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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE   REGIONAL  NOVEL                            355

BLUNCK (1888- ). He had a meteoric rise, but is now a faded star.
As a novelist Blunck began by garnering the impressions of his
travels in South America: Die Weibsmuhle (1927) and ~Land der
Vulkane (1929) describe the life of German colonists and their
descendants in Brazil and Central America respectively. He aimed
at cloudy heights of literature with two novel trilogies, Werdendes
Volk (193 3) and Die Urvdtersaga (1934); the first pictures the evolu-
tion of the German people by showing the inception and the suc-
cessive phases of their religious and cultural convictions; the
second shows three successive phases of the search for the national
God. Stelling HLotkinnsohn (1923), the first volume of Werdendes
Volk., has its scene in the marshes round Hamburg and on the
North Sea with the encircling lands. The second member of this
trilogy, Hem Hoyer (1919), is wearisome: it shows Hamburg at the
height of its power as a Hanse city, and there is a stirring descrip-
tion of the Battle in the Hamme (the theme of one of Liliencron's
ballads), in which the peasants of Dithmarschen slaughtered the
knights of the Dukes of Holstein. The girl who, in male attire,
follows the hero, is less convincing than her prototype in Kleist's
Kdthchen von Heilbronn or Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's Gustav Adolfs
T?age. BerendFock (1921), the third of the series, is a blend of three
legends: The Flying Dutchman, The Wandering Jew, and Doctor Faust.
The hero, Berend Ohnerast, rebels against God, but, since he is
a God-seeker, he yearns to find and question Him. The cultural
enclaves in this mass of matter have interest for students: the
revolt of the Sprachgeselkchaften against Alamode, the beginnings of
the opera in Hamburg, etc. Hebbel's drama Moloch was intended
to show the birth of religion and culture in the mythical period;
Blunck attempts the same desperate task in the trilogy Die Urvater-
saga. In this type of novel he had been directly preceded by the
Danish novelist Johannes V. Jensen. But while Jensen's myths
have the simplicity of tales told to children those of Blunck are
tangled and self-contradictory, and too burdened with that solar
myth nonsense which is the shaking foundation of Nazi philo-
sophy. Gewaltfiber dasFeuer (1928), the novel of the Glacial Period,
relates the myth of a German Prometheus, Borr, who captures fire
to guard by night the mouth of the caves where his people dwell,
after which come the first blessings of civilization, damp clay
hardened by the hearth, the first bow and arrow, the taming of
the wolf to be a dog. In Kampf der Gestirne (1926), the novel of