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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

384                  MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

stripping biography of romance; vie romances thus means, not the
romance of a life, but a fictional rendering of it. The historical
novels of LION FEUCHTWANGER (1884-1958) show little originality.
]udSuss (1925) follows a novel of the same title by Wilhelm Hauff
and the daughter hidden away in a rural bower and discovered by
the sovereign is the heart of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's tale of
Thomas a Becket (Der Heilige), while the two queens in Die hdss-
liche Her^pgin (1926) are obviously the traditional German concep-
tions of Elizabeth of England and Mary of Scotland. 7/0^(1931)
is a roman a clefs picturing the fall of the Communist government
in Bavaria. The originals of the characters in Derfdlsche Nero (1936)
are easy to guess; a potter who strikes dramatic poses is discovered
and made an emperor by a capitalist - till he is cast down and
crucified by his own gang, a gigantic soldier and a sly secretary.
Feuchtwanger had some success as a dramatist with expressionist
leanings; of special interest are the 'Drei angelsdchsische Stucke*
(1927): Die I*etroleummseln\ Kalkutta^ 4 Mai (with Bert Brecht as
collaborator); Wird Hill amnestiert?

STEFAN ZWEIG (1881-1942), a Viennese Jew with international
culture, is on a higher plane. He began at twenty with a mannered
book of verse (Die Silbernen Saiten) and reached his maturity as a
lyric poet as much in his masterly translations of Verhaeren,
Verlaine, and Baudelaire as in the refined but somewhat imitative
descriptiveness of Die fruhen Kran^e (1907); his collected verse
appeared in 1924 (Die Gesammelten Gedichte). He is a T?ormkunsthr,
too, in his essays, intuitive rather than academic, but often, be-
cause of their psycho-analytical method, more illuminating than
the documented interpretations of university specialists; DreiMei-
ster (1919) analyses Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoieflfski; DerKampf
mit dew Damon (1925) uncovers the pathological ferments which
inspired Holderlin, Kleist, and Nietzsche; Drei Dicbterihresluebens
(1928) interprets Casanova, Stendhal, and Tolstoy. His books on
Verhaeren (1910) and TLomain Holland (1920) revealed with brilliant
insight the ultra-modernity of these writers. Marceline Desbordes-
Valmore (1928) is informed by the most intimate appreciation of
this poetess. Triumph und Tragik des "Erasmus von Rotterdam (1935)
fails by the fact alone that there is no adequate estimation of the
Latinity of this great stylist, but it grips by its obvious bringing
into relation of its subject with the conditions of today - it is in
some sort an idealized approximation of the essayist's self as one