In his "Nachwort" to Ilse Langner's drama Frau Emma kampft im Hinterland, Wolfgang Weyrauch observes: "Ich habe nie begriffen, warum die 'Pioniere in Ingolstadt' der Marieluise Fleisser immer wieder gespielt werden (nichts gegen sie, alles fur sie), und 'Frau Emma kampft im Hinterland' von Ilse Langner nicht." Although Fleisser and Langner differ in several respects — the nature and quantity of their literary works and their reception after the mid- 1960s — they still have much in common. Both were born about the turn of the century, enjoyed notable theatrical successes during the Weimar Republic, and experienced difficulties during the Hitler years. Whereas Fleisser has been rediscovered, Langner has not. Substantial scholarly studies of her work are virtually non-existant. She is, to be sure, included in many standard reference works, but neither these brief entries nor the essays in Mein Thema und mein Echo begin to do justice to this significant but neglected writer. Furthermore, recognition as one of the pioneers of the women's movement has been denied her. As Ingeborg Drewitz has remarked, "Es ware ein Gewinn fur die Frauenbewegung der 70er Jahre, sich mit der Langnerschen Deutung der Frau in den verschiedenen Kulturepochen auseinanderzusetzen" (MT, 141). And, it must be emphasized, even if her dramas were not among the very few writen by a woman, their intrinsic interest and merit is quite sufficient to deserve our attention today. It would be impossible to do justice to Langner's oeuvre in an introductory study. She has published three novels, as well as short prose fiction, poetry, travel books, and essays, in addition to the twelve dramas which have been published or performed. Hence, I shall base my study on six dramas: the early successes Frau Emma kampft im Hinterland and Die Heilige aus USA; two mythological verse dramas essentially completed before the war but not published until the late 1940's, Klytamnestra and Iphigenie kehrtheim; and two products of the early postwar years, Sylphide und der Polizist and Die Witwe.
"An Introduction to the Dramas of Ilse Langner,"
University of Dayton Review: Vol. 15:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udr/vol15/iss3/4