Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats

THE  NOVEL  OF  IMPRESSIONISM                  289

1922), an autobiographical novel on the scale and pattern of
Keller's Dergrune Heinrich. In DerBote Gottes (1911) he goes back
to the Thirty Years War. Der Dechant von GottesMren (1917) reflects
his reactions to the First Great War. Religious problems provide
the woof and weft of the trilogy Johannes (1922), Die Junglings^eit
des Johannes Schattenbold (1930), Erne deutsche Wanderschaft (1933).
The great city is the background of Der Mensch Krone (1928). By
the prominence he gives in his novels to the clash of Catholicism
and Protestantism in Switzerland Schaffrier ranges himself along-
side Enrica von Handel-Mazzetti. He has attempted popular his-
tory in his Geschichte der schwei^erischen 'Eidgenossenschajten (1915).
Ironic handling of life is the salient element in the novels of the
two cousins, Friedrich Huch and Rudolf Huch; but since the
literary clan of the Huchs - Ricarda Huch is Rudolf's sister - have
their home centre at Brunswick it is natural that in their case the
influence of Wilhelm Raabe should supplement that of Gottfried
Keller. There is an implied didacticism in the novels of FRIEDRICH
HUGH (1873-1913), but it is not conveyed with the breezy direct-
ness of Emil Strauss, it shines forth rather from a subtle quizzical
treatment of human frailty and futility and would be scurrilous if
it were not so sly. Born in Brunswick he studied philology, and
was a tutor in various families. His first novel, Peter MtM(ic>oi),
has affinities with Hermann Hesse's Peter Camens(md\ in both a
dreamer of the feminine type - Peter Michel is obviously once
again *der deutsche Michel' - is disillusioned by life, and is shown
in the closing pages as a smug, contented Philistine. In Hesse's
novel, it is true, the hero is exceptional, a died-out artist, while
Peter Michel is any German, or indeed any normal being any-
where who sees the dreams of his youth fade into the light of
common day. That this common man we all know is represented
in the novel by a teacher is part of the satire; and since Friedrich
Huch was himself a teacher by trade he should know the depths
of dullness of this profession; to a teacher reading the sad story
the consolation must be that there is the spice of poetry in Peter
- before he is ruined by routine and environment. Peter Michel is
the usual scholarship boy who rises to be a secondary teacher;
incidentally the description of school life is more life-like than in
the other novels which show up the Philistinism of academic exis-
tence - the teachers are humdrum enough, but the headmaster
here, though wrapped in routine and cramped by cant, displays