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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

j2                    MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

Carl Hauptmann's novels: IsmaelFriedmann (1912). Ismael Fried-
mann is the son of a Jew and the blond daughter of a clergyman;
and this racial mixture is responsible for his physical inhibitions,
which drive him to suicide. The discussion of the race question
gave this novel prominence, in spite of the fact that the racial
blend gives the hero an exceptional mind as well as a 'gespaltenes
Wesetf.

Two dramatists, Georg Hirschfeld and Max Dreyer, scored
notable successes as disciples (to begin with at least) of Gerhart
Hauptmann. GEORG HIRSCHFELD (1873-1943) at the age of twenty-
three made a hit with Die Mutter (1896); his later work (Agnes
Jordan, 1898) did not fulfil the promise of his elegant youth. His
note is a delicate pencilling of character and wistful mood-painting.
MAX DREYER (1862-1946), a productive but glaringly imitative dra-
matist with a keen eye on the demands of the moment, began with
uncompromising naturalism; his Drei (1892) rehandles Ibsen's
problem of The Doll's House (a Nora-like wife leaves her Tesman-
like husband because he suspects the Hausfreund of being, like
Ibsen's Dr Rank, a cock in clover); the heroine of Winterschlaf
(1895) loves a Socialist, is deflowered by "hsxfianct, whom she does
not love, and strangles herself with her pigtails. The success of
his following plays Dreyer owed to manipulation of intrigue of
the compromise variety. Academically his interest today lies in his
symptomatic handling of motifs: thus Der Probekandidat (1900) is
the most definitely Darwinian play of the period, and another fore-
runner of the 'Lebrer- und Schulerstucke\ The hero is on trial at a
Gymnasium as a teacher of biology, and lectures to the sixth form
on Darwinian lines. The headmaster and the ecclesiastical authori-
ties are furious, and the iconoclast is forced, under threat of dis-
missal (which will mean losing the girl he is engaged to, the
daughter of one of the governors of the school), to lecture to his
class in the presence of his colleagues and of these authorities.
Instead of recanting, however, he sticks to his guns. There is
biographical interest in the play: Dreyer had himself been a theo-
logical student; and in this Tenden^drama he has the merit of
claiming for the schoolmaster what Anzengruber in Der Pfarrer
von Kirchfeldlc^A. claimed for the clergyman - the liberation of the
individual from the shackles of officialdom. In another school-play
of Dreyer's, Die ^Ifeprufung (1932), a schoolboy and a teacher
love the same girl. DBS Pfarrers Tochter von Streladorf(i<)o<)) varies