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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NOVEL  OF   IMPRESSIONISM                  309

with his daughter Bellona. Tolleben is stated in the novel to be
'like Bismarck'. The agitation of the industrialists, supported by
Admiral von Fischer, to make the fleet strong enough to annihilate
the British fleet is a vital element of the intrigue: England and
France are under the thumb of the Jews, and hence are the deadly
foes of Germany. Round these pillars of the State flit and flash
two glittering scamps, Terra and Mangold. Mangold marries Bel-
lona, becomes secretary to Graf Lannas, and rises to be Chancellor.
Terra personally advises the Kaiser to abolish the death penalty:
then it will not be possible to charge him with lusting for mass
murder by means of war. The Kaiser is at first impressed, but then
replies in very vulgar German. When the War is lost Terra and
Mangold, in 1918, die a picturesque death: linking arms, they
shoot each other and fall in the shape of a cross, to the music of
a military band playing outside. In spite of the political filth the
novel would be comparatively clean if it were not for the women
- of the key characters as stated. The verdict must be that as a
cross-word puzzle the cycle is exhausting, while as fiction it is too
dirty even for real life. In his preface to Die grosse Sache (1931),
which continues the political and social novels, Heinrich Mann
expatiates on his conception of the Bekenntnisrowan: a novel, he
says, should always be a sort of confession made by the author to
himself but also to his contemporaries. The action is compressed
into a period of three days.

Nothing could be more different from the whipped haste and
the darting radiance of Heinrich Mann's style than the quiet flow
and the guarded flame of THOMAS MANN'S (1875-1955) writings.
The ever-recurring theme in his tales (short and long) is the glar-
ing contrast between the normal man (der Burger), who is fit to
live (lebenstuchtig), and the artist or poet (der Kmst/er), who is not
fit to live (lebensuntuchtig, 'unheilbar unburgerlicff}. Thomas Mann's
artist is another version of Schnitzler's over-ripe decadent; but
whereas Schnitzler's creature dies under kisses as under a gradual
anaesthetic, Thomas Mann's artist is tortured by the inescapable
contemplation of his normal fellow-men with blue eyes and the
rosy glow of health and no self-consciousness. The 'citizen* is
cased in his insensitive skin as in thick armour; he lives a charmed
life, while the artist, to whom beauty is full of arrows, is assailed
and driven despairing into the lonely corners of self-contempt.
The artist is shut out inexorably from life; he is an outcast, a