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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

FROM   BAHR  TO   DEHMEL                            115

Vernal)m nur noch mit stieren
Sinnen dein Schlusselklirren
im schwar^en Flury und dann
stur^ten auf mich die Schatten,
die mir im Park schon nahten^
als wir den Mond versinken sahn.

Notice the consummate cunning of the imperfect rhymes and the
harsh transitions from iambic to trochaic measure; they produce
the effect of a mind driven frantic. And from now on evocations
of such strange states of mind come to Dehmel, it would seem,

Such poems of passion are, as we have indicated, wedded to
his sexual doctrine; but the source and origin of them is in his
violent over-sexed nature. The sexual doctrine was, as we have
shown, part of the decadent Nietzscheanism of the demonic Pole
Przybyszewski, whose Totenmesse, dedicated to Dehmel, begins:
cAm Anfang war das Geschlecht\ and continues: 'So schuf sich das
Geschlecht endlich das Gebirn.' The biological aspects of sex Dehmel
discussed with his University friend Carl Ludwig Schleich,1 who
was one of a circle (Bierbaum, Hartleben, Przybyszewski) who
entertained Strindberg2 at the Schwar^es Ferkel in the Dorotheen-
strasse in Berlin; and Strindberg's pathological strangeness im-
pressed Dehmel, though their attitude to women was radically
different. Both regarded woman as the eternal peril, but DehmePs
teaching is that man must seek this peril and steel himself by it.
Simply stated: man is only man by woman. But man is for the
world as well as woman; he must grow heroic by woman, but for
the world. Philosophically what matters is not so much Weib as
Welt, and the root of Dehmel's conception of Welt or the cosmos
is of course this defiantly proclaimed sexuality, which, however,
he transfigures in the white heat of his ecstasy into a kind of
religious mysticism ^Wollust %ur Welf}. This sanctificatton of the
sexual instinct as cosmic urge - Dehmel calls himself in an almost
blasphemous image triebselig - might be interpreted as the logical
outcome of Darwin's doctrines electrified by the Dionysiac call to
joy of Nietzsche. According to Dehmel, man is ripest when he is

1 He wrote Von der Seek: Essays (1918) and Besonnte Vergangmheit: Lebens-
erinmrungen 1859-191 g (1922).

2 There is a highly impressionistic portrait of Strindberg (with his 'scbette

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