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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

NEO -CLASSICISM                                2JI

impress of Webster at his wildest in Anna Walewski (1899). ^e
calls Anna Wakwski a 'Studentendra?ttay - he was twenty-three when
he wrote it; and certainly the style is sufficiently bttrscbikos to re-
mind one of Schiller's Die Ra/$er3 particularly at the end, where
the hero sets off to join the bandits. In the preface to the revised
second edition Eulenberg states that the diction is stylized to
reveal in every sentence 'horror* (it is significant that he uses the
English word) at the flat language of common life; the hair-raising,
however, comes not so much from the burning strangeness of
language - in which the play is enwrapped as in the shirt of Nessus
- as from the subject-matter: this is double incest, that is, incest
which differs from the Cenci story with its violation of the female
in that daughter-complex and father-complex meet with equal
flame. There is dramatic power in the characterization of the
father, the 'lonely lion' whose demonic power stands as a symbol
for the suppressed heroism of the Polish nobles as well as for the
revolt against the moral law; and the gloomy Polish castle hid in
its wet woods where wolves prowl is a fit setting for the unnatural
crime. Munchhausen (1900), with its glorification of the legendary
liar, is a denial of naturalistic truth: there is the mood of Cyrano
de Bergerac, of the poet who rises to beauty in the frantic fever
of his dreams, in the lyric inventions of this Hanoverian junker.
'BJtter'Blaiibart (1905), a *Mdrcbenspiel\ challenges comparison with
Tieck's and with Maeterlinck's plays on the same theme. There is
a Shakespearian blending of comic and tragic, particularly in the
funeral scenes, but through all the play quivers the mental torture
of Bluebeard because women remain a mystery to him: what were
their dreams of love before he gave them the reality of love ? In
Simson (1910) the demonic character of the hero is a symbol for
the artistic temperament enslaved by sex: Samson is a man of
men, but his love for Delilah levels him to a beast thirsting for
water in the desert. Die Insel (1919) is yet another attempt to re-
create the mood and story of The Tempest1 Parallel with these lurid
studies of demonic natures goes a series of obscenely witty or
strangely romantic comedies or tragi-comedies. Der naturliche Vater
(1907) delighted Wedekind. Muckentam^ (1922), clearly influenced
by Sternheim's znti-Bitrger literature, has literally the construction
of a Sturm md Drang play; it is full of the humour of the brothel.
After Alles um Geld (1911) Eulenberg scored his first stage success

1 See pp. 33, 38,