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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

248                  MODERN  GERMAN  LITERATURE

sketch is merely curious that of Klabund is both a fragile re-
creation of the willow-pattern conception of China and at the same
time a deeply suggestive symbolization of its effacement by Bol-
shevist ideas from the barbaric West, the dissipation of the delicate
webs of dream by alien and brute thought. In Die acht GesichUr am
Biwasee there is not the faint distortion or mockery of the typical
cbinoiserie; all is flower-like and mdrchenhaft^ miniature but intense.
One might be tempted to class the tales zsjaponiaiseries; for, after
all, there must be crude reality even in Japan; and (e.g.) Dauthen-
dey's idealization of the Yoshiwara or hive of geishas' love-booths
bears the same relation to the night-life in Tokio as the barcarolle
tune does to the green grease of Venetian canals. Nevertheless
these dream-visions of Japanese life, with their sleepy incoherence
and softly gliding rhythm, do at least give the delight that legend
gives. The tale which closes the collection shows the author's
hand; by exposing the conflict that must necessarily arise when a
German woman marries a Japanese he makes it clear that the tales
are studies of the physiological functions of love in Japan, set off
against landscape and custom, with (apparently) the moral that
the Japanese marriage, in which the woman loses herself in her
lord, is the ideal marriage. The stories of Geschichten aus den mer
Winden (1915) handle for the most part strange problems of Euro-
pean psychology in the conflicts of love, the relation of the soul
to the shadow it casts, the illusory beauty of reflection set against
the plain solidity of reality, the revelation by dream-vision of
fleshly passions as unclean antediluvian beasts; the insistent main
theme is that of the caged soul, tortured, dying, or escaping in fan-
tastic dreams or music. Only one tale of this collection - Himalaya-
finsternis - is Oriental; it is notable for its ghostlike rendering of
the district round Darjeeling, and for its symbolization of the
sexual process by the doubling of a tiny Tibetan amulet - a female
affixed in climbing posture to her man - with Everest and Kan-
chenjunga, gigantic figures draped in problematic mists which, as
they shift, reveal snowy breast and clasping arm rose-hued in the
first flush of dawn.

The most sky-wrapt and astronomical of the cosmic impres-
sionists is THEODOR DAUBLER (1876-1934). As a native of Trieste
he was as familiar with Italian as with German; hence the Italian
colouring in his work (according to Kasimir Edschmid it has the
silvery shading of the Dalmatian coast). He has sketched his auto-