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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

COSMIC   IMPRESSIONISTS   AND   EPIC   INFINITIES     245

harpooned whale*. In intent the tale satirizes (drastically!) Swiss
polite society and cultural clubs (Pseuda is president of Idealia),
and Spitteler romps over the remembered bitternesses of his early
journalistic struggles when, after he had thrown off his parson's
cassock and returned from a spell of tutoring in Russia, he wrote
as Felix Tandem, This combative tone had already run riot in his
volume of critical essays Lachende Wahrhelten (1898).

MAX(IMILIAN) DAUTHENDEY (1867-1918) as a boy at Wiirzburg
reminds one of Ferdinand FreiUgrath, Germany's classic of exotic
poetry, who sat on a clerk's stool at Amsterdam dreaming of
yellow African sands and lithe lions gliding to reeded lagoons to
pounce on gazelle and giraffe; but before Dauthendey could begin
to realize his dreams of the far away he had to serve seven years
in the photographer's business of his father. His novel ILaub-
menschen secured him his freedom, and the rest of his life was
spent in travel the world over until he died at Java, where he had
been interned, in 1918, shortly before the end of the War (his
letters to his wife had been detained by the British censor but,
when released, were published in 1930 as iMicb ruft dim Bild). He
contributed to the first Fo/ge of Blatter fur du Kunst poems which al-
ready have that reading of soul into colours (VerseelmgderFarben)
which is his special mark. He wrote the poems of his first volume
of verse, Ultra Vwktf1 (1893), on the Swedish coast, ignorant of
the language of the country, in isolation which Rilke might have
envied; and in this solitude, he says, 'Farbensangen und das Schn<eigen
der scbwar^en Walder wurde tonende Wonmn. ... * His intense sensi-
tiveness to impressions of nature - in the 'stiff light' and 'steel-blue
silence' of the landscape-explains the extravagant melange des genres
of his early verse: he makes perfumes and colours sing and sigh
and lisp and winds burn. This experimental synaesthesia makes
Dauthendey the most technically impressionist of his contempor-
aries : as a trick rider he may ride his horse to death but in the
history of literature he does as a colourist make a record. There
is sometimes a magic of mood in his grouping of *satte Farbm*:

Weinrot brennen Gewitterwinde,
purpurblau der Seer and.
Hya^infhentief die feme Kfiste.

1 The title is a reminiscence of X-rays, which were discovered at his native
Wiirzburg.