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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

62                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

- is cast out by the gentiles; when he sides with the Habsburg
party he is hailed with the Shakespearean cry: 'Bravo Jud! Gut
gebriillt, Sarasobn!' His cousin Berta has an incestuous love for her
own brother, but marries Prinz Kuckuck for his money, only to
sap his life-force, until he runs his car into the Arch of Triumph
and so dies. The fascination of Oscar Wilde comes out in the
orgies in which Karl and his cousin indulge, and Felix is offered
a boy with the recommendation: 'Alle Englander besuchen ihn* In
England the couple (like Dorian Gray) dive into haunts of vice in
Whitechapel; the 'Klub der Griinen Nelke' is mentioned, which
suggests Robert Hichens's parody on Wilde, The Green Carnation.
The influence of Huysmans is as patent as that of Wilde, as for
instance in Felix's wavering between Catholic sensuality and the
delights of the brothel, still more in incidents of the Black Mass.
In Samalio Pardulus, the first Novelle otSonderbare Geschichten (i 908),
this fin de siecle obsession for sexual perversity is heightened by the
Renaissance atmosphere and by the doubling of the motif of in-
cest: an old Italian count goes, dagger in hand, to slay his son and
daughter whose sin he knows by the secret of his own blood; he
finds them dead, the daughter naked, and in presence of her love-
liness he stoically calls to mind what he himself has not dared to
do. He has kept the law and lived; they have died young, for
beauty's sake. The short stories otStudentenbeichten (1892 and 1897)
and Die SMangendame (1896) are vignettes of student life; those
of Kaktus (1898) are mere fooling. The matter of his Stilpe was
dramatized in Stilpenkomodien\ an attempt at serious drama with
historical colouring is Stella undAntonie (1902); the scene is Silesia,
the time the beginning of the eighteenth century, and the action
suggests the erotic illusions and instability of the poet Johann
Christian Giinther. One of Bierbaum's best titles to remembrance
is that he, together with the art critic Julius Meier-Grafe, founded
the art journal Pan (1894-1900) and, in 1900, with Alfred Walter
Heymel and Rudolf Alexander Schroder, the literary journal Die
Insel (1899-1902), which published much of the best work of the
succeeding years; at first the publishers were Schuster und Loffler
in Berlin but in time these poets created their own publishing
firm, the famous Insel-Verlag of Leipzig.

OTTO ERICH HARTLEBEN (1864-1905) comes near to Bierbaum as
a verbummeltes Genie and as one who debased his great gifts. His
humour is genuine and infectious, but it is T*>ierhumor\ and, for all