Carl Sternheims Die Hose: Humor and Satire in its Historical Context

Carl Sternheims Die Hose:
Humor and Satire in its
Historical Context
USA or Germany: Which
nation has existed longer?
• USA: 1776
• Germany 1871
• What was happening in “Germany”
before 1871?
The German Empire
(Wilheminian Germany) 18711918
Wilhelm I
Wilhelm II
Carl Sternheim’s Die Hose
• The first of a cycle of
comedies entitled
“Aus dem
Heldenleben” (From
the Heroic Life of
the Bourgeois)
Social Developments in
Wilheminian Germany
• Shift from agrarian
to industrial society
• Growing city
• Technological
change, emerging
mass culture, higher
literacy rates
The shift from an “estates-based
society” to a class system
• The aristocracy, the
class), the
• The “feudalization” of
the bourgeoisie:
mimicry of the
aristocracy in the
interest of social
• Paternalistic authority,
militarism, honor codes
The Subject (written 1914)
Satirical Cartoon from
der Pöbel: the rabble
Die Menge: the masses
das Volk: the people
Philosophy and The Arts
• Friedrich Nietzsche:
• Fin de siécle Berlin and
Vienna: artistic
innovation and
• Max Reinhardt’s
directing at the
Deutsches Theater in
Berlin: 1905-1930
• Socially
conscious/critical art
Franz Marc, “Der Tiger” 1912
Social Movements
• The Workers’
movement and the
Rise of the Social
Democratic Party
• Increasing Strikes
and conflict between
business managers
and labor force
Women’s Rights
• Helene Stöcker’s
Essay “die moderne
Frau” (1893)
• The restrictions of
“Kinder, Küche,
• The growing
suffrage movement
in the early 20th
Women’s clothing
New, less restrictive clothing in 1903
Jews in Germany in the
Wilheminian Era
• Jews: roughly 1% of the German
population in 1900
• Many Jews were relatively integrated
into German society.
• Anti-Semitism was a European
phenomenon not necessarily specific to
Germany at the time.
• Carl Sternheim was Jewish
Farce and Satire
• Definitions
• What aspects of
Wilheminian society
does the play
critique or ridicule?
• To what extent is the
critique applicable to
US society in 2009?
“die Hose” Frankfurt, 1986