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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

XXII

EXISTENTIALISM AND

SURREALISM, POLITICAL AND

RELIGIOUS PHASES

One of the main ferments in the literature of recent years
and of today is der Existmtialismus. Though ostensibly a
break-away from Expressionism it retains some of its main
principles; cf. with what follows pp. 359$. Of programmatic
Existentialism there are many aspects, simply because the writers
classed on broad principles as existentialists interpret exisfatiut
(with its etymological roots in ek-sistere] each in his or her own
way. The philosophical and religious tenets derive ultimately from
the Danish thinker S0ren Kierkegaard (i813-5 5). In Germany the
concepts of existentialism have been defined and expounded by
the philosophers KARL JASPERS (1883- ) and MARTIN HEIDEGGER
(1889- ); both concern themselves with the real Being (Seiri) of
self and things, and they seek to eliminate whatever opposition
there is between self and things. There is also the very extensive
reflex action of foreign existentialists, particularly of the French
writer Jean-Paul Sartre with his novel La Nause'e (1938). Since
Sartre derives his existentialism from Heidegger and Jaspers the
term is obviously philosophical. The essence of its meaning is
already woven into the later works of Thomas Mann, Hermann
Hesse, and Jakob Wassermann with their mysticized expression-
ism, and in the Magic Realism (der maguche lLealismus> die magisck
WMichhif] of Georg Heym, Ernst Stadler, Georg Trakl, Hans
Carossa and Robert Musil it marks a new stage. The literary
programme is best classed as Suma/ism&s, which is taken over from
the term surrfalisme coined by Sartte to blazon his decoction of
Heidegger; literally interpreted it can only mean Uberwirklichketis-

448