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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

Il8                  MODERN  GERMAN   LITERATURE

She belonged to a patrician family long settled at Bingen on the
Rhine; near the family mansion was the house where Stefan George
grew up, and this poet was a frequent visitor to her home after
she had proved to him that she could understand his poetry. When,
therefore, Dehmel took leave of Frau Auerbach, after a visit which
lasted two and a half hours, it is not surprising that he promised
to read Stefan George's books. What he really thought of fart
pour I'art we know from his essay Horer und Dichter in Retrachtungen*
It was a dramatic coincidence that the only time he met Stefan
George was on the doorstep of Frau Auerbach's house: he was
coming, George was departing. And when, afterwards, Frau Ida
wrote to George that she was interested in Dehmel, she received
the withering reply: 'Wenn einer anfdngt schon %u finden, was dem
andern gemein ist, dann ist es Zeit %um Abschiednehmen? The months
which followed were productive: this love for another man's wife
inspired Dehmel with poems such as Reschwichtigung, Enthullung,
Drama^ Warnung^ Drohmg, Hans im Gliick, and the delightfully
humorous Schneeflocken - it has just the magic of snowflakes falling.
Paula and Frau Auerbach met, and tried to be friends. Then Con-
sul Auerbach went bankrupt and his wife went to live in the
house next to that of the Dehmels; Dehmel had prepared this new
home for her. The manage a trois was of short duration; Dehmel
once again fled to Hamburg, and this time he was fetched back
by two women. In the end Dehmel fled with Frau Isi, and when
divorced married her (igoi).1

The poems inspired by the wooing and winning of Frau Isi
may easily be detected in Weib und Welt (1896). Such lyrics as
Mannesbangen are electric with passion. There is a curious Oriental
effect - torrid desert and on the far rim wafting palms - in Rjtf
and Beriickung. Wirrsalz&di Der gute Hirte - in the latter the poet is
Jacob calling to Leah and Rachel - defend the triangle arrange-
ment with frankness and shameless humour. Some of the lyrics
of the volume date from an earlier period. Of these the most sig-
nificant is Die Harfe: the roaring wind strikes its wild music from
the dark pine-wood, as the wind of primeval passion stirs the
deeps of Dehmel's soul: 'Icb habe mit Inbrunsten jeder Art \ mich
^wischen Gott und Tier herumgeschlagen? In the present edition of
Weib und Welt, too, those lovely lyrics find place which render
moods of dusk and night (Ddmmer- undNachtgedichte) - Helle Nacbt,
1 His justification is frankly stated in No. 241 of Ausmvahlte Briefe.