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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

COSMIC   IMPRESSIONISTS   AND   EPIC   INFINITIES     243

to present an entirely new mythical cosmology which should pro-
vide humanity, emancipated from the swathing folds of religions
outworn, with a new doctrine in lyrically tensile sung rhythms.
The salient feature is that cthe singer' with his ever changing names
is always Mombert; thus the Aeon of the dramas is the Sfaira of
the two final rhapsodies (or - since we have Gesang and Gegensang -
symphonies): Sfaira der Alte (1936) is the last work published in
Germany, while Sfaira der Alte, Zmiter Teil was published at
Winterthur by the poet's Swiss friend who had ransomed him
from a vile concentration camp in the south of France to care for
him for the few months of life that remained to him. This second
part had been partially written in the concentration camp and was
completed at Winterthur. Into it he had woven, while still keeping
the mood and music of his 'unnabbare Sage\ the moving story of
his arrest in 1940 in his Heidelberg home and of his Abtransport:
into the hall of books steps *Strammer> ein feister fang-Damon^ |
drobnender Scbritt - : er tritt heran, | aus der Gurgel vorstmdelt ibm
bkcbern Gerassel, | fliisterfs herab in Sfair as linkes Ohr: | "Wirst nocb
heute der Halle entscbreiten  | wrden den Sfaira geleiten | aus dem
Bficher-Saal in Damon-Weiten" ? The quintessence of Mombert is
offered by himself in Der hi?tt??iliscbe Zecher (1909; selections from
four books) and the enlarged version published 1952, completed
by the poet just before World War II from seven books. One
should have the imagination with which Francis Thompson credits
Shelley to run wild over the fields of ether with Alfred Mombert,
to tumble about in the reek of chaos, with one's head between the
lances of the lightning, and to see the butterfly moon, diamond-
green, floating over the skies. But even the too wary reader might
pick out broken fancies from the litter of Mombert's creation, and
take a joy in their uncanny evocations. Today there is a new con-
ception of Mombert as a man: the impression created by his verse
had been that he was a monkish recluse. But in his early lyrics a
sensual note now and then pierces through; and in a recent book,
Alfred Mombert. Briefe an RichardundIda DehmeKiy^G) we find him
as a successful barrister and later as a man of means travelling far
and wide, and as a trenchant critic of the poetry of his day, includ-
ing that of his best friend Dehmel. The letters to Frau Isi (p. 117),
which reach from 1897 to 1942, ring with the ardour of a passion-
ate love. With the help of this correspondence the personal (and
one may say human) touches in Mombert's verse can be detected;