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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

HUMORISTS,   SATIRISTS,   SATANISTS,  VISIONARIES    65

(a journal which by the way owes its inception, in 1896, and
growth to M. G. Conrad's Munich circle), is best known for his
comedy Moral (1908), in some sort a rehandling with a crass
Bavarian colouring of the Tartuffe theme. Thoma's L,ottchens Ge-
burtstag (1911) follows up the theme, tongue in cheek, of Wede-
kind's Amblings Erwachen: a solemn professor insists that children
should be taught the facts of life; and when Lottchen, the daughter
of a colleague, has her twentieth birthday and is on the point of
getting engaged he gets her father, by the exercise of moral pres-
sure, to enlighten the couple. The father finds that the young man,
being a zoologist by profession, is already informed of the process
in question; while the sly minx of a daughter has actually, unbe-
known to all, gone through a course in midwifery. Of Thoma's
short stories Lausbubengeschichten (1905-7) belong to the most enter-
taining renderings of Bavarian life and habits; Altaicb (1918) and
Tante Frieda (1906) are in the same vein, while Andreas Vost (1906)
and Der Wittiber (1911) are realistic peasant novels.

Just as we expect British humorists to be on the staff of Punch',
so German humour has been nourished by the Wit%bldttery and
for that reason hails mostly from Munich. This holds good too of
WILHELM BUSCH (1832-1908), the humorist par excellence of the
previous generation but facile princeps - at least so far as pure
humour is concerned - to the end of his life. It was while con-
tributing as an artist to Fliegende Blatter at Munich that he began to
write his humorous verse; this has a double base - Schopenhauer's
pessimism and a reaction, natural in Munich, to what must have
seemed the pretty-pretty polish of Paul Heyse and the Munich
School. The humour depends quite as much on Busch's quaint
illustrations - a few black lines bring out the comicality of his
figures - as on the drollery of the rhymes, and his caricature fastens
on fixed types: the poet (Dicbter Bablamm, 1883), the painter (Makr
Klecksel, 1884), the hypocritical wench (Diefromme Helem, 1871).
In Die fromme Helene as in Der heilige Antomus (1870) and "Pater
Filucius (1873) his antipathy to religion gives his satire a certain
nas tines s.

Parody such as Renaissance wits loved is the Horatius fravestitus.
(1897) of CHRISTIAN MORGENSTERN (1871-1914), another Munich
man (his father was a painter there). Morgenstern's humour owes
nothing whatever to tradition or schools of any sort; it is sui
generis > if ever anything was. His first book of humorous verse,