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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

the great literary critic of the Circle was FRIEDRICH GUNDOLF (1880-
193i), a Darmstadt man, and like Wolfskehl a Jew (his real name
was Gundelfinger). He joined the Circle in 1899 as a nineteen-
year-old very handsome boy with a mop of blue-black hair and
a nose only imperceptibly vaulted, and beneath a broad brow
brilliant bright blue eyes with the flat pupils of eagles (to quote
the Georgeous description of Wolters). His criticism is perhaps
too dazzlingly subtle and intricate to stand the test of time; and
he is apt, as in his George (1920), to prove in philosophically tech-
nical language, in which only a Hegelian could find flaws, his
monumental conception of the idol in the worship of whom he
erects his own monument. He is a schoolman (Scholastiker\ ar-
moured with authority, but with a poet's verbal magic: and the
term 'heroic criticism'1 is fitting because of Gundolf's relinquish-
ment of creative poetry to create an interpretation of it which is,
or is intended to be, of equal artistic value. His Georgean trans-
lation of Shakespeare (Shakespeare in deutscher Sprache, 10 vols.,
1908-14) fails because it is Georgean.

RUDOLF BORCHARDT (1877-1945) was rather a meticulous stylist
of the Georgean pattern than one of the Georgeans proper, with
whom indeed he carried on an embittered feud. As such formalists
are apt to do, he pondered his work till ripe maturity; it was not
till after the War that he released his tours de force \ his epic of
chivalry Der Durant (1921), in which a knight sinks from the over-
refined subtleties of courtly love to the low level oinideriu mmne\
his translation of Dante's Vita nuova into a kind of Middle High
German was followed by his rendering in the same lingo of the
Divina Commedia^ which was published in 1930 as Dante Deutsch\
Verkundigmg (1920), his dramatic challenge to Paul Claudel's
Uannonce faite a Marie \ his pastoral play in alexandrines, Die
geliebte Kleinigkeit (1923).  But he had already expounded his
new conception of classical style in Gesprach uber Formen (1905;
attached to his translation of Plato's Lysis) and in his 'Kede uber
Hofmannsthal (1918), while in his Biblical experiment Das Bitch
]oram (1907) he had exemplified his programme of classical form
achieved by a mastery of archaic language. His essays (Handlungen
und Abhandlungen, 1928) have laboured brilliance. His interpreta-

1 Shakespeare und der deutsche Geist (1911); Holderlins Archipelagus (1911);
Goethe (1916); KJeist (1922); Casar (1924); Paracelsus (1927); Shakespeare. Sem
Wesen undsein Werk (1928); Romantiker (1930).