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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

348                    MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

by a wise providence. The reward of goodness is a contented mind,
and sin is punished. What is attractive in Sohnrey's tales is the de-
lineation of Hanoverian peasant life and of folk customs Branch-
turn*}. He was born near Gottingen, in the district which is the
scene of his best-known sketches, Die Leute aus der Lindenhutte
(2 vols.: Friedesinchens Lebenslattf and Hutte und SMoss, 1886-7);
Socialist agitator and the introduction of machinery are shown as
destructive elements of squire-ridden country life. His peasant
novels are Philipp Dubenkropps Heimkehr (1888) and DerBruderhof
(1897).

Of the regional writers with a reputation when the war-cry Los
von Berlin ! was raised PETER ROSEGGER (1843-1918) was facile prin-
ceps. Born in a lonely hamlet in Upper Styria, he had tended his
father's sheep in the upland fields between the forests, had gathered
his education piecemeal, and - too frail for farm work - had been
for four years a journeyman tailor, roving from farm to farm and
squatting on farm tables to do his stitching and with eager ears
taking in a vast store of rural lore and stories. As if by instinct he
began to write dialect verse and to fashion his simple tales, which
soon (1864) began to appear in the pages of the local newspaper,
Die Grader Tagespost. From now on, he says: Das Fabeln ging alle-
mil besser als das Nadeln. His first book was a collection of his
dialect verse, Zither und Hackbrett (1869), but as a poet he has not
more than calendar merit. He is at his best in his short stories
(Allerhand Leute, 1888) and in his autobiographical meanderings
(Waldheimat^ 1897'\Alsichjungnoch}wa?, 1895; Mein Weltleben, 1898).
His novels have the inevitable didacticism of the rural popular
writer. Die Schriften des Waldschulmeisters (1875), in diary form, has
something of the Simpli^issimus development: a soldier returning,
morally damaged, from the Napoleonic wars finds recovery and
comfort in unselfish service in a forest valley. Der Gottsucher (1883)
takes us to a medieval village which is under a ban of excom-
munication because a priest has been murdered: religion having
perished the community perishes, and the villagers are shown
groping their way to religious security. Jakob derLet^te (1888) ven-
tilates a grievance of the Styrian farmers: the hero fights against
the tyranny of the hunting landlords. In Peter Mayr, der Wirt an
der Mahr (1893) Rosegger blends village tale and historical novel
 the subject is the revolt of the Tyrolese peasants against the
French. Erdsegen (1900), Martin der Mann (1891), and Weltgift (1903)