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Sex, Love and Prostitution in Turn-of-the-Century German-Language Drama

A. Schnitzler’s "Reigen</I>, F. Wedekind’s "Die Büchse der Pandora: Eine Monstretragoedie</I>, and L. Thoma’s "Moral</I> and "Magdalena</I>


Rüdiger Mueller

Schnitzler’s Reigen, Wedekind’s Die Büchse der Pandora: Eine Monstretragoedie, and Thoma’s Moral and Magdalena reflect the gender inequity and interaction of their time as described in contemporary non-literary texts. The works represent a creative participation in gender discourse, taking the side of social reformers who argued for a more equitable treatment of women, including prostitutes. The discrimination endured by prostitutes, however, is simply an extreme of what all women experienced. The dramas expose male oppression of females, while simultaneously portraying what women can do in order to achieve limited independence and self-determination. Women are victims rather than victimizers, and male hypocritical attitudes cause women’s suffering.
Contents: Turn-of-the-century gender relations as reflected in drama – Patriarchy and women as reflected in drama – Patriarchy and prostitutes as reflected in drama – Socio-historical discourse and attitudes as reflected in drama.