Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

484                   MODKRN   GERMAN   LITER ATI* RE

lays bare the conditions in post-war Germany as a / letwkehrer finds
them in what should be home but is an alien land. RUDOLF KRAMER-
BADONI (1915- ) comes int< > the picture with his novel In dergrossen
Dr{//(i949), a wkheringly sarcastic picture of the average German
who takes things as they come and makes the best of them; he is
given a commission in the war and is actually decorated with the
lUtterkreit^ by the Ftihrer in person. He had begun with a novel
in Kafka's manner, Jacobs Jahr (194$) and made headway with his
cynical rogue's tale (SchdmmroMaii) Mini l;rmndllippolyt^ the hero
of which owes his Grecian name to the fact that his father was
half seas over at his baptism and would keep saying "Hipp' and
addressing those present as 'I/jr Lfitf ('you folks').

KMIL BKL^NKK (1901- ) began with two verse epics: Die Homer
des Potiphar (19*4) and Inwi der Pcl^bandler (1928), a story of life
in Moscow. His first novel was Marscbkren - nkht traumen (1931);
this describes the experiences of a major in World War I. His
reputation was firmly fixed by Koltwibtis vor der "L&ndung (1933),
a waves-of-consciousness story in which the events of his past life
pass in dreamlike procession through the mind of the seafarer in
the moments before he lands in what he believes to be India.
Juanasgrosser Seewann (1956) is a revised, expanded edition; Juana
is a playmate of his childhood, who already visioned the great
seaman to be in the boy Columbus, To English readers Belzner's
Ich bin der KSnig (1948), with its motto Imwditum nefas, will be
problematical and to some repulsive: the 'unheard of crime' is the
beheading by James II of his nephew the Duke of Monmouth.
It is not so much a historical novel as an experiment in the most
recent literary phase, Zwiti Nwrowmtttik* Its relation to reality as
to history is remote; what the novelist drives at is the infamy of
governmental tyranny in the present as exemplified by events
centuries ago* In an epilogue Belzner explains that the work was
begun at the beginning of World War II with the object of fathom-
ing how far art can probe into the inner meaning of events (%ur
Brgrundung d&s Spaminm der Kunst\ and it was continued during
the dictatorship at a time when the sense of what was printed had
to be reached by positing its contrary. But there are symbolic
depths in the novel, and, broadly speaking, the meaning would
seem to be that royalty or absolute power in any sense is Pttpptn-
spiekni. But the contrary of a puppet king is the producer who
keeps things going; here this king by character is Dudley Flint,