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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

EXISTENTIALISM  AND  SURREALISM               499

truth between nations unless there is trust and confidence between
them. The nations, then, must give up their lust of aggrandise-
ment: 'Give up all your colonies', says Jeremy Bentham, eand give
up colonizing/ The substance of the book is here and throughout
seen to be pertinent to the problems of today. The last chapters,
which sum up, are depressing; for Schneider shows that even
religions have ever been at war and ever will be. The scene of his
first novel, Die silberne Ampel (1956) is Portugal in the fifteenth
century; the core of it is once again the conflict of power and
faith. Schneider has also tried his hand at drama. Der Kronprin^
(1948) is planned to continue the tradition of the political drama,
but 'jenseits des Program ws und der Tenden^. The forces moving be-
tween the two great wars are detached from the actual happenings
and personified: the conflict is fought out between the hierarchic
power of monarchy, leagued as it is by law and tradition with the
divinely ordained world-order, and the grasping at power of the
secularized masses. The Crown Prince is raised above the common
herd when he turns priest and transforms the monarchy to a
hierarchy. The protagonists can be identified at a glance: the action
centres round the break-up of the Weimar Republic, with Hinden-
burg as an intermediary figure; 'the Party' with its leader Sass
defects from the monarchy. (It must be remembered that Schneider
is confessedly an upholder of monarchy as the ideal system of
government.) The epilogue is an apotheosis: 'the AngeP appears
and takes the crown into his keeping; the idea is that which runs
through all Schneider's work - the kingdom of God (das Gottes-
reicK) must supplant secularized government (das Weltreicb). The
whole drama - it is in verse - is a paean of praise and a prophecy
of the coming of the New Kingdom when all else has failed. Der
gross* Veryicht (1950) presents in dialogue form thirteenth century
scenes which are medieval and well documented but in their in-
ferences (as in the rest of his plays) are related to the present. The
characters range from the hermit Petrus von Murrhone, who is
elected Pope but lays down his triple crown, to King Adolf of
Nassau and Pope Boniface III, who ends as a madman. Der Traum
desEroberers (1951) mirrors the tragedy of the modern world in the
lust of conquest of William the Conqueror. Zar Alexander (1951)
gives shape to the spiritual conflicts in Russia at the time of the
mysterious death of this Czar in 1925. Die Tarnkappe (1951) is, in
intention, an expansion of the Nihlungensage to a Christian epic