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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

EXISTENTIALISM  AND   SURREALISM

geon in Napoleon's armies, he settled in a village on the Inn.
Hans studied medicine at Munich and took his doctor's degree at
Leipzig. He settled as a practitioner at and near Passau after periods
in Munich and Nuremberg. It is characteristic of the man that he
did not give up doctoring for writing till the end of the 19305; he
then lived in retirement at Rittsteig, near Passau. His first work -
apart from the poem Stella Mystica (1907) and a thin volume of
poems (Gedichte, 1910) - appeared when he was thirty-five; it was
Doktor Burgers Ende (1913; title changed to Die Schicksak Doktor
Burgers, 19 3 o), a tragic tale which is glaringly modelled on Goethe's
Werther\ Dr. Burger, having failed to save a patient who dies of
consumption, commits suicide. Carossa corrects this pessimistic
ending in a poem: Die Flucht, Gedicht aus Dr. Burgers NaMass
(1916). From now onwards Carossa is hardened to the suffering
he sees; for him now the destructive forces of nature are also
constructive; for in the decomposition of matter are the germs of a
new birth (JJntergang=Ubergang). In 1922 appeared the first volume
of his autobiography. Erne Kindheit\ this was followed in 1928 by
Verwandlung einer ]ugend\ and the two sections were in 1933 pub-
lished together as Kindheit und Jugend. Here with patient deliber-
ation Carossa illuminates the stages of growth of a boy's mind;
and it must be remembered that although outwardly the subject
is Carossa it is inwardly a symbol of a process of shaping which is
nature's way to maturity. In this sense the autobiography is an
Entwicklungsroman. Development of mind, and of character as
shaped by mind, is conditioned by successive shocks of experience
which bring organic changes; for these Carossa's word is Ver-
wandlungen (metamorphoses). And this chemical process is con-
tinuous - it is nature's magic, it is magically real. These shocks
are often due to 'elective affinities'; that is, they come from human
contacts and the clash of personalities, in which there is the fertil-
izing force of chemical combinations. The ultimate stage of Ver-
wandlung is \3mwandlung> which is the maturity of what is from the
first embedded in our being. Carossa here and elsewhere writes
with one plan and purpose: Heilungen\ the healing of ferments that
are bound to come, but which heal themselves if nature is helped
by the exercise of will power. At the outbreak of wax in 1914 he
immediately volunteered, and his experiences as an army doctor
are described in 'Rumanisches Tagebuch (1924; from 1938 title is Tage-
buch im Kriege). A "Roumanian Diary had in its day the same appreci-