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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

450                  MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

(in intention) prove that the anti-poetical absurd pierces to Being
in itself; 'things' are not merely sense-appearances but far more
dream-appearances and mind-apperceptions; or in other words the
poet's theme is the ultimate those > not the evanescent chose vue.

One aspect or phase of Surrealism which is very much to the
fore today, especially in the novel, is simultaneity (Doppelbodigkeit}.
Man is made up of two entities: (i) his visible body, which makes
contact with the world in space through the medium of his senses,
and (2) an invisible mind which has no contact with space but is
conscious of time. Actually the pedigree of Doppelbodigkeit flings
back to Joyce's Ulysses. It is really a question of creation on two
planes of consciousness (Gestaltung attf %tm Ebenen}. Man is con-
scious of time past, present, and future; and in this sense of time
the novelists here concerned nestle in varying degrees of close-
ness to Proust.1 But the lighter variants take over the technique of
Virginia Woolf as well as of Thomas Wolfe, Thornton Wilder,
and Ernest Hemingway. There may be an existential contradiction
between what is said and what is thought, and thus we have the
two phases of Sagen und Meinen. There may also be an existential
contradiction between what one does and what one feels (Tun und
Empfinden}. What is essential is to reach the inner nature of the
speaking character; the accepted term is er-mnern. The gospel text
is Kierkegaard's: 'Die "Bemgung der TELntwicklunggeht nach innen, nicht
nach aussen; die S^ene ist inmn^ nicht aussen^ ist erne Geisters^ene? One
essential feature of this Doppelbodigkeit is das Diskontinuum\ the
stoty or the poem is not built up systematically from A to Z, but
leaps from phase to phase> as in Joyce's Ulysses, or follows Proust's
principle of the flash-back to a previous phase (RJtckerinnerung), so
that there is no continuity but instead there are chunks of life, so
to speak, which the reader must piece together. In the lyric this
often leads to what reads like an enumeration of glimpses of some-
thing or other or a concatenation of jolted ejaculations (Funken-
sprunge) leaping from the thing to the idea of the thing. There is
no middle and (may be) no ending; all is in flux - as life is.

We have Kierkegaard's Geisters^ene in the writings of FRANZ
KAFKA (1883-1924). Historically - that is, by period and contacts -
he belongs to expressionism. But, judged by content, he is close
to Sartre and closer still to Kierkegaard, and it is mote fitting to

1 'I see the Past, Present and Future existing all at once before me/
Thomas Blake.