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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

STEFAN   GEORGE  AND   HIS   CIRCLE                 151

feet pass like a regiment of grenadiers doing the goose-step. Mar-
vellous, too, is the way the cold breath of his pride or the wither-
ing hiss of his scorn chills his lines, particularly his blank verse:
it is a commonplace to refer to his eisige Blankverse. His stanzas
have generally the insulation of his individual lines, though over-
flow of stanza into stanza (StrophenversMingung) does occur (e.g.
in the first poem of Der Teppicb des Lebens). Every stanza is as a
rule a separate entity; if for instance we examine Wirschreiten auf
und ab im reichen flitter we can, as Schaeffer shows, transpose the
first and last stanzas without changing the effect of the poem.

Of the Georgeans (die Georgeaner] it might be said that, with
the exception of Gundolf perhaps, only those who moved away
from the Circle achieved a permanent place in literature. KARL
WOLFSKEHL (1869-1948), a Jew, hailed from George's Gymnasium
at Darmstadt; he devoted himself at the University to Germanic
philology; his Alteste deutsche Dichtung (edited in conjunction with
Friedrich von der Leyen), and his epics (Wolfdietrich, Tbors Hammer]
are evidence of these studies.1 LUDWIG KLAGES (1872-1956) philo-
sophized and (like Ernst Bertram) went Nordic; his Diepsjcbologi-
schen ILrrungenschaften Niet^sches is important. FRIEDRICH WOLTERS
(1876-1930) specialized as an adapter of old hymns, psalms, and
sequences, but counts most for his monumental work on George
and the Circle. ERNST BERTRAM (1884-1957), Professor of German
literature at Cologne, is the only one of the Circle who found
favour with Nazi critics; and this because of his racial correctness.
George's own racial attitude was, as we have seen, suspected: he
had said that he had fled from the claws of the damp dragons of
the North to drink in the sun of the South (Dort sog icb sonne \
Nach einer fiucht am feuchter drachen krallen) and in EJseintafeln he
had bidden his Germans talk of the New Empire only when his
own fiery blood,, his Roman breath ^mein romischer hauch*} coursed
through their obtuse and obstinate souls; it is pretty clear that he
himself as a Rhinelander dreamed of bringing the mellow culture
of the Romance races to his benighted brethren. Ernst Bertram
defected from this sunny doctrine and discovered the stars of hope
in Nordic night and mist: in the poetry of his Das Nornenbuch
(1925) he bodies forth the qualities of Teutonic culture, and seeks
to renew Nordic myth. In his book of essays Deutsche Gestalten
(1934) he brilliantly interprets Stifter, Nietzsche, and Kleist. But
1 Gesammdte Dichtungen (1903).