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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE NOVEL  OF  EXPRESSIONISM                   363

impressions of towns and women to weave into ever-changing
moods of verse or prose. He died young - of consumption - at
Davos; and his expectation of death lends pathetic interest to such
a nostalgic prose reverie as Herbstiiche Wanderung, which reveals,
too, the passionate love for him of a young actress who sought
from him that enrichment by suffering which d'Annunzio had
given to Eleonora Duse. Generally speaking Klabund's lyric poetry
is derivative and often forced, but he is a skilled translator and
adapter, particularly of Oriental poetry (Dumpfe Trommel und be-
rauschtes Gong, 1915; Lz-Tai-Pe, 1916; Das Sinngedicht des perslschm
Zeltmachers^ 1917, etc.). It is as a weaver of Oriental visions that he
is likely to keep his place in literature. His Chinese drama Der
Kreidekreis, produced by Reinhardt, was the literary success of
1925; Elisabeth Bergner played the heroine and after the first per-
formance Klabund kissed her hand on the stage. The very pearl
of his Oriental dreaming is, however, Der let^te Kaiser (1923), a
short story which, with the colouring and delicate tracery of
Chinese painting, tells how the last Emperor immolated himself
at the first shock of revolution on the altar of the goddess of
chastity. This dainty chinoiserie is recent history and yet marcbenhaft
with its willow-pattern scenery, its camel-back bridges, its kites
and eunuchs and mandarins. And - the dragon snatching the fairy
- there is at the end the blatant blast of Communism in the raw
raving of a common soldier guarding the filigree palace. There is
Communism in other work of Klabund's: the short story Storte-
becker, for instance, the hero of which, a North Sea pirate familiar
from ancient ballads, is presented as one whose aim is the welfare
of the people; and though his 'red flag* goes down it will return
to regenerate the world. Stortebecker is remarkable for its style -
short paragraphed dialogue and the rush of a film scenario - and
also for its preaching of the Wodan cult and its idealization of the
Frisians round Hamburg as the perfect type of German fighter
and rebel. The Novellen appeared in Klabunds Karussell (1913), Der
Marketenderwagen (1916 - mostly War experiences), Die Krankheit
(1916 - stories of Davos),

One of the leaders of the expressionists was REN^; SCHICKELE
(1883-1940). An Alsatian with a French mother, it was natural that
he should have that comprehension of French mentality which is
the mark of the Alsatians. He probes the problem of Alsace in his
drama Hans im Schnakenloch (1916) and in the sequence of novels