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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

EXISTENTIALISM  AND   SURREALISM                463

was changed to Em Kriegstagebucb). This was followed by Der 'Kampf
ah inneres Erlebnis (1920), Das Wdldchen 12; (1925) and Feuer und
Blut (1926), which together make up the epic of his war experi-
ences. The title of Die totale NLobilmachung (1931) trumpets the
sense of the text: the total mobilization of mankind is called for to
build up totalitarian government. Der Arbeiter (1932) portrays the
fashion and functioning of the totalitarian State, which by reason
of its concern for totality can take no account of the individual
soul and therefore must give no room to Christianity. The God of
Der Arbeiter is Technique. We have here a determined and well
reasoned reduction to absurdity of the tenets of Karl Marx; free-
dom, runs the argument, means stripping oneself of self, is labour
not for self or personality, but as one merged in a mass, a etype>.
This Fascist doctrine - in essence the sanctified tradition of Prus-
sian class supremacy - is further expounded in flatter und Sterne
(1934). In Das abenteuerliche Her^ (1929, revised version 1938) he
comes to grips with post-war moods and tendencies; looking back
to World War I he looks forward to the Second, which in Der
Arbeiter he had declared to be inevitable and which is already cast-
ing its shadows before. The revised edition of the work issued in
1938 reveals a change of spirit and a full appreciation of western
culture. This Wandlung comes out more clearly in the visionary
speculations and the self-revelation of Auf den Marmorklippen
(1939); he has had his fill of the totalitarian State and what he gives
us here is a post-Fascist attack, veiled in dream-symbolism, on
Nazi tyranny. It is an allegory of an ancient culture destroyed by a
tyrant and his sub-human myrmidons. Now we hear of a trinity of
Word, Might, and Spirit, which supplants the tyranny of War,
Might, and Power of the earlier works. And the greatest power
in the new trinity is the Word, which cannot exist without Geist
und Freiheit. Moreover those who proclaim the Word are indi-
viduals, who have no place in the massed reality of Der Arbeiter.
And the way to self-realization for the individual is the culti-
vation of the Beautiful. In form, Auf den Marmorklippen is one
of the pioneer works on the principle of Doppelbodigkeit* the
scene is contemporaneously in the region of the Lake of Con-
stance, Dalmatia, and Burgundy, and the period is simultaneously
that of classical antiquity, of German pre-histoty, the Middle
Ages, the Renaissance, and the present. All this mirrors the
development of Europe; and it is very noticeable that Ernst