Mar 05, 10
Recommended to Michael by:
German Students, German Teachers, Literati
Read in February, 2010, read count: 3
This is a very interesting example of late-nineteenth century German literature. From the German student's (or teacher's) point of view, it has the benefit of being quite short, and written mostly in easy-to-follow German. It won't please everyone, being a tragedy, and rather a violent one at that, but it is a compelling read nonetheless. In one sense, it can be seen as a commentary on the intrusion of industry into rural life, through the medium of the railroad which dominates and threatens to destroy (the "Bahnwärter" is a man whose job it is to protect people from this threat). On another, it seems to be a timeless commentary on innocence exploited by cunning, and how that is destroyed and perverted through the process. Within the context of German literature, it is a very early work of Gerhardt Hauptmann, who would become deeply associated with the naturalists, but it seems not to be a truly naturalist book, including as much of the subjective inner lives of the characters as it does. It is worthwhile for those interested in the period and author, and also a good practice read for medium-level readers of German.