by Richard Francis Burton.
First edition of 1881.
W. H. Harrison: London.
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I WENT to the "great religious drama in the beautiful Highlands of Bavaria" neither to scoff nor to pray, nor to swell the list of some thirty books and brochures which the mountain-play has already produced. My object was artistic and critical, with an Orientalistic and anthropological side; the wish to compare, haply to trace, some affinity between this survival of the Christian " Mystery" and the living scenes of El-Islam at Meccah.
The following realistic remarks may be interesting to some who have had a trifle too much of gush and fancy; and to all who would see " Oberammergau with the varnish off."
I have done my utmost to give a fair judgment and to praise where praise is due ; but I, like others, found the village a pandemonium of noise and confusion; and my conclusions are: If you must "do" the Passionsspid, do it and leave the place as fast as you can, with all the " edification " you may. A "recuperative sojourn," prescribed by the guide-books, a week amid the "homes of Ammergau," would, I opine, be likely.
"To breed a madness in the brooding brain."
Be prepared for general discomfort: for a bad climate of raw cold or heavy rain, of close heat or stifling sun, breeding deep mud and light dust; for bad lodgings and worse feeding, unless you take shelter under the Hotel Gaze; and, finally, for great roughness, some incivility, and no civility whatever except for what you pay, and pay highly. I left it with a general feeling that place and people are not interesting; and that the latter, like the Icelanders, have been praised and petted till thoroughly spoilt.