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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

HUMORISTS,   SATIRISTS,   SATANISTS,   VISIONARIES     57

the crash comes and he is cornered she accepts the monetarily
higher bidder who takes his place as the directing spirit of the
gorgeous Palace of Pleasure (Feenpalasf) which, by an ingenious
flotation, he had planned to gild the life of the masses. That the
horrible masses should be horrified by the discovery that their
benefactor is a scamp is part of life's joke; but that the woman he
loves should be as much a scamp as he is is tragically comic -
'Lacben Sie doch, meine Herren* he says in another play - and the
injunction is revealing - 'dies istja alks sehr tragisch\ He lifts his
revolver to shoot himself, but lays it down with the remark that
life is a slide ('Das 'Leben ist sine 'RufscbbabnT}\ high and low, up
and down, a scamp has always the chance of realizing his dreams
and ideals.

The self-portraiture has less appeal in Zensur (1908); in Oaha
(1908) it is repulsive - the titular hero is a formless monstrosity
who is wheeled into the editorial rooms of the Munich comic
journal Simplicissimus, which had printed much of Wedekind's
work; the creature is deaf and dumb and the only sound he can
make is Oaha! but, such as he is, his wit has made the reputation
of the journal. That women flit round any notoriety as moths flit
round a flame ^Wir Kunstiersind ein Luxusartikel der Bourgeoisie*} is
the theme &£DerKammersdnger (1897), a short sharp scene showing
a tenor beset by nymphomaniac admirers; as he has to catch a train
he dismisses the last comer somewhat rudely and comes across
her dead body as he leaves the room. Mit alien Hunden gehefctf, the
middle one-act play ofSMoss Wetterstein (1910), would shock any
psychiatrist by its refinement of the psychology of the lust murder:
a man threatens a woman that he will give information about a
crime committed by her husband unless she gives herself to him;
she detects his diseased state of mind, and so tortures him by the
way she offers him her naked body that he shoots himself. Fran^iska
(1911) is Wedekind's version of the Faust theme: the heroine
makes a pact with a theatrical agent that she will drain the cup of
joy to the dregs, which she does, with the inclusion of a Lesbian
marriage: nevertheless, like Shaw's Mrs Warren, she ends as a
decent woman.

Wedekind's pathetic adoration of the female form gives some
justification (if obsessional mania is allowed for - and those feel-
ings which have always gone to the making of poetry) for his
short story Mine-Haha oder uber die korperliche Er^iehtmgjunger Mad-