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Neumarkt, P. (1973). Victor Tausk: Paraphrase as Commentary and Critique on Gerbart Hauptmann's “And Pippa Dances”. Am. Imago, 30(4):340-359.

(1973). American Imago, 30(4):340-359

Victor Tausk: Paraphrase as Commentary and Critique on Gerbart Hauptmann's “And Pippa Dances”

Paul Neumarkt, Ph.D.

Part I

Paraphrase as Commentary

One day man woke up on earth. But the good Lord had conceived a peculiar prank: he blotted out every trace of man's memory about the time he had lived beyond the earth. And then he said to man: “Seek yourself a place on earth on which you can rest that everything may be well with you.” But the good Lord did not provide man with a map for his journey.

Thus the life of man became a question of orientation.

We know that God gave man many sons and daughters and God's peculiar whim was presented to them as a gift of the cradle: all were bidden to find the promised place of rest.

The good Lord grinned merrily when he saw the people chase to the East and West, to the South and North, just as we smile when a foolish poodle tries to catch its own tail.

So that people would not get fed up with meandering, God gave them a shadow as traveling companion. This shadow had the shape of a sweet, slender maiden that the people tried to catch. No one, however, was able to master this art.

Only one person realized the vain effort, desisted from the useless chase and, with the gay expression of understanding, sat down on a broad, mossy stone at the edge of the street. And behold: he sensed tranquility come over him, and he was aware that God's promise had been fulfilled in him.

He wanted to communicate his discovery to the passers-by. But no one comprehended him, nobody lent his ear. The chase went on. When the man realized that his attempt to explain to the people the senselessness of their endeavor was without avail, he restricted himself to lending a hand to those who had come to fall, and removing thorns from the heels of the wounded.

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