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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE WOMEN WRITERS                           341

French text by Georges Bernanos. Das Reich des Kindes (1933)
weaves the story in legend form round the last of the Carolingians
and centres round the fate of Lewis the Child. Die Magdeburgische
Hoch^eit (1938) symbolizes the fall and destruction of Magdeburg
during the Thirty Years War as such a marriage of temporal and
eternal as will befall the world on the day of judgment. The
Novelle Die Abbemfungder Jmgfrau vonBarby (1940) with its orgies
of image-breaking by fanatical iconoclasts has its sinister parallel
in the mind of a nun who loses her faith and dies a violent death.
There is a similarity of theme, the conflict between justice and
pity, in the two short stories Das Gericht des Meeres (1943) and Die
Consolata (1947). In the latter a papal legate besieges Padua and
saves it from a ruthless dictator; the reference to Nazi ideology is
transparent. These two Novellen are reprinted in Die TochterFari-
natas (1950), which adds two others, the title story and "Plus Ultra\
in the title story the heroine saves her native city Florence in the
days of the Hohenstaufens, while in Plus Ultra a girl sacrifices her
love for the Emperor Charles Quint because her love of the Holy
Roman Empire is greater. The two stories QtGeloschte Ker^en (1953)
again draw a parallel of trends and happenings in the Thirty Years
War with those of today. The scene of Die Frau des Pilatus (1955)
begins in Judea at the time of Christ's trial and moves to Rome,
where Pilate's wife Claudia is threatened by the fate of Christians
who are thrown to lions in the circus, for she is a convert to
Christianity. Her dilemma is that, though she is a bride of Christ,
she is still the loving wife of a husband who sanctioned the cruci-
fixion of her Heavenly Bridegroom. The letter form of Die Let^te
am Schafott is again effectively used: the writer is Claudia's maid-
servant, who records the story from close experience and without
partiality. The first book of Gertrud von le Fort's verse which
counts is Hymnen an die Kirche (1924), a dialogue between the
Creator and the soul. This was followed by Hjmnen an Deutschland
(1932), the burden of which is that Germany can find salvation
only if the State is wedded to the Holy See. Gedicbte (1949) gathers
in poems written between 1933 and 1945; it reflects the moods
and misery and the hope springing eternal of these years. The ode
Vergessenes Vaterland is a terrible picture of war's ruin, and this is
heightened by such poems as Die Kathedrale nach der Schlacht> Den
^erstorten Domen> Die Heimatlosen. The lovely poem Deutsches Leid
is a moving protestation of the poet's love for a Germany laid in