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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

364                  MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

Das Erbe am 'Khein; Maria Capponi (1925), 'Bllck auf die Vogesm
(1927), and Der Wolf in der Hurde (1931). Before World War I
broke out he was editing the expressionist review Die missenEldtter
in Berlin; and during the War he edited it as a refugee in Switzer-
land. Here, on the Swiss side of the Lake of Constance, he was
the centre of that group of writers who were launching anti-war
literature: here Leonhard Frank's Der Mensch istgut was evolved.
Schickele's Benkal der Frauentroster (1914), a prophetic picture of
the War written just before it began, would alone have made him
an outlaw in Germany: it shows the idiocies of war by the experi-
ences of the hero, who is called 'comforter of women' because he
reveals their sufferings. For English taste there is too much harp-
ing on women's physical need of husbands: actually an army of
wives in the capital go on the street by way of protest; and when
the Central Power is beaten by the Kremmen (=Russians) they
lead the revolt of the proletariat against the military caste. Benkal
himself miraculously blossoms out from a drunken loafer into a
sculptor whose speciality is the female figure; and women feel
strangely comforted and saint-like when they gaze on the religious
ugliness of these shapes which compel reverence for the deformity
of mother. His mistress is a famous dancer, who disappears when
she realizes that she is dying; the motif is that of Vicki Baum's
Menschen im Hotel With Aisse (1916) Schickele provided his type
of expressionist Novelle: its style apes the chaste distinction of
the French eighteenth-century erotic conte, and already shows
Schickele's peculiar weaving of suddenly strange vision and sym-
bol into a prose pattern. The tale appeared in the series Der
jungste Tag, in which Edschmid's Das rasende Leben and other
pioneer expressionist work first saw the light.

With Rene Schickele as the interpreter of Alsace and the apostle
of cultural blending should be paired OTTO FLAKE (1882- ) as the
representative of Lorraine (he is a native of Metz). He is, however,
not so much an expressionist as one of those (Albrecht Schaeffer,
Josef Ponten, Frank Thiess and others), who, while influenced by
expressionism, are in the main impressionists and naturalists. In
the preface to his novel Die Stadt des Hirns (1919) he proclaims the
manifesto for the new novel; everything that is not intellectual is
to be eliminated, that is, narration of consecutive action, discussion
of middle-class problems, description of milieu and landscape, sen-
timent of any kind. This programme points forward to the Proust-