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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

520                   MOD1-HX   GKKMAN   LIThRATfRE

tttmt conform to the religious tenet that runs through his other
dramas: Lshw />/ IJelw. Count ('end's ravings in Act IV of
Shelley's play have a Freudian modernity which is alien to Felix
Braun's guidini* uf the action to Beatrice's confession, as she goes
to execution* thai she merits death because she has not loved her
father, even after he had raped her. R/Mfiivr Stifter (1953) breaks
new ground: decasyllabic iambic is thrown to the winds and there
is effective use of Hliotic free rhythms. Here more than anywhere
else - for we have Felix's earlier dramas to serve for comparison-
we have proof posit ive that verse moulded to the dramatic mood
of the speaker at a given moment am! to the rise and fall of feeling
rings more true because the stress falls on the vital word and that
this can be marked by its place in the line. Rudolf der Stifter is
that Archduke of Austria who, between 1358 and 1365, Intrigued
and fought to ensure that the I labshurgs should by right of birth
be the Holy Roman Hmpemr in * Felix Austria*. {le dies at twenty-
five, a beaten man; bur he is the 'founder* of Austrian greatness
to be because he has foreseen and planned it, and therefore it is
fitting that in his last moments he should declaim an inspired pro-
phetic vision of Austria through the ages, upwards to its apogee
when the sun never sets on the dominions of Charles V and then
its gradual decline till Vienna is laid waste by bombs and his
cathedral of St, Stephen, as we sec in an interpretative prose Vor-
spiel, lies in rubble and ashes. The dramatic conflict Is double:
between Rudolf and the Luxemburg I. Emperor in Prague, Albrecht
II, and between Rudolf and his falcon-eyed wife Katharina, At
brecht*s daughter, who fights for her father, not so much because
dynastkally she is in the opposite camp, but because the marriage
is nominal and she is childless, while Rudolf has peasant girls
brought to his bed. The ending is fanciful but impressive: in the
palace of the Visconti in Milan, where Katharina finds Rudolf in
the toils of the fiercely passionate daughter of the house, he con-
fesses to and Is absolved by a poet crowned already by the aureole
of Immortality - Petrarch, a priest ordained but living a worldly
life, who confesses to his penitent that his own sin - to have
desired, not loved - has been as futile as Rudolfs lust for power.
Novellen and legends are gathered together in Lattrna magics
(1932); in the revised edition of 1957, which is fitted into the
series of the AwgwaUk Werk$* there are omissions of tales which
could ill be spared* These Novellen are, whether for better or