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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

20                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

somewhat droll figures; as such they trod the stage, easily recog-
nizable, in Ernst von Wolzogen's literary comedy Lumpengesindel
(i 892). Heinrich, the elder, began as a lyrical poet with Weltpfingsten
(1872), failed as a dramatist with Sedan (1883), and followed up
(though he denied it) Victor Hugo's Legende des Sticks and the
Ndchte des Orients (1874) of Adolf Graf von Schack, the Orientalist
poet of the Munich school, in his Lied der Menschheit (1888-96),
in intention a grandiose verse epic. Only three of the twenty-four
cantos planned were completed: Tul und Nahila (1886), which
takes some of its tropical colouring from Ernst HaeckePs Indische
Reisebriefe (1882), shows the institution of monogamy (i.e. Dar-
win's Zuchtwahf) evolving from sexual promiscuousness in pre-
historic Ceylon, while Nimrod (1888) and Mose (1896) take the
nomad human race forward to fixed habitation, law, and religion.
The interest of these fragments is that they are symptomatic: on
the one hand they mirror the Kulturphilosophie of the Friedrichs-
hagen naturalistic coterie - the Harts lived at the Berlin suburb
of Friedrichshagen, and so did Bruno Wille and Bolsche - and on
the other hand they are in the line of those typically German works
which go back to Herder's Ideen ^ur Philosophic der Geschichte der
Menschheit (1784-91). Julius Hart was at his best in the lyric1; and
notably his descriptive poem Auf der Fahrt nach Berlin (1882) - it
reproduces the poet's impressions on steaming into the railway
station at Berlin when he first came from his native Munster -
keeps its place in the anthologies; it takes rank as the starting-point
of the Grossstadtpoesie which was to become so important a genre
in the days of expressionism.2 His naturalistic play Der Sumpf

1  His poems were collected in Sansara (1879), Homo sum (1891), Triumph
desLebens (1899).

2 The contributors to Moderns Dicbtercharakten claim to have inaugurated
Grossstadtpoesie with Karl HenckelPs "Berliner Abendbi/d and Arno Holz's and
Oskar Jerschke's pictures of Berlin and its suburbs. Hermann Bahr, quoting
Arno Holz's poem Zum Eingang (Euch der Zeit\ says: *M// diesen Versen beginnt
die Grossstadtlyrik' Each claim is open to question. In English poetry there is
Alexander Smith's Glasgow (in City Poems, 1857) and Ferdinand Freiligrath's
anthology of English poetry, Rose, Thistle, and Shamrock (1853), includes
poems on cities. English influence is likely in Wilhelm Arent's A.US dem Gross-
stadtbrodem (1891); and John Davidson's London poems, Henley's 'London
Types and Arthur Symons's London Nights seem to have left their mark on
poems in Ludwig Jakobowski's (1868-1900) Leuchtende Tage. (Jabokowski
was editor of Die Gesellschaft, and wrote two novels, Werther der Jude, 1892,
and Loki, 1896, both in defence of Jews.) Academically a distinction may be
made between the city poems of the naturalists - a continuation of descriptive