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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE   DRAMATISTS  OF  NATURALISM                  5!

was new in the play was the psychology of adolescence: these
young people awakening to the facts of life expressed their feelings
in language not unnatural but charged with poetry; and there was
an air of reality and inevitability in the events, which in the girl's
case might be explained by the laws of heredity. Other plays which
reproduce the atmosphere of Polish West Prussia - Halbe's home-
land - are Mutter Erde (1897), Haus ^.osenhagen (1901), and Der
Strom (1903). In Der Strom the climax is once again the breaking
of the Vistula ice, this time as the symbol of a family catastrophe.
Halbe's other plays have little significance, though his literary
comedy Die Insel der Seligen (1908) has satirical portraits of Peter
Hille and Wedekind. His Jahrhundertwende: Geschichte meines luebens
iS$)-i9i4 (1935) is important for the inner history of naturalism.
To Hauptmann's school belong the plays of his brother, CARL
HAUPTMANN (1858-1921); he was prone to mould the matter and
form of his plays (as indeed his brother was, but as he evolved)
to the dramatic moods of the moment; thus he progresses from
raw naturalism (Marianne-, 1894; Die Waldkute, 1895; Ephraims
TSreite^ 1898 - in Silesian dialect) to neo-Romanticism (Die Berg-
scbmiede, 1902, a symbolist Marchendrama\ Des Konigs Harfe, 1903),
In his trilogy Die goldmen Strassen (1916-18) he even moves close
to Wedekind, while in stark contrast his Der abtrunnlge Zar (1920)
is a ILegendenspiel. His novel Mathilde (1902), the heroine of which,
a factory lass, arrives at a broad contentment in the humdrum
existence of her class, is naturalistic; Einhart der LaMer (1907)
follows the type of the Rildungsroman^ but continues the develop-
ment to the death of the hero, with details which fit in with the
biography of Gerhart Hauptmann. Wolfram von Eschenbach's
Par^ival (often called the first of the 'Bildungsromane) has been des-
cribed (adequately to friend or foe) as the story of a perfect fool;
and the idea of a simple soul winding his devious and dubious
way through the labyrinths of a mysterious world to the clear
heights of contentment is the kernel of Einhart der L,achler> who
never loses the smile of his simple nature. Einhart's father had
married the adopted daughter of a rich middle-class family - really
the daughter of a gipsy; and the boy feels an urge to follow the
gipsies* caravans, but controls his impulses and by the pursuit of
art becomes 'Einhart der Meister* and at last 'Einhart der Weise*.
The Darwinian doctrine ,too, goes to the making of another of
1 =Brigitte. This Bawrnst&& is in the manner of Anzengruber.