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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

268                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

(i911) is a typical Ideendrama of HebbePs type. His most interesting
drama, Godiva (1919), one of a series of works on this English
theme,1 is distinguished by its skilful motivation of the ride: the
conflict is that very modern one of the sensitive wife's resistance
to the sexual aggressiveness of her husband and of his insistence
on his legal rights: here the legend and the medieval atmosphere
merely serve to give a discreet remoteness to the actuality of the
problem (that of Soames and Irene in The Forsyte Saga). Franck's
solution is in favour of the husband; which is good Nazi doctrine.
The intention is to show that in the complicated dualism of male
and female physical and spiritual forces repel and attract each
other. Qpfernacht (1921) more or less shadows Hebbel's Gjges und
sein Ring: an Indian virgin in her wedding night passes through
experiences which waken her to woman. In the comedy Martha
und Maria (1922) the theme is again the rights of the flesh. Franck's
tellurian dramas are deepened by his experiences of the War, his
attitude to which he had defined in Mem Kriegsbuch (1916). In Freie
Knechte (1919) the third and last son is called up on a little farm in
Mecklenburg. There is a dualism of a mother - represented by a
striking drawing by Ernst Barlach - calling on mothers to cry with
her: "Rather die than kill!' and the counter-cry of spirit which
wills Fate a.nd is ready for sacrifice. In Klaus Michel (1925) we have,
in the last act, the birth of 'the new man'. The hero - a famous
doctor whose concern is bodies and who mocks at 'souls' - is
another version of *der deutsche Michel', the eternal dreamer put-
sued by reality; his divine nature is released by sacrifice for others
in the War: he perishes, but his two sons find salvation on the
land. Kan^kr und Konig (1926) is another Struensee play. Kleist
(I933) Puts ^e Prussian poet on the stage as a political agitator
against Napoleon; he is made a mouthpiece for the specifically
Nazi idea that poetry and Fatherland must be one. After the First
Great War Franck was a prolific writer of fiction, particularly of
short stories. In the nine tales otRecbt ist Unrecht (1928) he once
more uses love to bring home his doctrine of the union of oppo-
sites: true love, since it is blood and spirit, is the bridge by which
physical experience passes to the spiritual; love is the pentagram
which is the symbol of mystery; embodied spirit and spiritualized
body. Dogmatic as the thesis may seem it is illustrated by exempla

1 G. C Lichtenberg: Bin sltisamer Gebrauch syt Coventry in Warmckfbire
; Josef LauflPs novel Bjsgina Coeli (1894).