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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  HISTORICAL  NOVEL                        387

expression. His historical novel Die Tage des Konigs (1924) is a
scholarly well-documented study of Frederick the Great, who also
dominates the scene in Trench, }Loman eines Gunstlings (1926), a lively
picture of Prussian rococo. Bruno Frank's enlightened Liberalism
shines out from Politische Novelle (1928), a discussion rather than a
story, which rejects the plea that antagonism between France and
Germany is a necessary evil and in its vivid pen-pictures of Briand
(as Dorval) and of Stresemann (as Carmer) shows how elementary
the idea of permanent peace really is. His vie romances of Cervantes
(1935) is a thorough de-bunking; there is topical interest in the
satirical account of the decrees for the prevention of blood-pollu-
tion at a time when there was not a grandee's family in Spain but
Jewish blood flowed in his veins, Don Quixote is shown to be the
product of utter disillusionment, not so much of sex (though Dul-
cinea is depicted as a literal portrait of the country girl Cervantes
marries) as of the hopeless misgovernment of Spain. Chamfort er-
%ahlt seinen Tod (1937) is the vie romancee of this French aphorist.
DerE^isepass (1937) is yet another denunciation of the Nazi regime
by an emigre (to the United States). Several of Bruno Frank's
dramas were successful on the English stage; of these Zwolftausend
(1927) throws a lurid light on the sale by a German princeling of
12,000 of his subjects to England as cannon fodder. Sturm im
Wasserglas (1930) - James Bridie's Storm in a Teacup (1937) - is
uproarious in its picture of a platitudinous dictator engrossed in
self and dead to human pity. Nina (1931) is a study of a guttersnipe
transformed to a film-star; for love of her husband she sacrifices
her glamorous career, which is taken over by a double. Die Tochter
(1943) is based on the life of the mother of the author's wife, a
cabaret artiste who is half Jew and half Pole, and of her father, an
Austrian officer; the ground theme is anti-Semitism. Bruno Frank
is most effective where his allusions are transparent - e.g. the
theatre director in his Novelle Der Magier (1929) resembles Max
Reinhardt; where he handles merely pathological problems he has
no incisiveness - e.g. in his drama Die Schwestern und der fremde
(1918), in which a physically cold intellectual humanitarian satisfies
the desires of a girl doomed by consumption, but, when she dies,
tells her robust sister, who wishes to fill the gap, that he is an icy
monster.