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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

284                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

and his mother live as lovers. The kernel of the book is the con-
ception of the mother: of her a boy has two images, one physical,
the other ideal; in this novel the ideal image is transferred to
Demian's mother, to Trau Eva', i.e. any mother, the mother of all;
and the story ends with a promise that she will come to Sinclair
when wanted - incest in symbol, since Sinclair and Demian are
respectively the timid or angelic and the aggressive or demonic
aspects of one character. The conception is a daring and delicate
symbolization of the all-folding, cradling function of motherhood
and motherliness: that creeping to breasts is one instinct in child-
hood and maturity, and in a woman's embrace man is always a
child; any child's mother is his wife to be; any man's wife is his
mother and ideal, whose brooding face has called him from the
deeps to her bosom; 'mother' is alpha and omega, the far fountain
spring and the vast safe harbour of love. The new morality in a
world now breaking in pain through the shell must (as music does
already) harmonize the two worlds, sundered at present by con-
vention: love + sex, mothers vampire, man-f beast, God 4-devil.
Siddhartha (1922) is permeated with the Indian quietism with which
Hesse had made himself familiar when, in 1911, he had fled
from *die VerrohungunsererKultur9 to India. The novel is an attempt
to weave what is on the face of it Indian philosophy, but is in the
heart of it a considered Bolshevization of morality, stage by stage,
into the story of a boy's relations to his father and the world.
Siddharta is the completion of Demian: as in Demian one person-
ality is split into halves (angel and demon), so it is in the later novel
into the ever-seeking Siddharta and his friend Govinda, who is
obedient to doctrine (heterodox and orthodox). In Demian boy
moves ever nearer to mother as the centre of emotion; in Siddharta
boy moves ever farther away from father, for a boy's experience of
life is newer and therefore more true than the faded experience
of a father; in mother boy surrenders self, for love absorbs all to
create anew; he finds himself away from father (the son-father
motive of expressionism explained by psycho-analysis). The hero
of Hesse's novel Der Steppenwolf (1927), Harry Haller, an artist,
calls himself 'the wolf of the steppes': the steppes are the wastes
of existence in which the artistic temperament is shut out from
the peace and comfort normal beings enjoy (the smell of furniture
polish which he sniffs as he passes the first-floor flat on his way to
his lonely attic rooms reminds him of the lost world, the world of