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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

POST-WAR  AUSTRIAN WRITERS                   515

^ustande) which form the substance of the novel; actually it is
induced, not so much by revulsion from wealth and luxurious
living, as by Adam's own erotic experiences and those of his
friends. In this sphere of conduct the prominent feature is that
pre-marital experience is the rule; and it is relieved by the dictum
that all experience, good or evil, is formative of character; what
matters to a lover at a given moment, therefore, is what the lady
úr, not what she "has been, and that indeed after sensual stages the
new real love creates a new virginity. The inexorably drawn out
tale, chronologically dated after World War I, ostensibly holds
out a mirror to the state of Europe, but in the prologue - really
an epilogue - there is a cinematographical dissolving picture of
what the hero and all about him are in the chaos after World
War II. In DerEbering (1954) one of the characters of Die Geschichte
des reichen Junglings relates his love-experiences; the wedding ring
of the title symbolizes the sanctity of marriage.

IMMA VON BODMERSHOF (1895- ) pairs with Martina Wied as an
exponent of the new technique, but she is more dreamful; she
evokes rather than demonstrates. In her novel Das verkrene Meer
(1952), a revised version of Die Stadt in Flandem (1939), magic
realism is fitted to Bergson's philosophy as exemplified, above all,
in Proust's A. la recherche du temps perdu. In this evocative medley of
myth and legend the ancient story of Flanders comes to life in the
consciousness of the historical research worker Cornelius, who,
between the two Great Wars, goes to Bruges to ransack the city
archives. The urban picture throughout the tale is, as it is now,
dominated by the Belfry, from which, above, the distant sea can
be glimpsed. There is something of Georges Rodenbach's Bruges
la morte in the atmosphere of the story, but the central idea is that
of the city as a symbol, not only of the decay here below of all
life, but also of eternal revival in religious faith. The legends and
episodes of the past alternate with the happenings of today; for
the past is the present; events wind onwards through the ages as
the spiral staircase of the Belfry tower winds upwards to the out-
look from its platform near the clouds. Das verlonne Meer is thus
closely fashioned on what has been called the 'spiral principle*
(das Spiralenprin^ip} as it occurs in the contemporary novel; that
is, phases of time and consciousness interlock and enlace as they
wind upwards to a sweeping and comprehensive vision of what
has been related and implied. The deeper meaning of this identi-