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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

354                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

needs, as well as those of the other full-blooded beings with whom
he comes into contact, are fully and frankly described by an author
to whom sexual enlightenment is a doctrine vital to the future of
his race. Otto Babendiek (1926) is in outline autobiographical. With
Jorn U#/Frenssen shot like a meteor into the sky of fame; and like
a tneteor he fell. Not so much the humanization of Christ in HUH-
genlei - though this shocked many - as the doctrine that healthy
girls are entitled to sexual experience, in or out of marriage, dimin-
ished his glory, though not yet his phenomenal sales. He was fair
game to the critics: they relentlessly detailed how much he took
from Raabe, or Dickens, or Sudermann, or others. The tendency
was to give guarded praise to Jorn Uhl as the best of the regional
novels, while rejecting the rest of his work as mannered and ten-
dentious. His impressionistic rendering of landscape, however, is
admittedly fine. His colonial novel Peter Moors Fahrt nach Sudwest
was appreciated as at least a stirring account of German heroism
in strange places; and it is indeed a good forerunner to Hans
Grimm's South African fiction. With the advent of the Nazis to
power this critical evaluation rushed to the other extreme: Frens-
sen, the Germans were told, is one of the prophets of the racial
doctrine, and one who cast away the Jewish leaven of religion and
sought for the free Christianity he interpreted in his Dorfpredigten
(1899), in Hilligenlei, and in the tractate Der Glaube der Nordmark
(1936). A final verdict must be left to time.

The Battle of Jutland, in German credence the first great naval
victory of the Reich, is bound to be legendary. Here fell GORCH
FOCK (1880-1916), the accredited writer of tales of North Sea
fishermen and sailors (Seefahrt ist Not, 1912; Hem Godemsind, 1912;
Fahrensleute, 1915). Not a native of Hamburg, but one who wrote
the famous novel of Hamburg life Die Hanseaten, is RUDOLF HERZOG
(1869-1943). (The first two novels of business life in Hamburg,
Ernst Willkomm's feeder und Matrose and Banco, both 1857, fol-
lowed close on Freytag's pioneer Breslau tale, Soil und Haben,
1855). As a regionalist this writer*s habitat is rather his native
Rhineland (he was born at Barmen), and this district is the back-
ground of his Die vom Niederrhein (1903), Die Wiskottens (1905;
the Ruhr industries), and Die Stoltenkamps und ihre Frauen (1918:
the epic of the Krupp dynasty).

The writer who aimed at representing Hamburg and all its out-
lying lands with its history back to mythical man is HANS FRIEDRICH