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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

238                  MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

till she returns, a penitent. Vollmoeller's flippant adaptation of
Go2zi's lurandot (1911), with the three riddles obscenely trans-
muted, was produced, in Max Reinhardt's gorgeous Berlin setting,
by Sir George Alexander in London. - ERNST HARDT (1876-1947),
after World War I director of the National Theatre in Weimar, also
began with Georgean verse (Aus den Tagen des Knaben^ 1904), but
went over to drama. His Tantris der Narr (1908) owed its success
to the macabre thrill taken over from the more primitive form of
the legend: King Mark delivers Isolde naked to the lepers. Gudrun
(1911) also provided a shock: the heroine loves, not the betrothed
from whom she is snatched, but the more dashing warrior who
abducts her; this reading of her mind can as a matter of fact be
read between the lines of the old epic. Schirm und Gertraude (1913)
is a travesty of the medieval legend of der Graf von Chicken, the
crusader who is permitted by the Pope to have two wives, the
Saracen woman who freed him from captivity and the one he had
left at home (see pp. 27, 270).

The robustiousness and reek of mother earth that are lacking in
the work of the Viennese aesthetic dramatists give a racy flavour
to the dramas of KARL SCHONHERR (1869-1943), the full-blooded
continuator of Anzengruber. Whereas Anzengruber was a man
from Vienna who recorded the ways of Tyrolese peasants as an
outsider, Schonherr was born and reared out at Axams in the
Tyrol, though he settled as a practising doctor in Vienna. He finds
his dialect-speaking characters in the same mountain villages that
are Anzengruber's world, and he, too, mixes old-world sentiment-
ality and ruthless reality. In his first plays there is more of senti-
ment; in Sonnwendtag (1902), as in Sudermann's Jobannisfeuer, an old
pagan festival with its pagan spirit clashes with religious narrow-
ness of faith; there is an anti-Catholic ending, with the image of
the Virgin, whom the action proves to be impotent to save, sym-
bolically abandoned in the home that must be left behind. Familie
(1905) attempts strict psychological depiction, and Das Kbnigreich
(1908) is another experiment, this time in the romantic Marchen-
drama^ with a contrast of the two worlds of aristocratic luxury and
innocence in poverty: the devil disguised as a courtier tempts and
destroys the children of the court fool With Erde (1908) Schon-
herr revealed his full powers; the comedy is grim indeed in its
black lines as of an old woodcut. The tenseness of the action and
(for a German audience) the involved humour depend on the