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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

neo-romantics is that which he himself weaves into his prologue
to Schnitzler's Anatoh

Also spielen wir Theater\
Spielen unsre eignen Stucke,
Fruhgereift und yjirt und traurig,
Die Komodie unsrer Seele,
Unsres Fuhlens heut und ges tern,
Boser Dinge hubsche Formel,
Glatte Worte, bunte Wder,
Halbes, heimliches Empfinden,
Agonieen, Episoden.. . .

(The greatest of Viennese poets, Grillparzer, also lebensmatt^ had
in his Abschied von Wien stressed the Halbheit of Viennese poets
enervated by the 'summer breath' of that 'Capua der Geister*; 'Man
spricht nicht^ denkt mhl etwa kaum \ Undfublt das Halb-Gedachte*. . .
'Man lebt in balber Poesie, \ Gefdhrlich fur die gan^e . . . *)

What the spirit of poetry should be Hofmannsthal defines in his
Gesprach uber Gedlcbte; 'eine AhnungdesBlubens, ein Schauder des Ver-
msens^ einjet^t, ein Hierund^ugkich einjenseits, ein ungeheures Jenseits*.
And indeed what we do get in his work - particularly in his lyrics -
is such a linking of bloom and decay, a questioning of the present
life and fear of what may follow, 'blank misgivings of a creature
moving about in worlds unrealized'., expressed often enough with
the naive wistful wonderment of Maeterlinck.

Hofmannsthal, world-famous as a dramatist, is essentially a lyric
poet, even in his dramas. And yet his collected poems {Gesamtnelte
Gedichte, 1907; Nachlese der Gedicbte, 1934) make slender volumes.
The craftsmanship is masterly: the blank verse has a gentle, low-
toned dignity, the Spanish trochees softly glide and glitter, and
above all the interlacing ter%e rime solemnly weave a web of ques-
tion or description bound together by a majestic final line. As in
ballade des ausseren Lebens:

Und Kinder wachsen auf mit tiefen Augen>
Die von nichts wissen, wacbsen auf und sterben,
Und die Menschen gehen ihrer Wege.

Undsusse Fruchte werden aus den herben
Und fallen nachts me Me Vbgel nieder
Und liegen wenig Tage und verderben.