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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

102                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

und Hoffmmgen - Werdende.' And over all a God who has never
been defined, who eternally transforms Himself and grows A
God who ripens stage by stage with the ripening of those who
seek Him. And Rilke believes that he must now ripen himself by
ripening the God within him: his God will only be great if he
himself is great.

At Florence Rilke had met the painter Heinrich Vogeler, and
at his invitation he visited Worpswede, a village in the flat heath-
land (Moordorf} near Bremen; here a colony of artists had gathered
whose ideals touch those of the impressionists: influenced by Julius
Langbehn's Rembrandt alsEr^ieher (pp. 444-5), they regarded them-
selves as the heralds of a new spirit which should regenerate the
intellectual life of Germany by freeing it from the miasmas of city
life. Vogeler contributed to impressionism by his book illustra-
tions, and the Worpswede artists point forward to Hematkunst-.
one of them, Fritz Mackensen, proclaimed: 'der rechte Kunstkr kann
gar nicht lokal genug sein\ They specialized in heaths and silver
birches, and the far vistas of the North German plain, in which
Rilke thought he might recapture his Russian sensations of dis-
tance and infinity. At Worpswede Rilke met a young sculptress,
Clara Westhoff, whom he married in the spring of 1901. A daughter
was born in December, but in the following May they separated;
there were financial difficulties (publishers refused to lend on pros-
pects) ; and in any case Rilke's incapacity for wedded life stands
out stark and clear from his correspondence. But the two remained
friends, and met occasionally; the daughter married Carl Sieber,
the editor of the poet's letters. Rilke was doomed by his restless
nature to be a homeless wanderer over the face of the earth; but
from his homelessness he drew the mood of some of his most
poignant writing. Life in common with the artists of Worpswede
had turned his mind to consideration of the nature of art, par-
ticularly of sculpture; his wife had been a pupil of Rodin in Paris,
and Rilke began to surmise that in Rodin he had discovered his
pattern. He stayed in Paris from August, 1902, to March, 1903,
returned repeatedly, and in due course lived in Rodin's house at
Meudon as the sculptor's secretary. In his first stay in Paris Rilke
suffered acutely from the noise of the city; he had the sensation of
being run over by vehicles. To his wife he wrote: 'Mich dngstigm
die vielen Hospitaler^ die hier uberall sind. Ich verstehe^ warum sie hi
Verlaine^ bei'BauddaireundMallarmeimmerfortvorkommen. Mansieht