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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

NEO-CLASSIC ISM                                 261

his theoretic insistence on the philosophic shaping of drama,
show no consistency of views: thus in the Arthurian comedy
Rjtter Lanval (1905) there is clear teaching that determinism is a
prison contrived by belief or fear, but a prison from which the
individual may free himself as Merlin does, in the play, from the
imaginary tower in which he is immured writh Viviane. It might
of course be urged that comedy does not need the heroic philo-
sophy of tragedy.

WILHELM vox SCHOLZ (1874- ) was born in Berlin as the only
son of Adolf von Scholz, who later was Bismarck's Minister of
Finance. In his memoirs. Erne ]ahrhundertwende^ he has related what
he owes to Berlin, where he was brought up, and to the Lake of
Constance, on the shores of which, at Schloss Seeheim, he lived.
For six years he was the Director of the Court Theatre at Stuttgart,
and for two years President of the Dichterakademie established by
the Nazi regime. In drama he made a beginning with a one-act
play, Mem Furst (1898), a dialogue, naturalistic in its ideology but
not in style, between a young ruling prince and his old tutor, who
has been dismissed from his sinecure because of a speech he has
made in a Socialist gathering; the tutor expounds the theory that
either prince or people must sponsor revolutionary innovations.
DerBesiegte (1898) belongs to that group of Maeterlinckian playlets
of which HofmannsthaFs Der Tod und der Tod is the crowrn and
glory. The central idea is the coming of Death: here he is a wander-
ing knight who bears on his escutcheon a crimson rose on a sable
ground - love and death. What enfeebles the play is that instead
of concentration on one clear idea - as in Maeterlinck's Ulntruse -
we get a complex of familiar motifs: in Palestine der Besiegte - he
has been defeated by the paramour of the chatelaine and is brought
to her as prisoner - loved the Magdalene with her flaming hair,
and cheated her of Christ; since then he wanders the world, win-
ning the love of ladies with his lute-playing; they bum to his
embraces but are chilled to the bone and die, while he escapes as
a monk. In the picture of his riding through wood and wold with
Walther von der Vogelweide we have no doubt a reminiscence of
Diirer's Knight, Death^ and the Devil, and perhaps, too, of Bocklin's
Selbstbildnis, in which skeleton Death is playing the violin behind
the painter's ear. Der Cast (1900) also uses a motley medieval set-
ting for a dualistic picture of Death as a mysterious presence
watching over life. The originality of the plot is dubious: in 1896