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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

POST-WAR  AUSTRIAN  WRITERS                   507

life, for there was no break in the continuity of their experience;
'those of my own generation', he continues, have lived long in-
deed, for they have lived through two wars, have seen the swamp
of illusions dry up and the treasure of disillusions grow and grow.
So too the knight errant of The Last Adventure felt his illusions fall
away from him, but disillusion enriched him and ripened him to
face the onslaughts of Fate, These great motifs of Doderer, Des-
illusion, Selbsterkenntnis, Menschmrdung, must be accepted as the
staple of his work. He insists that he has no lesson to teach; psy-
chology and the Freudian doctrine he rejects outright; he gives
life as it is. Even the dreams and visions with which his work
abounds, the sense of the identity ofDiesseits z&djenseifs, the unity
of time, the dichotomy which he shares with Dostoieffsky, the
biological fact that every being is double and that his ripening by
experience is the stage to a new reality, his sense of the latency of
goodness (Laten^ in all of us - all this is, so runs the argument,
life as it is, and the field of the novelist.

Die erleuchteten Fenster points forward to Die Strudelhofstiege oder
Helper und die Tiefe der Jahre (i 9 51) in so far as several of the char-
acters appear in both novels; thus Zihal's story is fitted into the
second novel and continued, with that of his wife. The period is
roughly 1923-1925, but there are throw-backs to 1910-1911; that
is, two levels of time are interwoven (Doppelbodigkeif). Thus the
chronicle minutely records the mentality and atmosphere of Vienna
between the two wars, but also, in nostalgic retrospect, there are
glimpses of the kaiserlich-koniglich days as they draw to their
disastrous close. We thus see the characters at two stages of their
lives. The idea is that the author has collected his information
from the novelist Kajetan von Schlaggenberg, from Sektionsrat
Geyrenhoff, who chronicles all that happens, and from Major
Melzer, the central figure of the story. The build-up and style of
Die Strudelhofstiege and of Die Ddmonen are so closely related that
both books must be taken as one; characters are introduced in
Die Strudelhofstiege and their lives related in the period chosen, but
the narration is taken up again in Die Damonen and continued to
its close. Die Strudelhofstiege is indeed described by Doderer as an
ascending approach iLimpe (an architectural term), and as a prelude
(Auftakt^ a musical term), or overture (see below), to Die Ddmoneny
which up to the present is the culmination of what was from the
first planned as a monumental cycle of novels. The Strudelbofstiege