Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats


A he beginning of the century a reversion from both the
naturalistic and the neo-romantic drama to the clear-cut
outlines of classical form \vas championed in theory and
practice by Paul Ernst, Wilhelm von Scholz, and Samuel Lublinski.
The theoretical writings concerned are Paul Ernst's Der Weg ^ur
Form (1906), Wilhelm von Scholz's Gedanken <%um Drama (1905),
and Samuel Lublinski's Die Bilan^ der Moderne (1904) and Ausgang
der Moderne (1908). These writers demand a return to blank verse,
the three unities, inevitability of the action; and, while they deny
the relativity of morality which the naturalists had proclaimed,
they define meticulously their own conception of the tragic hero.
Restitution of the hero is common to both impressionism and
neo-classicism; but whereas to the impressionists the hero is for
the most part interesting by reason of his pathological and mental
'otherness' (Andersseiri) to the neo-classicists he is the Aristotelian
superman impelled to destruction by some fault which is an in-
evitable part of his own towering greatness. The neo-classicists for
this reason find their themes mostly in history or legend; and each
dramatist interprets his theme in the light of his own particular
system of ethics. Hebbel, not Schiller, is the model; and therefore
these neo-classic dramas have three main characteristic features:
(i) the more closely the dramatists can apply the Aristotelian tech-
nique by contriving the strictest unity of action and the most
drastic simplification of the plot, the more perfect they consider
their tragedies to be; (2) their characters are philosophically aware
of their doom and expound their Weltanschauung, probably in
monologues, in uncompromising philosophic jargon; nor does it
matter if the expression of this interpretation of life be grotesquely
anachronistic, as, for instance, when in Paul Ernst's Brunhild and
Chriemhild^it protagonists and even the wakeman on the wall and