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THE  DRAMATISTS  OF  NATURALISM                  , ,

the theme of Sudermann's Heimat: the daughter of a clergyman
has given herself in the excitement of the Johannisnacht (like the
heroine of Sudermann's Johannisfeuer) to the son of a wealthy man:
after the seduction she weighs him up and decides that he is unfit
to be her husband, though he is prepared to jeopardise his career
by marrying her; and the old parson agrees that she is right. The
title shapes itself on Burger's famous ballad Des Pfarrers Tochter
von Taubenheim. Of Dreyer's lighter plays the rococo comedy Das
Tal des Lebens (1902) has that piquancy of theme for which he
depended as a comedy writer: it is a jest on the impotence of
reigning families. The village concerned is so called because of
the fertility of its inhabitants. On the other hand, the ruling prince
of the country has failed to produce an heir, and there is every
prospect that Prussia will absorb another duodecimo state when
he dies, especially as a rejuvenating elixir has no effect; however
the Markgrafin approves of the sentinel who stands at her door,,
a boy from the Vale of Life; and in due course the elixir is under-
stood to have acted.