Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats


piece. There are the inevitable professorial analyses, with extracts
from the dead writer's work which tempt the reader to criticize
the critic.

One turns almost with relief from the symbolical Terrordikta-
turen of Stefan Andres and Walter Jens to the raw reality of it all
as history records it in the work of ERNST VON SALOMON (1902- ).
He made an international reputation by his Fragebogen, the geneses
of which are his answers to the denazification questionnaire of the
Americans who had arrested and interned him. His reputation and
the books he had written gave them good cause for this. He had
been imprisoned for six years for his complicity in the murder of
Rathenau in 1922. He tells the story of this and of fighting in the
Baltic provinces in his novel Die Gedcbteten (1950). His novel Die
Stadt (1932) had already been autobiographical, as was also Die
Kadetten (193 3), which describes his life as a Prussian cadet between
1913 and 1919; these two books are valuable sources of information
for our knowledge of life in Germany between the wars. But still
more valuable are his Roche in Frankreich (i 9 50) in which he seduces
and brutally abandons a Basque girl; this episode is incorporated
in the full autobiography, Der Fragenbogm (1951), which answers
the American questionnaire seriatim with contempt and ironical
cynicism; here von Salomon records his activities secret and open
and throws light on the rise and ruin of Nazism. The upshot is
that the author, who began as a typical Prussian ensign, was in the
fatal years a Nazi, either by the force of circumstance of by con-

It will surprise many to find that BERNHARD VON BRENTANO
(1901- ), a member of the famous Catholic dynasty which springs
from Clemens Brentano, writes his anti-Catholic literature from
the extreme left (Kapitalismus undschone 'Literatur^ 1932). He is the
exact contrary of Ernst von Salomon in that he has stripped him-
self of all Prussian ruthlessness to fight Hitlerism as a Humanitarian
pure and simple. He stands apart from his Utopian contemporaries
in his clinging to traditional form; that is, he makes no pretence to
originality of style. The hero of his novel Theodor Cbindkr (1936)
has been elected from Rhenish Hessen to represent the Centre
Party in the Reichstag and he is chosen as Minister of State in the
revolutionary committee of his provincial government. The fol-
lowing novel, Fran^iska ScMer (1945), is a sort of sequel, with
Chindler's son figuring as a famous author. Process ohne