(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"

POST-WAR   AUSTRIAN  WRITERS

writes, the lesson is that by divine ordinance love must unite those
who are sundered by hate. There is a vast variety of theme, stretch-
ing from the familiar tales of the Old Testament and Greek myths,
vignettes of Italy and poignantly personal notations to odes, most
of which are in the grand manner. There is the same predominance
of Biblical and Greek themes in the dramas, which in form are,
like his verse, obstinately traditional; Felix is indeed, together with
his friend Max Mell, the last German dramatist to remain faithful
to the verse drama. Greek in theme are Tantaks (1917), Aktaion
(1921) and Der Tod des Aischylos (1946); Biblical are Esther (1925)
and Die Tochter des ]airus (1950), while Em indisches Mdrchenspiel
(1934) handles, in rhymed verse of varying length, an Indian fable.
Kaiser Karl der Funfte (i 936) is a study of monarchical totalitarian-
ism. Through the drama runs Karl's famous boast, effectively
varied, that the sun never set on his dominions; and indeed as
German Emperor, as the ruler of the Netherlands, Naples, Hun-
gary, Spain with her great colonies in America, and as titular king
of Jerusalem, he was speaking truth. But the leading idea is that
as Holy Roman Emperor he had the divine right to rule the world;
'Nur eine Sonne kuchtet unsrer Welf, he declares. He is of course
merely voicing the proud device: A.E.I.O.U. (Austriae estimperare
orbi universo). This doctrine runs parallel with KarFs conviction
that in religion too only one sun can shine, and that, therefore,
Papal rule of the world must be God's plan. (There is the same
reasoning, in the same terms, in the drama Irina und der Zar - 1948
and 1956 -, a study of Russian totalitarianism.) But to a non-
Catholic the action of the play proves the contrary; Karl admits,
when Luther's articles are read to him, that there is substance in
them, and there is also the slow disillusionment following defeat
by the Protestants that leads to the Emperor's retirement to the
monastery of San Yuste as we know it from Platen's famous poem.
But the lesson intended by the dramatist is that Charles Quint
failed tragically because he did not realize that not power, but
love of one's fellow men, is the decree of God. One's first urge
in turning to "Beatrice Cenci (1937) is to compare it with Shelley's
The CencL Both poets keep to the main lines of the story; the main
difference is that whereas Shelley condones nothing in his picture
of sixteenth century beastliness in Italy and brings out the venality
of the Papal Curia, Felix Btaun tends to tone down his motivation,
psychologically convincing though it is, and to make his detwte-