The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 09 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 647 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 09.
the first to experience the artistic charm and possibilities of unidealized reality and to respond to its call.  It was he who seems to have coined the phrase, even if he was not first to formulate the principle, of that restrained or “artistic realism” that tries to set its standards half-way between subjectively idealistic and objectively naturalistic art.  Even his extravagant admiration for Shakespeare was chiefly due to the fact that he saw in his art the supreme embodiment of this principle.  Ludwig did not renounce beauty of art except where it infringed upon the one thing needful—­essential truthfulness to reality, especially in all that pertains to what Hebbel called “the laws of the human soul.”  Many of the utterances of Ludwig’s Studies are as startlingly modern, not to say Ibsenesque, as similar ones in Hebbel’s Diaries, in their frank recognition of the solemn claims of reality, even ugly reality, upon the honest artist who endeavors to interpret life in its entirety.  For art, too, like all other achievements of human culture, according to Ludwig, must render service unto life.  It is its function to furnish insight into life, mastery over life.  “Rather no poetry at all,” he exclaims, “than a poetry that robs us of the joy of living, that makes us unproductive in life, that, instead of nerving us for life, unnerves us for it.”

In German literature Ludwig thus occupies a not unimportant place.  Far more penetrating and far more artistic than “realists” like Auerbach or Spielhagen he paved the way for the coming of Anzengruber who, in turn, anticipated the realism of the moderns in more, ways than is generally recognized.  Ludwig will always be a figure of prominence in the history of the modern middle-class tragedy, in the development of the story dealing with village life, in the efforts to emphasize the value of a literature close to the native soil, in the attempts of German criticism to fathom the secret of Shakespearean art.  More than that, however.  When the final account of the gradual evolution of nineteenth century realism will some time be written from another than a one-sidedly French point of view, a place of honorable recognition will be due to the thoughtful and forceful author of the Studies and Between Heaven and Earth.


[Footnote 6:  The extracts from The Prince of Homburg are taken from Mr. Hagedorn’s translation, Volume IV of THE GERMAN CLASSICS.]

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STEIN, a rich manufacturer and country gentleman.

ROBERT, his son.

CHRISTIAN ULRICH, forester on the estate of Duesterwalde, called “The Hereditary Forester.”

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 09 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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