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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

STEFAN  GEORGE  AND   HIS   CIRCLE                133

ship to the respective periods and read themselves into what of
these vanished ages they recalled to life, George (in intention)
re-creates them out of his submerged consciousness and puts them
before us in the actuality of their ideals, that is, as they were. If this
were true we could not reckon George with Platen and Riickert
as one of ' die forcierten Tahnte*\ there would be nothing forced in
these rebirths. The arrangement is that of a triple cycle of poems;
and the strophic form and metres of each part are intended to
convey those of the three periods re-created. That they actually do
so is not likely to be admitted by scholars: the pastoral poems re-
semble those of the French neo-hellenists (e.g. Henri de Regnier);
while of the medieval poems only Tagelied'has the shape and melody
of a Minnelied - but not of a Tagelied. Characteristically Georgean
in the Hirfen- und Preisgedichte are two pen-pictures of Greek
youths, Der ~BJnger and Der Saitenspieler. The wrestler passes in the
pride of his naked body, and does not see even his parents in the
cheering crowd; and of the curly-headed lute-player -when he has
sung the boys dream, silently suffering and sleepless under the
stars. Der Aus*ytg der Erstlinge, in iambic trimeters, indicates the
ethic purpose of the book: to show in ancient Greece the unity of
God, man, and world, with an implied contrast of the religious,
political and moral disharmony of the poet's own day; Greek
youths on whom the lot has fallen accept their fate and depart to
seek a new home. In all the variety of Greek life which the poems
unfold there is a unity ordained by the gods, controlled by the
state, and accepted by the people; as one might say - and this
Georgean interpretation of a model state (in two senses) as a
totalitarian contentment with what has been commanded from
above was seized on in the Hitler period. George's historization
of self appears again in the stately blank verse of Der Herr der
Inseh fishermen relate that upon an island rich in spice and oil a
bird with wings 'dyed as with ichor of the Tyrian snail' would by
day hide in the forests and by night stray to the shore, and there
sing so sweetly that dolphins, those friends of song, would swim
landwards. But when, by happy guidance, white-winged ships
found this island the bird made his moan and died. It is the legend
of the poet who sings only in solitude and only to the lovers of
song - not to the Phoenicians, Gundolf asserts that in the central
series of lyrics, Sagen tmdSange, George by sheer intuition has cap-
tured the mystic essence of the Middle Ae-es. whereas the medieval