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  The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Dramatic Works of Gerhart Hauptmann, byGerhart HauptmannThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: The Dramatic Works of Gerhart Hauptmann Volume IAuthor: Gerhart HauptmannPosting Date: November 23, 2011 [EBook #9971]Release Date: February, 2006First Posted: November 5, 2003Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WORKS OF GERHART HAUPTMANN, VOL 1 ***Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Keren Vergon, Thomas Bergerand the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.THE DRAMATIC WORKSOFGERHART HAUPTMANN(Authorized Edition)Edited By LUDWIG LEWISOHNAssistant Professor in The Ohio State UniversityVOLUME ONE: SOCIAL DRAMAS1912  PREFACEThe present edition of Hauptmann's works contains all of his plays withthe exception of a few inconsiderable fragments and the historical drama _Florian Geyer_. The latter has been excluded by reason of its greatlength, its divergence from the characteristic moods of Hauptmann's art,and that failure of high success which the author himself has implicitlyacknowledged. The arrangement of the volumes follows, with suchmodifications as the increase of material has made necessary, the methodused by Hauptmann in the first and hitherto the only collected edition ofhis dramas. Five plays are presented here which that edition did notinclude, and hence the present collection gives the completest view nowattainable of Hauptmann's activity as a dramatist.The translation of the plays, seven of which are written entirely indialect, offered a problem of unusual difficulty. The easiest solution,that namely, of rendering the speech of the Silesian peasants or theBerlin populace into some existing dialect of English, I was forced toreject at once. A very definite set of associative values would thus havebeen gained for the language of Hauptmann's characters, but of valuesradically different from those suggested in the srcinal. I found itnecessary, therefore, to invent a dialect near enough to the English ofthe common people to convince the reader or spectator, yet not so near tothe usage of any class or locality as to interpose between him andHauptmann's characters an Irish or a Cockney, a Southern or a New Englandatmosphere. Into this dialect, with which the work of my collaboratorshas been made to conform, I have sought to render as justly and asexactly as possible the intensely idiomatic speech that Hauptmannemploys. In doing this I have had to take occasional liberties with mytext, but I have tried to reduce these to a minimum, and always to makethem serve a closer interpretation of the srcinal shade of thought orturn of expression. The rendering of the plays written in normal literaryprose or verse needs no such explanation nor the plea for a measure ofcritical indulgence which that explanation implies.I owe hearty thanks to Dr. Hauptmann for the promptness and cordialitywith which he has either rectified or confirmed my view of thedevelopment and meaning of his thought and art as stated in theIntroduction, and to my wife for faithful assistance in the preparationof these volumes.LUDWIG LEWISOHN.COLUMBUS, O., June, 1912.CONTENTSINTRODUCTION _By the Editor._   BEFORE DAWN (Vor Sonnenaufgang) _Translated by the Editor._ THE WEAVERS (Die Weber) _Translated by Mary Morison._ THE BEAVER COAT (Der Biberpelz) _Translated by the Editor._ THE CONFLAGRATION (Der rote Hahn) _Translated by the Editor._ INTRODUCTIONIGerhart Hauptmann, the most distinguished of modern German dramatists,was born in the Silesian village of Obersalzbrunn on November 15, 1862.By descent he springs immediately from the common people of his nativeprovince to whose life he has so often given the graveness of tragedy andthe permanence of literature. His grandfather, Ehrenfried, felt in hisown person the bitter fate of the Silesian weavers and only throughenergy and good fortune was enabled to change his trade to that of awaiter. By 1824 he was an independent inn-keeper and was followed in thesame business by the poet's father, Robert Hauptmann. The latter, a manof solid and not uncultivated understanding, married Marie Straehler,daughter of one of the fervent Moravian households of Silesia, and hadbecome, when his sons Carl and Gerhart were born, the proprietor of awell-known and prosperous hotel, _Zur Preussischen Krone_.From the village-school of Obersalzbrunn, where he was but an idle pupil,Gerhart was sent in 1874 to the _Realschule_ at Breslau. Here, in thecompany of his older brothers, Carl and Georg, the lad remained fornearly four years, having impressed his teachers most strongly, itappears, by a lack of attention. For this reason, but also perhapsbecause