Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

ph_0111207670-Anzengruber.jpg Ludwig Anzengruber Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Ludwig Anzengruber’s literary reputation rests on his plays, but he also produced a prodigious quantity of prose, including two novels, Der Schandfleck (1877) and Der Sternsteinhof (1885); numerous novellas and short stories about village life, which are often prose sketches for his plays and which he called “Dorfgaenge”; many calender tales that use the figure of “Steinklopferhans” from his play Die Kreuzelschreiber as the focal character; and many short satiric and lyric works written to support the various magazines, notably Figaro, for which he served as editor. The novel Der Sternsteinhof is often considered Anzengruber’s literary masterpiece.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Ludwig Anzengruber was the greatest and also the last exponent of the Austrian folk play . His social and educational background did not favor his becoming a playwright for the leading highbrow theater of the time, the Burgtheater in Vienna. His thorough acquaintance with the farces and melodramas of the traveling theater, his genuine interest in common people, and his desire to contribute to the education of the lower classes led him naturally to take up and to improve on the Viennese folk play and the Austrian dialect drama. Anzengruber was appalled by the lack of intellectual honesty and by the absence of any contemporary scientific, social, or political material in the plays that were performed for the lower classes in the Viennese folk theaters. This was at a time when the very fabric of Austrian society was threatened by the conflicts resulting from the reaction to the 1848 revolution. In a time of strict censorship, the church and the stage were the only places where people could meet in large numbers and hope to find the guidance and the answers that the partisan daily press could not provide. Unfortunately, the established church, as Anzengruber points out in his first play, Der Pfarrer von Kirchfeld, could not be trusted to furnish honest answers, for the church hierarchy was desperately trying to reestablish its political power, which had been severely reduced during the reign of Joseph II. The Burgtheater was content to present the...

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(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Howe, Patricia. “End of a Line: Anzengruber and the Viennese Stage.” In Viennese Popular Theatre: A Symposium, edited by W. E. Yates and John R. P. McKenzie. Exeter, England: University of Exeter Press, 1985. This essay, from a collection on Viennese popular theater, examines Anzengruber’s role in ending this genre.

Jones, Calvin N. “Ludwig Anzengruber.” In Nineteenth Century German Writers, 1841-1900, edited by James Hardin and Siegfried Mews. Vol. 129 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit, Mich.: The Gale Group, 1993. A concise look at Anzenburger’s life and works.

Jones, Calvin N. “Poetry or Realism: Ludwig Anzengruber’s Die Kreuzelschreiber.” In Negation and Utopia: The German Volksstück from Raimund to Kroetz. New York: Peter Lang, 1993. A discussion of Anzengruber’s Die Kreuzelschreiber.

Jones, Calvin N. “Variations on a Stereotype: The Farmer in the Nineteenth Century Volkskomëdie.” Maske und Kothurn 27, nos. 2-3 (1981): 155-162. A close look at farmer characters in the popular folk comedies of Austria.

Kuhn, Anna K., and Barbara D. Wright, eds. Providence, R.I.: Berg, 1994. A collection of essays that examines nineteenth and twentieth century Austrian and German drama. Bibliography and index.