Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats

530                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

Hartmann von Aue. Kaiser Joseph fkr Z&w/e (1937) is the tragedy
of that Austrian emperor who tried to introduce the forms of
French enlightenment; this was the time when the Pope himself,
aghast at the inroads of progress, went to Vienna to bring the
Emperor to heel The lesson conveyed is that God dictates - by
the mouth of the Church.

siKGFRir.D FREIBERG (1901- ) is another prolific writer who has
a distinguished place in the literary life of Vienna today. It helps
in the appreciation of his works if one remembers that he has
risen from the ranks; his father was a railway employe, his grand-
mother a book-pedlar who tramped from the German Bohmer-
wald. His first novel is Safy undRrot (1935), the most detailed and
informative of those works of fiction which picture Austria in the
war years 1914 to 1918* The hero is an awkward Gjmnasiast who
realizes, as the Empire falls to pieces, that the only hope for his
countrymen is: nicht tkw I'rkdcn erfieffn* das Lfben litbm und an dm
*Kampjglmilwi) and that redemption must come from great person-
alities and not from the collective grouping of demagogic masses*
In two other novels, Die barte Vre/ale (*9?8) and Die Litbe, die nicht
brtnnt (1940) Freiberg continues the family chronicle begun in
Safy md Brof, though only in so for as younger members - the
Pikers in particular - are protagonists. There are autobiographical
elements in the trio of novels; for instance, Paul Pilzer is a railway
employ^. The three novels together thus - since they trace the
evolution or the rise in the social scale of certain characters - sum
up the social history of Austria - mainly of Vienna - from 1870
to 1945, It would, however, be incorrect to speak of The Pihyr
Saga, for the Pikers do not overshadow the rest of the characters:
they are typical of a movement upwards as others typify a social
descent. Whereas the first two novels of the Piker series concen-
trate on the life of working people and peasant folk and are for
the most part built up of reminiscences of the author's hard youth,
Die Liebe, die nicht brennt portrays the life of the better placed
classes; it is thus an effective contrast to Die Aarte Frwde. There is
nothing of the relentlessly drab realism of the Piker trio in Wo der
Engelstehtn sottft (1948), which unfolds the ending of the Second
World War. The atmosphere is necessarily differentiated, for here
Freiberg attempts a kind of allegory: the Germans appear with
their allies as die Stammigen, the Americans as Die Btfofatw, while
der yiactigwaltige is Hitler* Ft/to (1948) is also a breakaway from