intellectually independent
little minx (this time not quite red-haired - 's/e hat einen Schvall
goldbrauner Haare*). Both ladies have the artistic temperament, but