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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

38                       MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

attack of typhoid fever. He is nursed back to life by Eva Burns,
and, his hysterical wife having in the meantime died to make way
for the 'healthy woman' of so many of the novels of the period,
he returns with her to Europe.

Greek paganism which literally amounts to phallus-worship
gives a disquieting fascination to the novel Der Ket^er von Soana
(1918). The hero is an Italian priest in Ticino, who, to unite him-
self with a beautiful girl, herself the child of incest, forsakes his
creed and lives as a goatherd. The intention - Eve rules all, and
there is no help for it - sounds ecstatic or hopeless according to
attitude from the words in which the narrator, who as he descends
the mountain meets the woman coming up, describes her: "she
rose up from the depths of the world - and she rises and rises,
into eternity, as the one into whose merciless hands heaven and
hell are delivered up/ That is, a man cannot escape love. That
woman cannot deny herself to love is demonstrated with sly irony
in Die Inseldergrossen Mutter (1924). A ship is wrecked on the coast
of a South Sea island: only the women escape, with one lovely
boy. The women establish a matriarchy. In due course babies
arrive: there is an Indian god on the island. The first child is
looked upon as Messiah. As the boys grow up they are banished
to Manland, whence in due course they return to conquer their
willing mothers and sisters. Phantom, Auf^eichnungen ernes ehemaligen
Strdflings (1922) describes the inner life and transformation of a
criminal. The hero of Wanda (1928) is yet another of Hauptmann's
alcoholic artists: he pursues a vampire of a girl, who prefers to
be attached to a circus.

The seizure of resistless bodies and souls by eroticism is again
the theme of Das Euch der Leidenschaft (2 vols., 1929-30), in which
the autobiographical element (the form is that of a diary) is patent
- the whole book makes the impression of being a hysterical ex-
cuse for the neurotic implications of Einsame Menschen and Die
versunkene Glocke. The mot de Cambronne with which Goebbels in
1933 hailed the burning by students of literary perversions might
well have included this Book of Passion, for in set words it defends
that manage a trois which so many literary discussions (p. 27), as
well as the tragedy of the poet Burger, have shown to be immoral
because destructive to at least one of the three. Interesting is the
hero's account of the building of his castle in the Riesengebirge;
here, at Agnetendorf, in 1899 Hauptmann built his own mansion.