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box 36/4
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ARTHUR SCHNITZLER
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and henceforth refuses to take any interest whatsoever in him. She lives
in retirement for years. After his family affairs have been adjusted, Egon
proposes to Mizzi repeatedly, but she always refuses him. When his son
is eighteen years old he adopts him and presents him to Count Arpad.
On this occasion Mizzi is forced to see him and is finally reconciled with
the idea of a marriage with Egon. On the same day Lolo, who has fallen in
love with a dashing transfer man, takes it into her head to make a farewell
visit to Count Arpad. It is a unique 'family reunion.' The various
members of this family have been playing at the farce of correct conven¬
tionality. For a moment they give vent to their natural feelings and see
each other in something like their true relationship.
The publication of Young Medardus' (’10) indicates that the poet is
being attracted to subjects of a larger scope. The drama presents a picture
of Vienna in the days of Napoleon. Franziska Klähr is the widow of a
bookdealer, who has met an inglorious death as an oflicer in the Australian
army. She has a son, Medardus, who likewise becomes an officer, and the
mother hopes that he may bear arms with better results in the impending
clash with Napoleon. Her daughter, Agathe, is in love with Francois,
the son of the Duke of Valois, a blind old refugee in Vienna, who for years
has fostered the empty hope of winning the French crown. Since the duke
will not consent to a marriage, Mrs. Klähr does not allow Francois to come
to her house, but the two young people meet secretly. On the evening
when Medardus is to leave for the war, Francois appears with the news that
his father’s consent has been promised. This is a false pretext to gain
admission to the house. He has learned that the matter is hopeless and the
two commit suicide together. At his sister’s grave Medardus sees Helene,
the sister of Francois, and vows vengeance upon her family. Intending
to publish her shame from the housetops, he wins her love, but this relation
becomes a pitfall, since his emotions so dominate him that he forgets his
vows of vengeance. After the fall of Vienna, Helene plans to murder Na¬
poleon by coming to him as a mistress. Quite ignorant of her plan, Me¬
dardus has also dreamed of murdering the oppressor of his country and thus
wipe out the humiliation which he feels on account of his unmanly conduct.
Just as he sees a chance of carrying out his plan, he secs Helene on her way
to Napoleon and kills her. He is imprisoned, but Napoleon offers him his
liberty because he looks upon him as a tool in the hands of divine Providence,
blindly at work for his protection. Medardus insists upon telling the truth.
He refuses clemency, and by insisting upon his execution, blots out theshame
of the inglorious death of his father. This plot is an insignificant part of
the two hundred and ninety pages of this remarkable book. Like Haupt¬
mann’s Florian Geyer' it gives a comprehensive picture of the times in