(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NOVEL   OF   IMPRESSIONISM                  305

have been classified as TSekenntnis- undl$ildungsromam\ in their pages
the author reveals himself.

The work of the two brothers Heinrich and Thomas Mann has
from first to last this blending of confession and mental evolution,
and at the same time criticism of society, gently ironic in the work
of Thomas, corrosive in that of Heinrich, who has been called the
German Juvenal. The two brothers are scions of an old patrician
family of Liibeck. Their grandmother was a Brazilian Creole, a
skilled musician; she is the 'southern' mother, passionate and
artistic, who in Thomas Mann's novels stands in stark contrast
with the solid and practical German temperament of the men of
the old stock. In Thomas the German temperament prevails and
controls his slow, carefully considered and polished style with its
sad rhythms; in Heinrich the romance blood is credited with the
hectic rush of the sentences, with his gorgeous colouring, and
with his Italianate rut of passion.

HEINRICH MANN (1871-1950) reveals his own personality, parti-
cularly in his Novellen, by those of his characters who are artists
and poets. Mario Mavolto in Pippo Spano (one of the short tales of
Floten und Dolche, 1904-5) is self-portraiture; he is a poet who,
forced to observe life, remains outside it; this disgust with art is
again expressed in Die Gottinnen by the painter to whom it would
be happiness if he could contemplate beauty without having to
paint it. Art is reviled as ca perverse debauch' that enervates its
victim to such an extent that he is incapable of real feeling. Hein-
rich Mann's novels may be divided into two classes; the first class,
the scenes of which are mostly in Germany, are caricature of the
grotesque genre, in intent social criticism and culminating in a
kind of political propaganda; the second class are as a rule local-
ized in Italy, and, though they may be classed as 'Bekenntmsromam*
since they reveal the author's orgiastic mind, are riotous paeans
of life lived at fever heat in a world where common sense and
goodness and pity do not count. Im SMaraffenland (1901) carica-
tures and excoriates the stock-jobbers and literary hacks of Berlin;
it is a picture of Sodom in which all the sinners are not worth a
decent man's kick. The hero, obviously modelled on Maupassant's
Bel Ami, is a litterateur who lives by love, Dhjagdnach Utbe (1904)
transfers these literary orgies to Munich; its most lurid scene is
when an actress who is to play Moana Vanna disrobes herself a&d
finds the man before her dead. Professor Vnrat (1905), well known