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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

142                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

This quest of a new God (^Gottsuchertum*} had been an obsession
in Germany from the beginning of the century, and is traceable
to the destruction of the Christian God by Nietzsche (^der Morder
Gottes'} in order to create ca living God'. Nietzsche's new God
was an idea that different writers shaped to their own fashion.
The 'Kosmiker9) George's own runaways, had aimed at making a
new religion of the supremacy of woman, that is, of sex; Dehmel
deified the sexual impulse; in Gerhart Hauptmann the speculation
had taken the form of the interpretation of religious mania; Her-
mann Stehr probed the mystics; H. F. Blunck was later to quest
a new Saxon God; and Thomas Mann in his novels of Jacob was
to show that all religion can be reduced to a simple sex symbolism.
The form this God-seeking took in Dersiebente Ring horrified even
some of the initiates of the Circle. The utter rejection of woman
as divinity was rooted in George's masculine nature, but the ex-
pression of it was no doubt heightened by the divagations of the
Kosmiker. The problem was whether or not Maximin was spirit.
Albert Verwey pointed out that whereas hitherto for George the
divine had been spirit, of which he was the priest, now he claimed
leadership, in a concrete German state, of a defined sect of wor-
shippers. And the God his community was commanded to wor-
ship, Verwey hinted, was a Greek Christ (that is, a beautiful youth
hailed as divine), worshipped - as Christ had been by His disciples
- in the recollection of his presence on earth. To Verwey, Dutch
Protestant as he was (and Englishmen will generally agree with
him), there was something Popish in this setting up of an idol;
and to George's elevation of a mortal above his fellows Verwey
opposed the Dutch doctrine of the equality of all as the very
essence of religion. On the other hand, the worship of the dead
God was accepted by the Circle generally as the logical culmin-
ation of George's God-seeking: in Maximin, they argue, he -like
Nietzsche an enemy of Christianity - creates his own Christ, as a
symbol that any one whose life is consecrated to divine aspiration
may create God in himself. This is accepted mystical doctrine:
*God* is the image of ultimate spiritual goodness created by every
religious individual, and as an image must bear the features of His
creator's individual ideal: hence the Nordic featuring of Christ as
a golden-bearded soft-eyed Vandyke gentleman. But George as a
mystic proper is unthinkable - for he has not stripped his being
of I - indeed he is all 7. His God is thus merely his I projected