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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

280                   MODERN  GERMAN  LITERATURE

peatedly gives impressions of Brazil (in his drama Don Pedro as in
the short stories ofMenscbemvege and Hans und Crete,, and elsewhere),
but quite simply - what exotic impressionism is can be seen at a
glance by comparing his Brazilian pictures with Dauthendey's des-
criptions of Mexico. His novel Der Engelmrt (1901) is made up of
old-fashioned irony: a Swabian landlord has no boy by his wife,
and tries for one with the servant, Agathe; but she presents him
with a daughter! He emigrates with Agathe and the girl to Brazil,
where Agathe dies, and where he is cheated of all he has. A sadder
and a wiser man, he returns to home and wife; and the point of
the story is that this good woman, whose character is finely drawn,
welcomes him. The next novel, FreundHein (1902), created a sen-
sation; not, however, because it was a literary masterpiece (it is
far from that), but because it was an attack on the examinational
tyranny of German secondary schools. As Anklageliteratur'ti. should
be naturalistic; but Strauss just tells the story, and lets the accusa-
tion emerge from the facts. There is rather impressionistic than
naturalistic consistency in the psychogrammatic notation of a boy's
mental torture. The hero is Heinrich Lindner; in local pronun-
ciation he is Heinerich, Heiner for short; but Treund Hein' is a
euphemism for Death. He is the grandson of a virtuoso on the
violin, and the son of a lawyer who, in his own green youth, had
been addicted to music, but had forced himself to relinquish this
passion because it interfered with his legal studies. He expects his
son, who has this hereditary gift for music, to practise the same
self-control; but in Heiner the gift amounts to genius. He is al-
ready a composer, and do what he will he cannot tear himself
away from the passion of his soul. He is physically incapable of
reaching the required standard in mathematics, and is refused pro-
motion to the 6th form. Desperately he shuts himself up, and
grinds away at this detestable study - in vain; and when in the
following year he is again refused promotion to the higher class
he shoots himself. The discussion is twofold: the school motto,
non scholar sed vitae discimus^ is shown to be arrant humbug: the
pupil is relentlessly sacrificed to the school, while individual bent
and capacity are ignored. Actually Heiner is already a first-class
musician, and the leaving certificate is not essential to him. The
second theme is the tyranny of father over son; and this particular
father, though he is as good as gold, is hopelessly incapable of
seeing that his belief in the character-forming virtues of school