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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

60                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

written specially for it, had huge sales - Deutsche Chansons (1900),
with a persuasive preface by Bierbaum.

ERNST FREIHERR VON WOLZOGEN (185 5-1934) - he Was of that

family which plays a part in the story of Schiller's life - had ample
versatility but no depth. His humour or satire is that of bold
strokes with no nuances; it is rather as a literary record that his
comedy Das 'Lumpengesindel (1892), with its picture of the Harts
and their friends, keeps its place on the critic's shelf, while his
novel Der Kraft-Mayr (1897) is read for its portraiture of Liszt
and Wagner and its recreation of old Weimar (without the family
affection for the place of Helene Bohlau's iLatsmadelgeschichten).
Die Kinder der Excellen^ a social satire, was popular both as a novel
(1888) and a comedy, while his novel Das dritte Geschlecht (1899)
continues that persiflage of the cnew woman' which we find already
in Paul Heyse's poem Fraueneman^ipation (I865).1

If popularity and sales were a safe criterion, OTTO JULIUS BIER-
BAUM (1865-1910) would rank as one of the first writers of the
period. He is the type of the gifted "University scholar - in Berlin
he studied even Chinese - who takes to journalism or light litera-
ture much as a prostitute takes to her trade; and if there is poig-
nancy in his work it is because through his extravagant mockery
of his heroes there runs - as in the case of Wedekind - a conscious-
ness of frustration (in Bierbaum's case, by too easy success, or by
the low instincts of his reading public). His lyric verse2 - that
which he wrote from 18 8 5 to 1900 is collected in Irrgarten der Uebe
(1901) - is often delightfol. It is palpably imitative; but the imi-
tation brings out the charm of the model; as, for instance, in his
collection Nemt> Frouwe, disen Kran^ (i 894), in which he recaptures
the light lilt and the over-sweet sentiment of the Minnesingers:

Iif ist ein TLeihen geschlungen,
Em JLeihen auf dem grunen Plan.,
Und ist ein "Lied gesungen,
Das hebt mit Sehnen an>
Mit Sebnen, also susse,
Dass Weinen sich mit JLachen paart:
Hebt, hebt im Tan^ die Fusse,
Aufkn^eliche Art.

1 Paul Heyse continues the theme in his short story Abenteuer tines Blau-
stmmpfchms (1896).                  2 Erkbte Gedichte (1892) was his first volume.