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The Elusive Transcendent

The Role of Religion in the Plays of Frank Wedekind


Fred Whalley

Frank Wedekind’s work was profoundly influenced by the religious and philosophical ideas of the nineteenth century. Detailed analysis of his unpublished notebooks and major plays shows how his characters transgress moral boundaries in a doomed quest to find transcendent value. In his later plays he deliberately blurs the distinction between art and reality, as his pseudo-autobiographical protagonists become secularized, redeeming sacrifices that enable bourgeois life to continue.
Contents: The quest for Leben – The Rejection of Christianity: Elins Erweckung and Frühlings Erwachen – The Elusive Transcendent in Erdgeist and Die Büchse der Pandora – The Use of Biblical Allusion in Der Marquis von Keith – The Life of Christ in Karl Hetmann, Der Zwergriese (Hidalla) – The Deification of Reason: Die Zensur – Heaven, Hell and All Points in Between: Wedekind’s Last Plays.