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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NOVEL  OF   EXPRESSIONISM                  361

one of the typical expressionistic plays, of streets filled like bowels
with dysentery.

The ethics of expressionism can be stated in a few catchwords.
'Nichtich, sondern du9, or 'Wirbewusstsein*', means altruism or love of
others. Freethinkers, but thrusting forward a fanatical pretence of
religion, the expressionists are "seekers of God'. They claim to
have the ecstatic belief in God of Klopstock, the ecstatic faith in
humanity of Schiller in his green youth; in their cry for the brother-
hood of races and the reconciliation of races they repeat Schiller's
Millionen, seid umschlungen! They accuse the pre-War Germans of
having gone to sleep on Tragheitdes Herons; this state they replace
by bewegte Fulle des Her^ens. That man is an intermediary form be-
tween two kingdoms (ein Zwischenwesen ^weler ^Leiche) is expressed
by the idea of das dritte Reich explored by Johannes Schlaf in the
trilogy of novels thus called, but discussed, too, by Ibsen in
Emperor and Galilean^ and logically involved in Lessing's Die Er-
^lehung des Menschengeschlechts. Wandlung, or moral transformation,
may be explained as psychic discontinuity, and no doubt owed
something to Freud: there is in all of us a series of Ts' any one
of which may come to the surface as another is submerged. The
enthusiasm for freedom takes intense symbolic form in the fre-
quent use of the son-father conflict.1 Post-War youth held their
fathers responsible for the War, but the revolt against parental
authority had long been brewing - it went with the swift growth
of the Jugendbewegung, which sent the youth of the country hiking
in gay bands.

There is plenty of expressionistic ethics and form in the later
work of the impressionists: psychic discontinuity, for instance, in
Wassermann*s cycle Wendekreis. God-seeking takes the direction,
of Wodan-finding in the novels of racialists such as Blunck and
Hans Grimm. But the expressionists proper are those who begin
as such and practise, in varying degrees, that discontinuity of form
which reflects the leaps and flashes of life.

The programme of the expressionists was proclaimed by KASIMIR
EDSCHMiD2 (1890- ) in Uber dendichterischenfLxpressionlsmus (1919);
he demands, not 'rockets', but (in harmony with Bergson's theory

1 This conflict begins earlier and with a more reasoned sociological import
in Samuel Butler's 'The Way of All Flesh; here the father represents *the con-
scious* (acquired qualities, tradition), and the son 'the unconscious*.

2  =Eduard Schmidt (born Darmstadt).