Looking back over Anzengruber's work from a present day point of
view we may see him fall into place - not indeed in the front rank of
nineteenth century writers - but fairly near to it.
If his work is to be judged on its literary merits many faults in
construction must be noted - for example the clumsy exposition in Der
Pfarrer von Kirchfeld and the strained unreality of Elfriede. His
character drawing has been charged with exaggeration as in Der I ieineidbauer and with incongruity as in Die Polizze. He is further accused
of writing a dialect of his own, 'Anzengruberisch', which is a synthesis of Bavarian and Austrian elements and not authentic. This is
understandable from a practical point of view, since he wished. to be as
widely appreciated as possible. Despite his efforts, however, his
dialect writings proved to be hardly comprehensible to many German
audiences, although there is proof that he became known through translation in Norway and America.
His position in nineteenth century literature (allows itself to)
be examined. under four headings! a) as reformer of the Viennese, provincial theatre in particular and the theatre in general; b) as a
writer of village stories c) as AL representative of poetic realism;
d) as a pioneer of sociological writing, and naturalism in Austria.
In accordance with the demands made and the limits set by the
title, 'Social problems in the Writings of Ludwig Anzengruber', I have
concentrated on following Anzengruber's insistent, pointing finger
which indicates social evils and shortcomings - the need for reform
and for new ideals. Although he is tune- bound in certain aspects of
his work - in his criticism of the Concordat for example - his writings
are still of interest to the twentieth century and should continue to
interest future centuries, as long as city and- families are corrupt and
country folk backward, as long indeed as the social problems he discusses persist.
This century has provided his plays with a new sphere of action
by filming Der Meineidbauer, Das vierte Gebot and the comedy Doppelselbstmord. (Hochzeit im Heu). In the provincial theatre he had once
hoped to reform his plays are still being performed, although most
. Austrians even yet know him mainly as a 'Bauerndichter' and a story - teller rather than a dramatist. It is as a social writer that he merits
most appreciation, as a. social reformer that he strove to mace his
fellow men see, hear and understand and as a social writer that he can
still be said to serve mankind today.