460 MODERN GERMAN LITERATURE findet nicht, aber mr nkht swbt, wird gefunden? This, Kafka might have said, is the theology of today - the theology of time-wearied men in great rotting cities. Close to Kafka is HERMANN KASACK'S (1896- ) allegorical novel Die Stadthinterdew Strom (1948), somewhat in the nature of Albert Camus' La Pwte (1947). It is not so much the City of the Dead that is chronicled as an intermediary station (Zmschenreich] where those who have crossed the river from earth make a stay before their dissolution. The story is that an orientalist who has fallen in love with the wife of another man accepts a post as archivist in a town 'across the river', and that by his experiences here he acquires insight into the nature of life and death, above all the knowledge that life, washed round as it is with death, is a continuous process of clarification (Klarung) and purification (Lantmm^. To this state the archivist attains in the embrace of the woman he had loved on earth and whom he finds here again - in her bare arm he notices a long scar from an incision and suddenly realizes that she is not flesh but spirit. She had committed suicide. Now his carnal passion for her fades into that human pity which we should all feel if we stripped ourselves of the trammels of self (Entselbsttw^. The doctor now recrosses the bridge earthwards, and crisscrosses the country in a series of linked railway trains which serve him in his mission as an itinerant preacher driving home the lessons he has learned. Life as it is on earth, he now comprehends, is at its best a trans- position of matter to spirit; but all that is earthly must, because it is matter, be broken up after its term and returned to its origin for rebirth. This is symbolized by the two factories in the City across the River - in one of them artistic slabs are produced and these are then sent to the second factory to be ground into powder and afterwards returned to the first factory for re-making. His first impression of the City was that it had been laid waste by bombs, and when regiment after regiment of soldiers came march- ing over the bridge he had realized that a war was raging. This throws light on the origins of the novel: the first half was written 1942-44 and it was finished in 1946. It is thus one of the N^ kriegsromam of the late forties. The concept may owe something to Thornton Wilder's Our Tom atid The Skin of our Teeth.1 The style 1 The work is also highly reminiscent of Sutton Vane's play Outward Bound, produced at the Everyman Theatre, London, in 1923 and later made into a film.