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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE NOVEL  OF  EXPRESSIONISM                  367

of pestilence over the world. In Burte's dramas there is the fanatical
cult of the German conception of duty as sacrifice of self to the
state. The hero ofKatte (1914) is the friend who tried to arrange
the escape from prison of the Crown Prince of Prussia, later
Frederick the Great. Frederick is forced to watch Katte's execu-
tion. The play is a Pflichtdrama, and so too is Her^pg Uf^ (1915).
The hero is that Duke Ulrich or Utz of Wtirttemberg who, as we
know from HaufPs 'Lichtenstelny slew Hans Hutten. He has dis-
graced himself as a man and as a prince by going down on his
knees to crave from Hutten the body of his wife. This lady denies
herself as Hutten's wife, but is willing as Hutten's widow; Ulrich,
however, ripened by the events, sacrifices love to princely duty. It
might be interesting to compare Burte's third play, Simson (1917),
with that of Herbert Eulenberg on the same subject: in the latter
Samson is a grandiose symbol of the degradation of man to beast
by woman, while from the mass of detail of Burte's play only the
strong man's sacrifice of himself to his race emerges. If Schiller
had completed his Warbeck tragedy, he would have adhered to
the historical concept of the hero as a pretender; for Burte in his
Warbeck (1935) his hero is the genuine heir to the throne and the
last scion of the house of Plantagenet; he abandons his rightful
claim because to achieve it would mean war. As a lyric poet Burte
made his mark as a sonneteer (Patricia^ 1910; Die Flugelspielerin,
1913). Though a native of Baden, Burte is classed as an Alemannic
poet, and as such he has emulated Johann Peter Hebel in his books
of dialect verse (Madleey 1923; Ursula, 1930).

The ground-work in the novels of ALFRED DOBLIN (1878-1957),
a physician in Berlin, is science and philosophy. He came to the
fore during the War with his Chinese novel Die drei Sprunge des
Wang-Lun(i<)i?)\ the son of a Chinese fisherman founds a sect of
the poor in spirit and teaches that cto be weak, to endure is the
pure way*; the hero 'jumps* from passivity, which is holiness, to
action, and back again to holiness. Doblin's long historical novel
Walhnstein (1920) is still actuated by Chinese philosophy; but here
the problem of to do or not to do is represented by the contrasted
characters of Wallenstein as the principle of action and the patho-
logically conceived passive Emperor Ferdinand. Wadsgks Kampf
mit der Damp/turbine (1918) comes to epic grips with machinery;
Berge> Metre und Giganten (1924) in a nightmare of activity raging
mad gives us the age of the superman with machinery supreme