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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

jC)2                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

its 'most pregnant moment', that is, at the moment when all the
meaning of the action has most significance for the purpose of art.
If, therefore, Rilke was right in thinking that Rodin manages to
suggest progression in his fixed pregnant moment, then Rodin's
sculpture gives the lie to Lessing's sharp division between plastic
art and poetry, and Rilke continued the disproval by looking at
the object of his poern with a sculptor's eye and suggesting pro-
gression to and from the pregnant moment or crisis, or fixed
object in space into which he reads the stirrings of a soul, by
projecting such a moment into a magic light. But he does more
than that: to the magic light in which he bathes the picture he
adds the suggestiveness of his subtle music. Theoretically then -
and Rilke was no doubt aware of the possibilities of his melange
des genres - the poems he aims at creating are, literally, a synthesis
of philosophy, plastic art, music, and poetry. Whether the inten-
tion is or is not realized is another matter - if not, then Lessing's
relentless mathematical reasoning still holds; but certainly the
fascination of Rilke in his maturity does lie in a glimpsing, how-
ever baffling, of manifold meaning.

These poems of Rilke in which he applies his new aesthetics are
today classed as 'Dinggedichte\ The term was coined by Hermann
Pongs in Eupborion> Vol. 32, 1931; he says: 'Sern eigentumliches,
plastischesFormidealdrangtdahm, "Dinge^umachen", "Wirklicbkeiten,
die aus dem Handwerk bervorgeben" (Briefe III, 119)... Kem Sichwerfen
in die Icbgefuble mehr me in der Fruhlyrik, vielmehr ein Abseben vom Ich,
das sich steigert bis ^um Abseben vom M.enscblicben uberhaupfy um die
Atmospbdre der Dinge gan^ ecbt %u geben, ""Dinggedichte" so^usagen.
Nicbt am mcbselnden lELindruck baftet er me der Impressionist\ er sucbt
das Wesen wit alien Seinsbe^iigen, die jedes Ding erst %um Phdnomen

Pongs with his 'Absehen vom IcW refers to another salient feature
of Aw Poems. Rilke has here completed his progression from per-
sonal lyricism to the depersonalized realization of things. (Oskar
Walzel1 sees in what he calls 'Entichmg der LyriM a characteristic
of recent lyric verse, e.g. in that of Daubler, Werfel, and Trakl.)
The elimination of personal feeling had of course been one of the
imperative demands of the French Parnassians; but one has only
to compare New Gedichie with Richard von Schaukal's more or
less Parnassian poems to realize that Rilke's depersonalized reality
1 Deufsehe Uteratttr ssit Goetbes Tode.