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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

488                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

achievements of fiction in recent years. In the first of the three
novels, Das Tier aus der Tiefe (1949), we have again a renegade
priest who gives up his clerical vocation for political agitation and
rises to be a dictator. The second novel, Die Arche (1951), covers
the period from the dictator's accession to the outbreak of a Great
War. The book describes the experiences of misguided and wicked
individuals whose aim is to create a model type of man in a State
that shapes them closely to fit its devices. The trilogy is completed
by Der JLegenbogen (1952). The Flood is that which has swept our
own time and the Arc and the Rainbow have the same political
significance. What the trilogy amounts to is an ambitious attempt
to show the Hitlerian State in genesis and being. Since it depicts
a State logically planned and ideologically welded together we
may range it with the spate of Utopias of the period, but it has a
contrast value as a Utopia reversed.

WALTER JENS (1923- ), a Hamburg man, began with a pacifist
Novelle, Das misse laschmtuch (1948); a student called up for mili-
tary service notices that only dark coloured handkerchiefs are
permitted, because white ones might serve for deserting to the
enemy. His novel New - Die Welt der Angeklagten (1950) is a
political Utopia reversed; it gives a horrific picture of a Terror-
diktatur, in which personality is annihilated and all are merged in
the egalitarianism of the brutalized masses, so that no 'Menscfoif
remain alive except those who are accused, those who bear witness
against them, and their judges. And therefore all the automatic
functions of what remains of life converge round the central terror,
the Palace of Justice. The hero accuses the woman he loves and
for that is raised to the rank of witness; after this he qualifies for
the highest rank of all, that of a judge; he declines the honour,
and is shot. In this Zukunfts- und Staatsroman there would appear
to be some influence of George Orwell's /?<$V to which, more-
over, Ernst Jiinger in HeKopolis refers as one of the grauenhafte
Utopien. The hero of the short story Der B/ittde (1951), a teacher
who has fallen ill and been stricken with blindness, is a symbol of
the individual whelmed by the horrors of darkness. The novel
Vergessene Gesichter (1952) was followed by Der Mann, der nicht alt
mrdenwollte (1955), a disturbingly academic novel: a university
professor makes it his task to lay bare the development of an old
student of Hs who at twenty-six committed suicide in Paris, leaving
the fragment of a novel which the professor classes as a master-