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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

NEC-ROMANTIC   AND   AUSTRIAN  DRAMATISTS        241

stood she is forgiven and admitted to the life-order of women' -
they who bear any fate when the eyes of a child fall upon them -
by a sister she had before despised as the mother of illegitimate
children. In Das Nacbfolge-Christi-Spiel (lyz-f) a Styrian nobleman,
in the days of the Turkish wars, is nailed to a cross by a band of
marauders and is so moved by his 'imitation of Christ' that he
prays for his tormentors, and thus converts them. With Die Sieben
gegen Tbeben (1932) Alell turns to blank verse to blend the Seven
against Thebes of Aeschylus with the Antigone of Sophocles; this
play was overpraised as a counterblast to the Freudian defacement
of ancient Greek plays by Hofmannsthal. Das Spiel von den deutschen
Abnen (1935), though the happy ending is still brought about by
a miracle - the ancestors of a farmer return, after 180 years in the
grave, to save a farmer whose wife hankers after the evil life of
towns - is intermediary between the mystery plays proper and
those in which there is a more classic conflict of human passions.
Mell at last makes a bold bid for the laurels of the classic dramatist
with Der Nibekmge Not (1942), in rough-hewn verse of four beats
to the line. Of this the first part was produced during the war,
and was proclaimed as a Teutonic epic drama worthy of the heroic
spirit of the day. The second part, Kriemhilds Racbe (1951), is
generally admitted to fall off because the spirit of it has something
of the preaching quality of the peasant moralities, wiiich are, in
sober truth, Hell's province by right of conquest. As a lyric poet
he sings the revolving seasons of Styria in Das bekrdn^te Jabr
(1911) and joy in earth in Gedicbte (1919). Gedicbte (1928) is a
selection.