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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

18                     MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

gigantic task of fixing the inner rhythm of everything that is spoken
by every character: accentuation and gesture are not to be those
of the author, nor those of the actor, but of the given character at
a given moment controlled by a given emotion. These rhythmic
studies run concurrently with the strange results arrived at in
metrics by a very great authority, Eduard Sievers, who claimed
that his system of analysing the sounds of a work (Schallanalyse)
can fix whether a poet, ancient or modern, recited with his belly
or his shoulders, and even his height and cubic measure. Holz,
analysing the rhythm of Hauptmann's plays (even those in prose),
finds that they scan with a monotonous rhythm in the author's
brain: they are thus not naturalistic, or in other words Hauptmann
is reproducing his own singsong, not the rhythms of characters
flat in repose or varying with the varying strain of emotion.

In Revolution der luyrik (1899) Holz declared war against estab-
lished form in lyric verse, and the rhythmic theories here pro-,
pounded shape the vast mass of the impressionistic verse collected
in his Phantasus (1898-1916). All previous verse, says Holz, had
been metrical; this metrical form he (like Victor Hugo pontifically
dislocating the Alexandrine) 'smashes'1; and he replaces it by its
diametrical opposite, rhythmical form. Rhyme and stanza vanish;
the 'natural and necessary' rhythm constitutes the poem, which
turns on an invisible central pivot (Mittelachse)* Thus: Der Mond
steigt hlnter Apfelbaum^weigen auf is rank prose; but

Hinter bluhenden Apfelbaum^eigen
steigt der Mond auf

is verse rotating round an invisible central pivot. Sceptically re-
garded this might seem to mean that any reciter may turn prose
into verse by modulating his voice before and after a pause (tradi-
tionally: caesura); or that any compositor can arrange prose as
verse by what Holz calls an 'acoustic picture'. Truth to tell, these
poems in free rhythms (a term Holz rejects,2 though critics insist

1  <Jede Wortkunst9 von fruhster Ur^eit bis auf unsere Tage> war, als auf ihrem
let^ten, tiefuntersten Formprin%ip> auf Metrik gegrundet. Diese Metrik ^erbracb ich
undset^te dafiir das genaw, diametrale Gegenteil. Ndmlich 'KbythmikJ - *Der Rhyth-
mus allein ist unausschopfbar. Dieser immanente ^hythmus wdchst jedesmal neu aus
dem Inhalt.9

2 *Der freie JLhythmus geht aus einer musikalischen, der naturliche HJhythmus aus
einer malerisch-plastischen Erfahrung hervor? (The 'plastic* visualization reminds
one of the poems arranged typographically in the form of goblets, etc.,
by seventeenth-century German poets.) Historically Holz's <Polymeter* are,