Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats

THE  DRAMA  OF   EXPRESSIONISM                  413

vor Karl dem Fun/ten. What emerges is that the Spanish colonists
used the indios as slaves in their plantations and that they treated
them as beasts, objecting even to their learning Spanish, whereas
the Jesuits who colonized Paraguay established there a Christian
state which had all the features of a Utopia such as we see featured
as a dream and ideal in the spate of recent Utopian novels. But the
Argentinian colonists agitate in Spain and even in Rome against
this enlightened system, and the dramatic conflict begins with well
reasoned argumentation on both sides when the Provincial forces
his old university friend the Visitator, who has been sent by the
Spanish Government to take over the realm the Jesuits have
created, to acknowledge that this Christian state has been founded
and is benevolently ruled by right and reason, whereas the colon-
ists who are up in arms against it and the Spanish government to
whom they appeal have no plan except confiscation for their own
profit. There is one of the dramatic surprises of which Hochwalder
is past master when an Italian, one of several people who seem to
appear on the scene with no specific purpose, reveals himself to
the Provincial as an emissary appointed by the General of the
Order to supplant him and to hand over Paraguay to the Spanish
king. The Provincial is wounded and dies during the fighting that
ends the action, and the last words are spoken by the Visitator,
who carries out his instructions but knows they are unjust: 'We
have achieved our object. The kingdom of God is the devil's/
The whole argument is an exposure of political and Christian
policy as it was then - and as it is now. Utopia is impossible, be-
cause the principles that rule it are justice and charity. HStel du
Commerce (1944) is labelled 'Komodie in 5 Akten nach Maupassants
Novelle Bottle de suif*. There is unity of place, but not of time; the
action lasts three days. The wit throughout the comedy is pungent
and the general tenor is withering contempt of social 'respecta-
bility'. HSfel du Commerce has its place apart in Hochwalder's work
in that for once in a way there is a love interest, though it is
shadowy; and as regards the 'burning actuality' which is claimed
for Hochwalder's plays it does not touch contemporary phases of
revolt except in so far as it is a scathing attack on caste feeling.
In Zurich Hochwalder came into contact with Georg Kaiser, who
passed on to him the idea and the plan of Der T?lucMing (1945).
As in Georg Kaiser's Von Morgens bis Mitternachts there is expres-
sionistic Namenksigkeit; we know the three characters solely as