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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

274                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

with the medieval verse epics: the mass of it has the motley multi-
fariousness of exotic adventure of the fitter epos and is shot through
with decadent crazes such as brother-and-sister incest, the sex
appeal of a hermaphrodite, a black mass sadistically detailed (one
of the most perversely elaborated episodes in the often lurid litera-
ture of the period). There is dovetailing with Gerhart Haupt-
mann's Mexican play; and indeed Hauptmann is credited with
having delved into the novel rather than into Stucken's source,
Prescott; and this should hold good oilndipobdi as well. The dif-
ference from Gerhart Hauptmann's picture is that the sympathy
is altogether with the Spaniards: they are brutal, but they are
Christians; indeed the chief interest of the book lies in the heaped
horrors of the sadistically pictured heathen practices of the Aztecs:
e.g. a prince is forced to eat his slaughtered wife's organs. As in
Gerhart Hauptmann's Der misse Heiland the coincidences of Mes-
sianic and Aztec legend are brought out. ~Larion (1926) depicts the
turbid religious psychosis of old Russia; since Stucken was born
in Moscow the data of the novel should have authenticity, but the
interest, as in Die weissen Cotter, is in religious sadism - here we
have the Satanic cult of a sect who castrate themselves. Im Schattm
Shakespeares (1930) describes the London of James I. Giuliano
(1933) belongs to the Renaissance craze.

The neo-classic programmatic chastening of form does not
appear more in the drama than in the Novelle, and here Wilhelm
Schafer and Rudolf Binding take equal rank with Ernst and Scholz.
WILHELM SCHAFER (1868-1952) has pleasantly told the story of his
ancestors in Meine Eltern (1937) and his own story in Lebensabriss
(1918) and MeinLeben (1934)- As a delineator of his native Rhine-
land he belongs, though loosely, to Hetmatkmsti while resident at
Diisseldorf at the beginning of the century he edited the journal Die
Rheinlande. He was, to begin with, an elementary school teacher,
and his insistent didactic note derives perhaps from the peculiar
saturation with the teaching microbe of this vocation.1 His style
shows the professional grammarian's command of sentence-build-
ing, but he eschews what he considers to be unessential graces
such as mood-painting. He has the medieval conception of the
story-writer's technique that not the mental life of the characters
but the events they experience should hold the interest of the nar-

\ Other elementary teachers of the period are Otto Ernst, Hermann Stehr,
Heindch Sohnrey, Friedrich Griese, Use Frapan, Hermann Claudius.