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THE   WOMEN   WRITERS                            325

thus fall into three groups: (ij Kinder der Eife/, 189-^; Das Weiber-
d$r+\ 1900; EJner Mutter Sohtt, 1906; Das Kreit^ Im Vtnny 1908;
fz; Die W'acht afc'EJieht) 1902; fJsetnlandstocbter^ 1896; (5) Dasschla- Heery 1904; Absoiro te> 1907. Das faglicheErot (1902) describes
the life of a servant-girl in Berlin. The influence of Gabriele Reu-
ter's campaign of social regeneration shows itself, though hysteric-
ailv, in such novels as Rkeinlandstochter, the heroine of which tights
the traditional belief that woman is a chattel. The theme of Das
Wewerdorf is, frankly, sex starvation in women. Gerhart Haupt-
mann's Die Insel der grossen Matter is a more discreet parallel, and a
curious English parallel is J. D. Beresford's A. Mrorld of Women:
a new plague has killed off all the males except a butcher at High
\XYcombe, and he is to women what Hauptmann's island god is.
The butcher's role is in Das Weiberdorf filled by the only man who
remains behind in the lonely upland village in the Eifel, while the
men are away at work in the Ruhr district. The men only come
home periodically, and then the starved women, so to speak,
devour them, Das Kre/s^ im Venn combines a vivid rendering of
the uncanny scenery - perilous swamps, deer-infested pine-forests,
piled winter snow, rugged crosses marking the scene of accidents -
of the Eifel uplands with a hectic description of the orgies of pil-
grims to the shrine of St. Willibrord at Echternach and the mental
torture of a convict who by his very nature must violate w^omen.
There is religious hysteria, too, in Absoko /<?, this time on the
Polish frontier: the story varies the Mark-Isolde motif of old
husband and young wife. Das scblafende Heer, with its picture of
the enslaved masses of Polish peasants, brings out the never-
resting racial conflicts in the vast melancholy of the Polish
plains* The War novel Tackier der Hekuba (1917) is poignant
with its revelation of starvation and suffering on the home

It is usual to classify two women writers, ISOLDE KURZ (1853-
1944) and RICARDA HUGH (1864-1947), as disciples, in style and
choice of theme, of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer. Both have his dig-
nity of attitude, his apparent detachment from the characters of
the story, his cult of flawless form, his syniboliaation of history,
and above all his predilection for Italy and the Italian Renaissance.
But Isolde Kurz strenuously maintained that she had not read
Conrad Ferdinand Meyer when she wrote her first stories of Re-
naissance Italy; she credited her father, the poet and novelist Her-