(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

382                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

first wife, marries his seventeen-year-old Publilia and is thereafter
a slave to senile eroticism. After the Ides of March he proclaims
war against Antony, but is forced to flee from Rome, and is over-
taken by assassins outside his villa at Formiae. Max Brod has
written one drama: Lord Byron kommt aus der Mode (1929; see p.
33). Not the least readable of his works is Heinrich Heine (1934).
Mysticism read into history appears in the novels of ERWIN
GUIDO KOLBENHEYER (1878- ), a German of Sudeten descent born
in Budapest. In Amor Dei (1908) he interprets Spinoza, and shows
him in stark contrast with Rembrandt; the novel has merit if only
for its patient mastery of historical detail and its skilful creation
of an archaic language suitable to the period. The best thing is the
technically excellent though simple explanation of the growth and
exposition of Spinoza's pantheism; this alone makes the novel
valuable for students of German literature. Silesian mysticism is
expounded in Meister Joachim Pausewang (1910). Pausewang is a
cobbler of Breslau who tells his own story; behind him looms the
fascinating figure of another cobbler, Jakob Bohme, against the
dark background of the Thirty Years War. Kolbenheyer's greatest
effort - possibly his masterpiece - is his Paracelsus trilogy: Die
Kindheit des Paracelsus, 1917; Das Gestirn des Paracelsus, 1921; Das
dritte fLeich des Paracelsus, 1925. Here it is not so much the philo-
sophical ideas of the hero that matter as the author's conception -
common to all his work - of the Germanic hero: the last volume
closes with the device, in great letters, Ecce ingenium teutonicum.
Kolbenheyer's tales consistently show sacrifice of self in characters
perfected by the mental torments of experience in a hostile world.
This self-sacrifice or philosophic Wandlung, we are to understand,
is a typically Germanic process: Paracelsus, the first modern phy-
sician, frees himself in toil and travail of mind from the bondage
of Mediterranean thought, from the cobwebs of Galen and Hippo-
crates. This is the theme, too, of Kolbenheyer's 'prentice work,
Giordano Brmo (1893), a kind of tragedy, revised and rechristened
Heroischelueidenschaften(T.<)2<)). The Italian philosopher has to evolve
his pantheistic concept (die Gottlichkeit des Alls), but he can only
do this by working himself free from the trammels of Mediter-
ranean scholasticism; and he can do it because his mother was a
German; he too is an ingenium teutonicum. Two novels of Kolben-
heyer - Montsalvatsch (1912) and Das Lacheln der Penaten (1926) -
deal with social and moral problems of today; in the former a