(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

106                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

passed from them because the poet's grandfather had married a
peasant girl. Detlev served as a Prussian officer, and was wounded
in both the Austrian and the French wars; was discharged 'Wunden
und Schulden halber'-, taught music and painted walls in America;
returned and was employed by the government in administrative
work by his native dikes (Hardesvogt on the lonely North Sea
island of Pellworm, Kirchspielvogt at Kellinghusen); lived very
penuriously on his literary earnings at Munich and then at or near
Altona. The small pension the Kaiser was persuaded to give him
as the century turned helped him no more than what he earned by
reciting his poetry - and this particularly went against the grain:
'Don't come to my recitation/ he implores a friend, 'it nearly
makes me sick . . . And then people stare at me! Ghastly!' This
pride of race and training allied with genuine bonhomie and readi-
ness to rub shoulders with the roughest people and his openly
expressed disgust with literature as a profession give him a place
apart from the class-proud poets he frequented. He was a Bohem-
ian, but still an aristocrat. There is naturalism enough in his work,
but it is rather the outrightness of a blunt soldier or the free-and-
easy raciness of a hunting gentleman, not a programmatic choice.
Adjutantenritte revealed him as one of the new characters which
Moderne Dichtercharaktere were calling for to create the new verse;
and the new leader was found far from all cenacles, absolutely un-
conscious of iconoclast theory, creating the new style out of the
freshness of his originality. The date of Adjutantenritte is actually
a year before that of Moderne DichtercharaktereĽ; and the strange
thing is that these poems by virtue of their double sense of sym-
bolism - Liliencron is fond of a quizzical glance at death or of a
lighthearted but penetrating reference to man's mutability in the
permanence of nature - point forward beyond the short fashion of
naturalism to the succeeding school of impressionism. There are
also in his work generally the elements otHeirvatkunst. Holsatia non
cantat was an old saying; but Detlev von Liliencron is yet another
in the list (Hebbel, Klaus Groth, Theodor Storm) of poets of the
first rank born and reared in Schleswig-Holstein; and he closely
follows Theodor Storm (as Timm Kroger and Gustav Frenssen
follow him) as a delineator of his native province; the virile mar-
tial note which the title of his first volume announces is doubled
and relieved by the most vivid descriptions of Marscb and Geest,
of the leagues of rolling heather by oozy mud-flats (fatten} bared