Germany, a Companion to German Studies

By Jethro Bithell | Go to book overview

of it has something of the preaching quality of the peasant moralities, which are, in sober truth, Mell's province by right of conquest. As a lyric poet he sings the revolving seasons of Styria in Das bekränzte Jahr ( 1911) and joy in earth in Gedichte ( 1919). Gedichte ( 1928) is a selection.

RICHARD BILLINGER ( 1893) was to have been a priest, but blossomed out into a poet -- the prolific poet and dramatist of Upper Bavaria. In Asche des Fegefeuers ( 1931) he tells the story of his upbringing as a village Heitigenbüblein. There is a strong religious element as well as pulsing melodrama in his peasant plays; Knecht ( 1924), Das Perchtenspiel ( 1928), Rauhnacht ( 1931), Rosse ( 1931), Der Gigant ( 1937) give the general note; the motive force is raw heathen passion under a thin crust of Christian discipline, and this holds good, too, of his peasant tales: Das Schutzengelhaus ( 1934), Lehen ans Gottes Hand ( 1935), Das verschenkte Leben ( 1937). Billinger deserts the peasant play in his comedies Stille Gäste ( 1933), Lob des Landes ( 1933), Melusine ( 1948), Der Galgenvogel ( 1948), and in his dramas Gabriele Dambrone ( 1948), Die Fuchsfalle ( 1914), Das Haus ( 1948). His lyric poetry ( Lob Gottes, 1923; Über die Äcker, 1923; Gedichte, 1929; Nachtwache, 1935; and Holder Morgen, 1942) is collected in Sichel am Himmel ( 1949). The pith of this lyric outpouring is symbolization of Catholic ritual flanked by vignettes of farming life and age-old village custom, but there is here and there a flash of communistic revolt, as in Gebet der Knechte und Mägde, and there is the crude criminal passion of the peasant plays in such a poem as Knechtsballade.

Two other Austrian novelists now well to the fore are FRANZ NABL ( 1883-; Ödhof, 1911; Die Galgenfrist, 1921; Ein Mann von gestern, 1935; Die Ortliebschen Frauen, 1936) and HEIMITO VON DODERER ( 1896-; Ein Mord, den jeder begeht, 1938; Die erleuchteten Fenster, 1950; Die Strudelhofestiege, 1951). There is a tendency to class von Doderer as the direct successor of Robert Musil.


BIBLIOGRAPHY TO CHAPTERS VII-X

LANGUAGE

Bach, Adolf. Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. Heidelberg, 4th ed., 1949

Behaghel, Otto. Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. Vol. 3 of Paul's Grundriss der deutschen Sprache. Strassburg, 5th ed., 1928

Bchaghel, Otto. Die deutsche Sprache. Vienna and Leipzig, 1904. 8th ed., 1930

Behaghel, Otto. Deutsche Syntax. Heidelberg, 1923 ff

Bithell, Jethro. German Pronunciation and Phonology. London, 1952

Collinson, W. E. The German Language Today; its Patterns and Historical Background. London, 1953

-393-

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