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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  LITERATURE  OF   RACE  AND   SOIL             435

during World War I in Turkey, and was interned on the island of
Prinkipo; in Asia were written some of the poems of Das kommende
Reich (1920). This volume was followed by other verse: Vogel
Zeitvorbei (1922), Das blaue Geisterhaus (1924), Palisander: Gedichte
aus den Biropen (1933). In his trilogy of novels Die brennende Liebe,
with its tale of three generations (Eeatus undSabine, 1927; Sebastian
im Wald, 1926; Die Orgel des Himmels, 1927) there is an attempt at
something new: the districts round Main and Neckar provide the
setting, but the landscape, Schnack explains, is built up as a mirror
of the spiritual (Spiegel des Seelischen), not as a coulisse. He elimin-
ates the psychological method, because conceptions of psychology
change from period to period, whereas the mirroring of landscape
in the human mind (that is, the moulding of the mind by geo-
graphical milieu] is a permanent process. That literary psychology
changes from school to school is more or less true, and probably
Schnack's volte-face is to be explained as a reaction from the possibly
depraved psychological experimentation of (e.g.) Jakob Wasser-
mann's later novels or such a book as Edschmid's Lord Byron;
Schnack's attitude, on the other hand, leads to the mentally de-
praved healthiness ofBfabo. Man should serve as a literary object,
Schnack continues, only in the measure that landscape passes into
and moulds his life by the experience of it; landscape, therefore,
is life, and breeding is of the soil and for the soil - which is T&lubo
metaphysics with a halo. Schnack, however, means more: his
technique is a metaphysical elevation of plane above plane (Uber-
hohung der Ebenen): his novels stage plane above plane and thus
show cthe manifold refraction of events and figures5 - the finite
landscape quivers into dream-like unity with infinity, till Neckar
and Nile are one and flow to the same crystal city. Schnack rejects,
too, the term Entwicklungsroman^ and classifies these later stories
of his as Entfaltungsromane: his characters, though they change
infinitely under the magic action of landscape, are unspoilt and
whole, and the construction of the novels is a vertical elevation
from stage to stage, not a growth by chance divagation. If land-
scape only constituted the stages of elevation Schnack's scope
would be limited; but in Die Orgel des Himmels the fling of his
theory takes in the construction of a railway, and in Goldgrdber in
Franken (1931) and Das Zauberauto (1928) we get the technical
miracles of the present. He cultivates the symbolism of fauna and
flora: Das Leben der Schmetterlinge (1928); Der Lichtbogen (1932);