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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

NEO-ROMANTIC   AND   AUSTRIAN   DRAMATISTS        231

physical and moral. Life is thus a fermenting swamp, and the haze
above is the illusion of happiness or beauty, the dream over the
hopeless reality. Another Viennese dramatist, Grillparzer, had re-
presented life as a dream and dream as life; and so does Schnitzler.
His leit-motif is that life is an actor's make-believe. That make-
believe and life flow into each other is the idea of one of the most
effective of his playlets, Der grime Kakadu (i 899): French aristocrats
meet nightly in a low tavern to watch actors (a new sensation)
making believe that they have committed atrocious crimes; on
the night the Bastille is taken they still, with death at their throats,
think the frightfulness is play-acting; here indeed the dream is
life. There is the same interlacing of life and dream in Paracelsus
(i 897). The first of modern doctors returns to Basel and is brought
home by the armourer Cyprian, who, being the more solid man,
had years before been given the hand of Justina, whom they both
loved. A noble youth, Anselm, has been making love to the buxom
wife, but she has laughed at him. Paracelsus with his hypnotic
power puts her in a trance, in which she dreams that she has given
herself to Anselm. Anatol, promised that the secret life of his mis-
tress should be revealed to him in a hypnotic trance, had declined
the experience: he is content with illusion . . . Cyprian too has
been living in illusion: it was when he was at the tavern, the dream
says, that Justina had fallen; that is, he had neglected her in his
belief that all her nature needed was home and (now and then)
husband. She has not sinned; except in the dream . . . But is the
life her husband, perfect Burger as he is, asks her to live, the life
of her soul ? This sanative scrutiny of connubial neglect recurs
throughout Schnitzler's work as an equal source of tragedy with
that custom of the country the Verhciltnis. Paracelsus ends with a
kind of epilogue by the doctor who has, as the directing force
above them, made these marionettes act:

fir war em Spiel! Was sollf es anders sein?
Was ist nicht Spiel, das wir aufErden treiben,
Uttd scbien es noch so gross und tief %u sein? . . .
Mit Menschenseelen spiele ich. Em Sinn
Wird nur von dem gefunden^ der ihn sucht.
Es ftiessen ineinander Traum und Wachen^
Wahrheit und "Luge. Sicherbeit ist nirgend.
Wir mssen nlchts von anderti> nichts von ms;
Wir spiekn immer, wer es weiss, ist klug.