88 MODERN GERMAN LITERATURE the dross in his system is sufficiently burnt out1 by his sexual paroxysms the painter hero, impotent in his art, has visions of a love without the female instrument: 'etivas gan^ Nervoses, Raffi- niertes, Kotnpli^iertes milsste es werden\ a dream-love, 'Glilck derEnt- haltsamkeit\ 'die keusche Wollusf\ for fulfilment of desire destroys its mystic beauty. Here particularly - as in the rich colouring of the painter's nerve-whipped visions, in which the heavens open, wreathed in symphonies of purple perfumes and peopled by fire- red beings and blue vampires - we detect the influence of Huys- mans. In Die gute Scbule Bahr shows his uncanny flair for coming fashions; he (a c Vorempfinder*} is the herald of every new move- ment, and, if he did not actually turn the course of literature, he was at various stages the first to point out the change in direction. He had himself popularized the term 'die Moderns''; in Zur Kritik der Moderns (1890) he shows what the movement is. In Die Uber- mndungdes Naturalismus (1891) he exposes the ultimate absurdity of naturalism: (Je dichter der Naturalismus der deutschen Dramatiker sich der Erfullung seines eignen Prin^ips nahert, desto welter entfernt er sich von der Moglichkeii kunstlerischer Wirkung. Je mehr er unpersonliche Wirkung wird, entgeisteter Stoff, desto mebr verliert er die let^te Gewalt uber unser Gemut. Er wirkt dann genau ebenso wie die Dinge selbst, die immer erst unserer Umarbeit brauchen, urn fur die Empfindung ^ubereitet und angerichtet %u werden* In Expressionismus (1914) he probes the new movement and interprets its theories. Bahr's criticism is from the first impressionistic; that is, while he lays down laws which he argues with a show of absolute logic and often with subtlety, he is for the most part expressing his own personality. Compared with academic criticism, in which close concatenation counts, such personal impressions in loose essay form may seem erratic; and Bahr, particularly in his later collections of essays,2 may ramble on and intersperse irrelevant matter; giving himself, and whatever of his subject may shine through himself, his critical method is lightly selective and his aim is readability. His 'Protean person- ality* or 'fluid ego* (to use terms generally applied to him) fitted him admirably for his ceaseless outpouring of such easily gliding and soft if sinewy critical prose. His mind, for all its voracity of 1 Like Des Esseintes, the hero of A rebours, 'sur h chemin, degrise, sml, abominablement lass?. 2 Wiener Theater (1899), Re^ensionen (1903), Glossen (1907), Das Eilderbucb (1921).