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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NOVEL  OF   IMPRESSIONISM                   281

discipline is sheer idiocy. Life, not school, forms character, is the
moral of Strauss's work generally. As a contrast to Heiner - the
German dreamer in the cruel grip of life - there is the figure of an
active rebel, a boy poet who has read Darwin; he has been ex-
pelled from one school, and scamps the dull routine of the second
simply because it is too slow and pedantic for his quick and
practical mind. This boy will surmount his fate. In Kreu^ungen
(1904) the way to a true life is opened out; the hero throws up his
post to live, without marrying her, with a girl who is pregnant by
him. But passion fades; and when the girl realizes that merely a
sense of duty is chaining the man to her she makes way, with
cool determination, for another woman. Love is a hard test of
character; what matters is not the wrong sort of experience, but
the will to get over it. Der nackte Mann (1912) is a historical novel
of Strauss's native town of Pforzheim; the theme is the struggle,
at the beginning of the seventeenth century, between Calvinists
and Lutherans. Das Riesenspiefyeug (1935), with its anti-Socialist
and anti-Marxist virus, belongs to Nazi Blut- und Eodenliteratur.
The 'giant toy' is a farm in the Black Forest, and the hero turns
from the culture of the schools to the nation-serving life of farm
and field. Strauss's Novellen have readability (Menschenwege, 1898;
Hans und Crete, 1910; Der Schhier - by common consent a master-
piece - 1931).

It is customary to pair Emil Strauss with HERMANN HESSE
(1877- ). Both are Swabians - Hesse from Calw in Wiirttemberg;
and both are vagabonds in sunny climes - Hesse is almost as
Italianate as Paul Heyse or Isolde Kurz. He also to begin with
shows the impress of pre-naturalistic models (e.g. of Gottfried
Keller in the irony of Peter Camen^ind and the first two collections
of Novellen); here, however, the radical difference between Strauss
and Hesse emerges - whereas Strauss hammers his characters out
of hard dramatic experience Hesse, who has the morbidity of the
true neo-romantics, dreams his characters into soft lyric moods
and leads them gently through pain and pleasure to the peace of
death. Moreover, Hesse develops - his later novels are finely philo-
sophical and psycho-analytical; while Strauss remains the preacher
of salvation by hard knocks. Strauss ends as a purveyor of Nazi
doctrine; Hesse in later years was treated, somewhat gently, as a
diseased and spineless Nordic who uses that Jewish infamy of
psycho-analysis to undermine the sanity of his race.