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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

EXISTENTIALISM  AND   SURREALISM               465

problems of Germany today are set out in clear lines. As a travel
writer Ernst Jiinger followed up Atlantische Fahrt (1947) with
Myrdun. Briefe aus Norwegen (1948) and Bin Inselfrubling. Em Tage-
buch aus 'Khodos (1949). In the essay Sprache undKorperbau (1947) we
have the culmination of his musings on the mysteries of language,
of the Word which, he says, is 'the sword-blade of meaning'; this
interest in the symbolic magic of sound goes back to Lob der
Vokaky one of the essays ofB/atter und Sterne, and recurs in other
works. Jiinger is indeed so conscious an artificer of language and
style that he has been charged with a lack of spontaneity; his
handling of words, it is suggested, is contrived to convey excogi-
tated nuances of meaning. The more general view is that as a
stylist he is ultra-refined and that, though he lacks the subtlety of
(say) Hermann Hesse, he is one of the great craftsmen of recent
years.

'Magic realism' as applied to the later novels of Hermann Hesse,
in which, though the milieu is fantastic, the psychology is basically
real, is a dubious term. It is a question whether it fits Ernst Jiinger's
mythical explorations of the present, if only because his concep-
tion of realism is ideal, not real; HANS CAROSSA (1878-1956) it fits
exactly. For his symbolic interpretation of life is psychologically
and literally true under the halo of dream; it is visionary, but what
the vision bodies forth in a world of phantasy exists in everyday
life. Carossa's own designation of himself is that he is a healer; he
decided early that he would handle language as he handled Heilgifte
(a favourite word of his) in his practice as a doctor; it is the poet-
healer, he says, that a nation needs; and he is a 'Lichtbringer^ a giver
of light. His aim and purpose is to enlighten, and by means of
enlightenment to regenerate humanity. The finest possible praise
of him - it is common, and indeed often misapplied in detail - is
that of all modern authors he is the nearest to Goethe. Where the
two are most closely related is in their final outlook on life; and this
will be clearer if Carossa is definitely classed as a. clife philosopher'.
Lebensphilosopbie, of course, proceeds directly from Goethe; but of
all the Lebensphilosophen Carossa comes nearest to Goethe because
both, as poet-scientists, interpret life biologically - thus in the boy
and youth of Carossa's autobiography there are the stages of de-
velopment by metamorphoses that there are in Goethe's plant.
Carossa's anti-metaphysical trend of thought is therefore related
to the practical philosophy of Bergson and to pragmatism, the