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Tales from the Vienna Woods


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A: Ödön von Horváth Pf: 1931, Berlin Pb: 1931 Tr: 1977 G: Tragicom. in 3 acts; German prose and songs S: Vienna, Vienna Woods, and the Wachau, c.1930 C: 11m, 11fAlfred, an impoverished layabout, gambler, and minor aristocrat, has a relationship with 49-year-old Valerie, who owns a newsagent's and tobacconist's in Vienna. In the same street, the butcher Oskar becomes engaged to Marianne, the daughter of the toyshop owner. Alfred has a row with Valerie, breaks with her, and meets Marianne for the first time. Oskar and Marianne celebrate their engagement with a picnic, to which Alfred and Valerie are invited. Valerie begins a relationship with an anti-Semitic German student Erich, while Marianne falls in love with Alfred, and breaks off her engagement with Oskar. A year later, Marianne, Alfred, and their baby live in a rundown flat, and Alfred insists that the child should be given in care to his mother in the country, claiming he cannot find work at a time of high unemployment. He arranges for Marianne to join a troupe of dancers and leaves her. Marianne's father discovers her working as a naked artiste in a nightclub and rejects her. She steals money from a customer and is arrested. Erich leaves Valerie, who renews her friendship with Alfred. Oskar tells Marianne he would marry her, were it not for her child. She returns to her father. When Marianne, her father, Oskar, Alfred, and Valerie go to fetch Marianne's child, they discover it has died. To the sounds of Strauss's Tales from the Vienna Woods, Oskar leads Marianne away.

A: Ödön von Horváth Pf: 1931, Berlin Pb: 1931 Tr: 1977 G: Tragicom. in 3 acts; German prose and songs S: Vienna, Vienna Woods, and the Wachau, c.1930 C: 11m, 11f

After Brecht, Horváth was the most significant German-language playwright of the inter-war years, and this is his major play. Termed a Volksstück (‘people's play’), it is written in the comedic tradition of Nestroy, but exploits the genre by introducing irony and setting it against a contemporary political background.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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