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Till Eulenspiegel

lienhard, time, episode and subject

TILL EULENSPIEGEL. In 'Till Eulen spiegeP Friedrich Lienhard exemplifies his fa vorite method of treating, with manifest applica tion to his own time, an old genuinely German subject conceived in a way that is no less novel than poetic. The work is in three parts. The first. (Eulenspiegels Ausfahre (cEulenspiegel's Departure"), and the thirdtEulenspiegels R Heimkehr> (uEulenspiegel's Return Home), were brought out together in 1896; the second, Fremde' (((The Stranger," 1900), is an episode capable—as is also the first part— of separate representation.

The traditional coarse and rascally practical joker of the 15th century (see EULENSPIEGEL) is transformed in Lienhard's drama into an idealist. He is no hero; he lacks the poise of a humorist, he has too much sentiment to be a cynic; knowing the worth of life, he rebels against pettiness and narrowness, but he has no other weapon than somewhat hollow laughter, and no other plan of campaign than somewhat boorish mischief-making. The transformation is not unlike that of the 16th century Faust at the hands of Goethe; but the scope of Lien hard's subject is naturally narrow in compari son with Goethe's and the setting of his action is more specifically historical. There is a melancholy suggestiveness in the fact that Lien hard's Till meets his end in the Peasants' Re volt, and in the further fact that Lienhard dig nifies him with the approval of Hans Sachs — giving, as it were, to the individualist who.

in a contemptible time, could find no better place than that of court fool, the sanction of the Nuremberg shoemaker's optimistic faith in social regeneration.

That Hans Sachs should be brought into this action at all is enough to indicate that Lienhard was less concerned for the probabil ity of his plot than for its atmosphere. If it is probable that in Eulenspiegel's community there should be so sane and resolute a peasant girl as Gertrude, to whom he is sincerely de voted, it is improbable that his love for her should not have sufficed to steady him. As the of the episode he finds—meanwhile oblivious of Gertrude—a kindred spirit in the daughter of an innkeeper. But when a wager has carried him from an artful pretense to the point of realizing this spiritual kinship, he seems to see no incongruity in abandoning the girl to the commonplace lover whom she has promised to marry, in case she loses the bet. However, neither the plot nor the farcical comedy, of which there is no lack, gives this work its chief significance. The modernized Eulenspiegel is a Diogenes. It is hardly his fault if, in his search for an honest man, he does not even find himself.