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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

37*                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

who has brought him up; and he refuses. After the War he is
swept into the revolution but arrives at respectability as a doctor.
There is a good description of conditions in post-War Vienna.
Die Geschmster von "Neapel(1931) is a searching study of the effects
of Fascism on the individual. Domenico Pascarelli is a small banker
in Naples; as the widowed father of six children, three sons and
three daughters, he is shown as a dictator to them; one of the old
school, he is rigid, austere, scrupulously honest, a stickler for old
forms of decorum and decency; and Werfel's novel shows the
decay of all independent spirit under his well-meant domination.
Domenico himself risks destruction by the Fascist regime when
he upholds his independence of outlook and action, and he is
saved from ruin only by the intervention of an Englishman who
marries one of his daughters. The two volumes of Die vier^ig Tage
des Musa Dagh (1933) have for theme the persecution and mass
slaughtering of Armenian Christians in Turkey during World
War I. Horet die Stimme (1937) takes us back to ancient Palestine
to picture the oncoming doom of the gloomed present in the
remote past; we hear the voice of Jeremiah crying unheeded in
the wilderness; his denunciations foreshadow the doom of today.
Der gestohkne Himmel (1939) - the title was changed in the 1948
edition to Der veruntreute Himmel- is the tale of a Moravian servant
who, to make sure of getting to Heaven herself, pays for her
nephew to be trained as a priest; but, as he tells her when she
finds him again as a disreputable renegade, she has trained him to
be an intellectual. Das "Lied von Bernadette (1941) was written in
America to fulfil a vow made by Werfel when, in 1940, he found
sanctuary in Lourdes. Apart from this pathetic biographical interest
the book has polemical substance. Against a grim background of
mean humanity, hypocrisy and self-seeking stands the pathetic
figure of Bernadette Soubirous, moving in her absolute nawetew\&.
naturaliness and unselfishness; she has visions, as Shakespeare and
Michelangelo had; she shapes them differently; and the beauty
of her vision defies representation in verse or prose or marble.
She denies every vestige of resemblance in her beautiful lady with
golden roses on her feet to the statue of the Virgin chiselled from
her description by a famous sculptor; she sees the beautiful, and
she loves it:/yaim (her last words) is her religious doctrine. Pitiful
is the frantic exploitation of the girPs visions by the Church; but
the unfolding of the story is concerned with the progress of dogma