(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  DRAMA  OF  EXPRESSIONISM                  401

poems and plays of OSKAR KOKOSCHKA (1886- ; a Czech by descent);
in his plays (Morder, Hoffnung der Fratten, 1907; Die trdumenden
Knaben, 1908; Der brennende Dornbuscb, 1911; Hiob, 1917; Vier
Dramen^ 1919; Der weisse Tiertofer, 1920; Der gefesselte Kolumbus9
1921) the problem is that of 'senseless desire from horror to horror,
insatiable circling in empty space' caused by the splitting of human-
ity into sexes. Kokoschka belongs to that group of 'Bolshevized
painters' (including Otto Dix and Franz Marc) whose works were
in August, 1937, by official decree ignominiously cast forth from
all German art galleries, and who were forbidden to exercise their
craft; and the qualities of his painting - distortion used to reveal
the innermost psychological instincts, writhing lines glinting in
splashed colour - warp and obscure his literary work in still
greater measure. He is now a naturalized Briton.

ERNST BARLACH (1870-1938) was a famous sculptor (mostly in
wood), and the characters of his dramas (Der tote Tag, 1912; Der
arme Vetter, 1918; Die echten Sedemunds, 1920; DerFindling, 1922;
Die Sundflut^ 1924) are like figures massively sculptured, awkward
and hampered because left in the rough, but lifted as though by
the wind or the breath of God in their folds; they belong to two
worlds, earth-bound as ccreatures of this side' but as 'creatures of
the other side' hearing 'the rustling of the blood of a higher life
behind the ship's planks of everyday custom'; they are thus ghosts,
but in the flesh. Barlach attempts to interweave - with the delicacy,
the cruelty, and the intricacy of a spider's web - the unseen with
the seen in a new creation of myth. In Der tote Tag the problem of
a mother's relations to her son is viewed from a totally different
angle from that of Hesse in Demian: a very physical mother and a
son in whom spirituality stirs live in the great hall of a house with
a cellar attached; the son's father is a god ('all sons have their best
blood from an invisible father'); the mother wishes to keep her
son tied to her apron-strings, by cellar and kitchen and broom;
she would fain have him 'a suckling grown up' (Herzeloyde in
the same way would have prisoned Parzival to the warmth of her
breast, if angels from afar had not lured him forth); 'Sohnes^ukunff,
says the mother in Barlach's play, */>/ Muttervergangenheif'; and
when the invisible father sends a magic steed (Sonnenross) to spirit
the lad into radiance she stabs it to death in the night; for, she
says, 'the son who rides forth on a steed comes back hobbling on
a beggar's staff' - as her long-vanished husband does during the