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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

324                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

like, to be caught and taken in a cave by her colourful painter.
The child she bears is, however, her husband's - though he is not
sure of it; she is divorced by arrangement; and, since she will have
nothing more to do with the painter (she has told him that he must
live for his work, and this requires freedom), she resigns herself to
living without connubial bliss: she has her child to live for. Such
determined resignation (and consideration for the male) is typical
of Gabriele Reuter: for her - so long as her heroines have had
experience of life - such an ending is a happy one. The heroine of
'Liselotte von Reckling (1903) takes an active part, as the wife of its
apostle (Moritz von Egidy is said to be meant), in a new ethical
movement for the regeneration of society. In Das ILecht der fitter
Helene Bohlau merely pleaded for the girl who has had a moment
of weakness; in Das Trdnenhaus (1909) Gabriele Reuter sees no
weakness in such a moment, but demands the experience for all
women. The heroine is an unmarried mother, a woman writer
deserted by an author, an aesthete who has the attitude to marriage
of Schnit2ler's Kmstkr in Der einsame Weg and Der Weg ins Freie,
"The house of tears' is the maternity home where she is awaiting
her confinement; and here she comes to the conclusion that mar-
riage - whether legal or free - is equivalent to the tyranny of the
woman over the man. The terrible thing is not that men desert
the women they have had, but that these women should be so
cruelly treated by those who should be their sisters, and who, as
women, should realize that motherhood, even out of marriage, is
sacred. The height of the argument is this: 'Die Frauen sind keiner
ILechte wert - keiner Mrgerlichen und keiner idee lien - so lange sie dieses
ihr heiligstes Recbt - ibre gewaltigste Pflicht und Macht ntcht erfassen
wollen?

CLARA VIEBIG (1860-1952) is not so much a feminist as a natural-
ist: that is, her uncompromising sexualism is based on her con-
ception of the forces of nature (Naturgewalteri) as, together with
geographical milieu, conditioning fate: the urge is double, from
the blood and from the landscape. (The *B/#/- undBodenliferatur* (p.
429) has the same starting-point.) Her conception of Heimat as a
driving force makes her psychology as much that of masses as of
individuals; and her mass psychology may be sexual, religious, or
patriotic. The regional influence is in the main that of the Eifel
(she was born at Treves), of the Rhineland, or that of the Polish
frontier, where she lived for some time. Geographically her novels