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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

410                  MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

action again passes in occupied territory; the prodigal son, Stipe,
is away fighting with the insurgents in the maquis; he is the
youngest of three brothers. The time is Christmas Eve and Christ-
mas Day; and in the opening scene the Christmas candles are lit
and the festive table laid, with a vacant seat for any guest who
may come. Will it be Stipe? There is also religious symbolism
which points forward to the mysticism of the following two plays;
Marja (Mary), the wife of one of the brothers, gives birth to a son
in the stable while the house is burning, and as the play ends she
sets out, supported by Stipe, who has returned, to join the maquis
(once again, by way of allusion, the flight into Egypt). The two
following plays, Pilatus (1949) and Caesars Witm (1953) together
with Kalypso (1942) are published together under the title Olymp
und Golgotha. Trikgie einer Weltmnde (1954), to indicate that the
.motive which is common to all three, a crisis in the worship of
gods or of a god, signifies a more revolutionary change in the
seventy-seven years from the murder of Caesar to Golgotha than
that between 1914 and 194 5 which motivates the European trilogy.
Of the other plays Die Weibermfihle (1931) continues the old Vien-
nese Zauberstiick', Gottes General (1939) with its illumination of the
religious experiences of Ignatius de Loyola lays bare also Csokor's
own religious faith. The Doppelbodigkeit which is somewhat glar-
ingly on the surface in the Weltmnde plays makes up the action of
the novel Der ScUussel <%um Abgrund (1955). It falls into twelve
chapters with twelve interludes (Interment) intervening; each
interlude lights up something which is happening elsewhere at
the same time as the apparently unrelated event narrated in the
foregoing chapter, the idea being 'doss suh kein Geschehen der Welt
ohm ^eitverhaftete l&e^iehung <%ur gesamten geistesgeschichtlichen Lage voll-
^ieht\ Here we have an attempt to expand and deepen the range
of the modern novel, The raw event is the symptom of mental or
spiritual stirrings which occur elsewhere, which change the face
of the world, and which recur through the space of time; thus,
while the Anabaptists lash out in Miinster, Henry VIII sends Anne
Boleyn to the scaffold, because she does not bear him a son - but
her daughter will be England's greatest monarch; Paracelsus dis-
covers a new interpretation of illness as proceeding from the mind
- a concept related ^eitverhaftef} to what we now call psycho-
analysis; the Anabaptists and the Lutherans have their fling, but
Ignatius de Loyola allots the earth to his Society of Jesus. Csokor's