his father, injured by competitors and by a change in localconditions, had lost his independence, Gerhart was withdrawn from schoolin 1878. He was next to become a farmer and, to this end, was placed inthe pious family of an uncle. Gradually, however, artistic impulses beganto disengage themselves--he had long modelled in a desultory way--and inOctober, 1880, at the advice of his maturer brother Carl Hauptmannproceeded to Breslau and was enrolled as a student in the Royal Collegeof Art.The value of this restless shifting in his early years is apparent. Forthe discontent that marked his unquiet youth made for a firm retention ofimpressions. Observation, in the saying of Balzac, springs fromsuffering, and Hauptmann saw the Silesian country-folk and the artists ofBreslau with an almost morbid exactness of vision. Actual conflictsharpened his insight. Three weeks after entering the art-school hereceived a disciplinary warning and early in 1881 he was rusticated foreleven weeks. Nevertheless he remained in Breslau until April, 1882, whenhe joined his brother Carl and became a special student at the Universityof Jena. Here he heard lectures by Liebmann, Eucken and Haeckel. But theacademic life did not hold him long. Scarcely a year passed and Hauptmannis found at Hamburg, the guest of his future parents-in-law and his  brother's. Thence he set out on an Italian journey, travelling by way ofSpain and the South of France to Genoa, and visiting Naples, Capri andRome. Although his delight in these places was diminished by his keensocial consciousness, he returned to Italy the following year (1884) and,for a time, had a sculptor's studio in Rome. Overtaken here by typhoidfever, he was nursed back to health by his future wife, Marie Thienemann,and returned to Germany to gather strength at the Thienemann countryhouse.So far, sculpture had held him primarily; it was now that the poeticimpulse asserted itself. Seeking a synthesis of these tendencies in athird art, Hauptmann determined, for a time, to adopt the calling of anactor. To this end he went to Berlin. Here, however, the interest inliterature soon grew to dominate every other and, in 1885, the year ofhis marriage to Fraulein Thienemann, he published his first work: _Promethidenlos_.The poem is romantic and amorphous and gives but the faintest promise ofthe masterly handling of verse to be found in _The Sunken Bell_ and _Henry of Aue_. Its interest resides solely in its confirmation of thefacts of Hauptmann's development. For the hero of _Promethidenlos_ vacillates between poetry and sculpture, but is able to give himselffreely to neither art because of his overwhelming sense of socialinjustice and human suffering. And this, in brief, was the state ofHauptmann's mind when, in the autumn of 1885, he settled with his youngwife in the Berlin suburb of Erkner.The years of his residence here are memorable and have already become thesubject of study and investigation. And rightly so; for during this timethere took place that impact of the many obscure tendencies of the ageupon the most sensitive and gifted of German minds from which sprang thenaturalistic movement. That movement dominated literature for a fewyears. Then, in Hauptmann's own temper and in his own work, arose avigorous idealistic reaction which, blending with the severe techniqueand incorruptible observation of naturalism, went far towardproducing--for a second time--a new vision and a new art. The conditionsamid which this development srcinated are essential to a fullunderstanding of Hauptmann's work.IIAt the end of the Franco-Prussian war, united Germany looked forward to aliterary movement commensurate with her new greatness. That movement didnot appear. It was forgotten that men in the maturity of their years andpowers could not suddenly change character and method and that the riseof a new generation was needed. So soon, however, as the first members ofthat generation became articulate, a bitter and almost merciless warfarearose in literature and in the drama. The brothers Heinrich and JuliusHart, vigorous in both critical and creative activity, asserted as earlyas 1882 that German literature was then, at its best, the faint imitationof an outworn classicism, and the German drama a transference of thebasest French models. It is easy to see to-day that their view waspartisan and narrow. Neither Wilbrandt and Heyse, on the one hand, norLindau and L'Arronge, on the other, represented the whole literaryactivity of the empire. It is equally easy, however, to understand theirimpatience with a literature which, upon the whole, lacked any breath ofgreatness, and handled the stuff of human life with so little freshness,incisiveness and truth.
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