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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

NEO- CLASSICISM                                 267

course the naive contrast of qualities of Victor Hugo but an in-
tensely philosophical and dramatic conflict of the physical and the
spiritual; his 'sideriaP and ftellurian' cycle of sonnets typify this
periodic occupation with sky-hung ideals followed by their real-
ization on the satisfying earth, and his dramas and tales fall into
siderial and tellurian groups. His aesthetics can be picked out of
his two novels Das dritte ILeich (1921; rechristened Die Stadt des
'Ellas Ho!!, 1938) and Meta Koggenpoord (1926). In Das dritte Reich
a seventeenth-century sculptor goes from his native Liibeck to
Italy, is overcome by the art of the South and flees to the North,
and in Augsburg works at a I^ucretia. His first Lucretia is a hot
Southern dame with the will to sex and death; his second a crabbed
Nordic being laden with earthiness; his third an embodiment of
North and South, form and beauty and will to truth as well,
Jenseitigkeit and Diesseitzgkeif. The dualism of naivete and cerebral-
ism in art Franck represents by contrasting his Gedanken-Denker
from Augsburg with a Dinge-Denker  an artisan who tirelessly
produces; perhaps, Franck asks, there is a 'Third Empire', in
which Thought-Thinker and Thing-Thinker are one? This dis-
cussion is continued in Meta Koggenpoord, and we see that the
handling of the problem in the two books is poignantly personal:
he whose productivity has been hampered by meticulous thought
has now, settled as he is by the shores of his Mecklenburg lake,
found the synthesis he had longed for. His heroine Meta Koggen-
poord is a portrait of the painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (p. 322,
note), who painted simple things full of eternity, real things in
which reality is transfigured. Here we have Hans Franck's rejec-
tion of naturalism as mere transcription of phenomena and of
expressionism as mere preaching of ideas. The 'Third Realm' of
artistic creation is this synthesis of soil and radiance, this irradi-
ation of Sein and Schein^ this radiance which is itself the meaning
and the interpretation of the thing. Such syncretism, too, is the
aim of a later novel, Sebastian: Der Gottsucher (1949), the hero of
which, first a Catholic and then a Lutheran, renounces both these
dogmas to dream of a Church in which all that is basically true in
all religions shall meet and fuse. Franck's dramas are helped by
his technical knowledge of the stage acquired as Dranmfarg at the
Diisseldorf Schauspielhaus -he threw up this post when the Rhine-
land was occupied by foreign troops, and settled in Mecklenburg.
His first group of plays are siderial. Her^og Heinrichs Hetmksbr