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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NOVEL  OF   IMPRESSIONISM                   285

mahogany, early rising, duty, mother). There can be no harmony
when one is two, wolf and man, with the wolf snarling at the man.
The man loves Mozart, poetry, ideals, peace; the wolf has wild
urges, but in the higgledy-piggledy of society the wolf is penned
with the sheep (the genius lives in contiguity with an alien crowd,
and must adapt himself - or be slaughtered). Really one is more
than two: personality is divided into chess-pieces: the individual
has a multiple personality, he is wolf, tiger, monkey, bird of Para-
dise, and these are suppressed by wolf as wolf is suppressed by
Burger. Hermann, the friend of Haller's youth, is Hermine, who
casts over him the spell of the hermaphrodite; she (he) is also the
fresh and uncrumpled Pierrot with whom he dances. The mystic
union of joy is the merging of personality in the mass: a fox-trot
mingles us in a mass and makes us one. Haller is shown a mirror
in which he sees himself as Haller and wolf of the steppes, each
trying to devour the other: he is told that in order to extinguish
the reflection he has only to laugh at it (humour begins when we
learn not to take ourselves seriously). The novel ends in a medley
of interfused symbolic craziness, like a film in which one picture
is shot through another. There is a Magic Theatre, admission to
which is by a trifling suicide; the doors of the closed boxes bear
the legend: 'Alle Mddchen sind dein: Einwurf erne Mark? (==all the
girls I love are mine, for spirit pierces spirit). Mozart (a genius
who - pigtail and girlish grace and Rococo - had harmonized the
artist's and middle-class life) turns somersaults and plays trills with
his heels; Haller pulls Mozart's pigtail, it lengthens, and carries
Haller into icy space. Mozart appears again in evening dress, tin-
kers up a wireless set, and remarks that radio, though it projects
music where it does not belong, does not destroy it: as radio
cheapens the sublime, so does life in this Magic Theatre ('mrfiir
Verruckte'} of the world: the lesson is to laugh at it, not destroy it.
With this consoling thought - ethe gallows humour of life' -
suicide is not necessary. Hesse's next novel, Nar^/ss und Goldmmd
(1930) is perhaps his masterpiece; it is at all events fascinating
with its soft rhythm and its patient unravelling of psychic compli-
cations. Here again we have the old German progress from tump
to #>úr; the result is the proof, not that cloistered purity is the divine
ideal, but that the life of the senses as much as the ascetic's flight
from reality is service to the divine purpose - all ways lead to God.
The dualism of existence is interpreted as a conflict of the paternal