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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NOVEL  OF   IMPRESSIONISM                  317

juring her friend's head on to her husband's body, and vice versa,
only to find that the new heads adapt themselves to the bodies on
which they are transposed. Das Gesef% (1944) continues in brief
form the Joseph novels: it is the story of Moses and his passing of
the Red Sea. In Doktor Faustus Mann had outlined the plot of a
musical composition by Leverkiihn: The Birfb of Pope Gregory \ this
points forward to his next novel in chronological order, Der Er-
wahlte (195i), the story of yet another nominal sinner. The source
is the epic Gregorius by the Middle High German poet Hartmann
von Aue, a medieval counterpart of the Greek legend of Oedipus;
that is to say, it is a handling of the involuntary incest theme. The
legend is ironically treated; indeed there are parodistic elements.
DieEetrogene (1953) is a short novel - ironical once again: a widow
of fifty falls in love with a young American whom she has engaged
to teach English to her son; the explanation is that, after reaching
the climacteric, she has a return of menstruation; this she identifies
with a Seelenfruhling, a Neuerbluben (one is reminded of Goethe's
niederholte Pubertaf). She has a renewed sensitiveness to scents;
while out walking she gets a whiff of musk, follows it up, to find
that it is the effluvium of a heap of rotting vegetable matter with
excrements - the womb of nature. Therefore: MvderduftundUebes-
lust. The explanation turns out to be that she is suffering from
cancer of the wromb.

One of the illuminative essays of "Leiden und Grosse der Meister
(1935) deals with Wagner; the others interpret Goethe, Platen,
Storm, and Cervantes. Time itself has played ironically with this
ironist; always (as a born patrician) a conservative - in spite of his
advanced thinking - he defended Germany during the First War
(GedankenimRriege* September 1914) as the embodiment of 'Kultur*
against the mere Zmli^ation' of the allies; and in a further 1914
essay, Friedrich der Grosse unddiegrosseKoalition (published 1915), he
found *the urge of destiny, the spirit of history* in Frederick's
defiance of Europe. Other collections of essays and speeches are
Retrachtungen rims Unpolitischm (1918); Rede md Antwart (1922);
Jtemuhungen (1925); Die Fordermgen des Tages (1930); Goethe und
Tolstoi(1923);^*mid"und'die Zukmft(i^6)^Acbtmg,E^opa!(i^).

GEORG HERMANN (1871-1943) was ranged among the disciples
of Thomas Mann when, in 1906, his novel Jettebm Gebert won
him lasting fame. The outline of the story does indeed suggest
Ettddenbrooks: the Geberts are Berlin patricians and merchants, and