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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

EXISTENTIALISM   AND   SURREALISM                449

htnst. This new trend first developed in France as le mouvement
Dada, with Jean Cocteau as its irreverent iconoclast. Dadaism was
a poets' revolt against the hegemony of reason; the creed of the
Dadaists was that contraries are identical, that art is an absurdity,
and that the crying need is the hilarious rending to shreds of every-
thing in all the traditional forms of art; for real reality is not
visioned by the eyes or reached by the processes of reason or ana-
lysis, but is apprehended intuitionally or even revealed in dreams.
The aim must be to reach the spontaneous Unconscious, and for
this we must sweep away the illusory cohesion of realism in its
dictionary sense and impose what the French Dadaists dubbed
I''anti-poetique raison, Der Dadaismus sobered gradually and passed
over into der Surrealismus, which has glaring Freudian elements.
The root concept is absolutely negative, for it springs from the
(more or less conscious) feeling of the human creature that he is
cast out (Geworfensein is the cliche) into a world on which he is
helplessly dependent (insecuritas bumana), and that if he seeks escape
in art from the Angst which this Gefdhrdetsein brings it can only
be by laughing it off derisively. For Jaspers, however, there are
moments in which by the very intensity of this feeling we dimly
feel the Transcendent, and the Surrealist may seise this perception
to shape it in art. So that the final outcome of Exzsten^philosophie
may be either Nihilism or Mysticism. What we do get in the most
representative Surrealists are glimpses of the Transcendent behind
the raw reality of life. The protagonists of Surrealism were Andre
Breton (Manifests du Surrealisme, 1924), Louis Aragon, and Paul
Eluard, and the study of these poets went to the shaping of Ger-
man Surrealismus. The initiator of German Dadaism was the Al-
satian Hans Arp (1887- ), who in his verse (Worttraume undsdwany
Sterne, selected poems, 1953) does succeed in freeing words from
their hackneyed meanings. He has an international reputation as
a sculptor and his volume of French verse Le siege de I9air (1946)
counts in the history of Dadaism. Arp's last book, Worte mit und
ohne Anker (1957), includes poems composed over a period of
fifty years, and shows the poet still anchored to his ancient self.
These new movements - we have much the same orientation here
in the verse of T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden - merge and fuse so
intimately that they may be grouped together as Transrealismus,
the sense of the term being that these Neutoner do not so much
reduce realism to the absurd as that they follow der JLeaKsmus and