Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats



Die Neue Sachlichkeit - essentially a return from the hectic
ideology of the expressionists to a raw reality (it is also
classed as Der Uberrealismus) - was swept away in 193 3 by
the fanatically political and politically purposeful creed of National
Socialism; this clamoured for the idealization of heroic figures or
leaders' in past and present, for heroic self-sacrifice as a national
ideal, for a glorification of rural life, and for a painstaking exposi-
tion of the influence of landscape and local customs on the infin-
itely varied and yet uniformly 'Nordic' character of the Stamme.
In the Third Empire there was no place for ecstatic poet-apostle
or international dreamer: steeled body and alert mind, clean living,
joy in hardship, motherhood as family service to the State, now
dominated literature and made it a mere element in the worship
of race. It would be foolish to say outright that the new spirit is,
as a stimulus to literature, inferior to the old: at all events the
Nazi novel, though it may be on a lower level as literature, is at
least sane and healthy. The one thing that is quite clear is that
whereas the super-realism which gathered force in the twenties
hardened itself to feeling and made a vaunt of cynicism, so much
so that love itself was set forth as a physical function merely, the
literature of National Socialism revives the orgies of feeling of
Romanticism; indeed, this governmentally directed explosion of
feeling has so much in common with the philosophically directed
emotionalism of Romanticism that it might well be classed as
National Romanticism. Another glaring feature is the return to
plain traditional form; this leads to monotony, particularly in
lyric poetry, but the law was laid down by Hitler in a speech at
Nuremberg: 'Wer nur das New sttcht um des Neuen mlkn, der verirrt