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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

MODERN  GERMAN  LITERATURE

- he broke through with Mutter Landstrasse (1904), which Max
Reinhardt produced; it gives a new ending and the mood of the
son-father conflict to the legend of the Prodigal Son - when the
wanderer returns his iron-cast father turns him away from the
door: there can be no reconciliation between the world of adven-
ture and that of duty. In Der Graf von Ghichen (1908) Schmidtbonn
questions the traditional morality of the legend of the man with
two wives: his hero has love enough for the two, but the legal
wife inevitably murders the Saracen woman, whereupon the Cru-
sader leaves her to eat her heart out and rides away to the mystic
East once more, with the squire who had been with him in all his
campaigning - and this squire is Death. Der Zorn des Achilles (1909)
aims at classic heights, and does certainly achieve occasional monu-
mentality of expression. Achilles is very German - bluff and blond,
angular and awkward; he has to learn that even a superman is
hemmed in by other wills; his anger is like the raging sea, magni-
ficent in its force but breaking itself against the hard rocks of fact.
In his second handling of the Prodigal Son theme, Der verlorem
Sohn (1915), a *Legendenspiel\ Schmidtbonn keeps the Biblical end-
ing; the father rejoices and forgives. Die Stadt der Besessenen (1917)
stages the religious orgies of the Anabaptists at Minister. Der
Geschlagene (1922) shows the marital misery of an aviator blinded
in the War. Die Fahrt nach Orplid (1923) is a drama of emigrants
bound for Peru.

It is customary to classify the work of HERBERT EULENBERG
(1876-1949) as Sturm md Drang or Affektdramatik\ that is, he ob-
tains his dramatic effects by crass sensation. But this cult of sen-
sation is due merely to the influence of the Elizabethan dramatists:
the outrageous happenings are the necessary expression of ab-
normally passionate character. Not the poised conflict of two
equally strong wills attracts him, but the conflict in the breast of
his heroes of desire and dream with the grim hardness of reality.
He probes 'the most tragic and uncanny problems of humanity',
and magnifies bestial lusts to heroic grandeur. He depicts, in ever
varying phases, the tragically lonely man, doomed to isolation by
his own inhuman humanity; or the lonely of spirit, brooding on
his own frustration and driven by the irreality of dream to lust for
the most stinging bitternesses of reality, and for the bitterest sting
of all - death. There is the Elizabethan pattern already in his
Dvgmglwk (1898), with its glamour of Venice; and there is the