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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

516                 Monrux <;r,RM,\x LrrKRATrRK

ftcation of past and proeni is that not only do we today live the
past, history of our land, hut that we expiate wrongs done by
our forefathers; thus the destruction of Ypres in World War I -
itself hy now a myth in our memory - is the punishment after
centuries of deeds done hy William of Yprcs in the Middle Ages,
All destruction and havoc, then* And victories and defeats, are
links in an ever running chain; not the will of the living but the
guilt of the dead brings ruin. Deeper still is the symhol that Cor-
nelius himself    and he in turn is a symbol of Man - is the dying
town; and so, when illness threatens his life, he awakens to the
consciousness that just as the sea has receded from the old city,
just as the canals have silted up, so, as age overtakes us, our veins
silt and harden; hut, like the Belfry hells* the heart swings its call
to courage and will be the last within us that will die; and as we
rise to the utmost heights of faith, 'though inland far we be', we
see, as from the Belfry tower, the mighty waters of 'the lost sea'
rolling on the shore* /)/V R0.w ties t'rlw/i lim/hntr (1950) is also
ranged with the novels of magic realism; hut this classification is
illusory - actually the realism throughout is drastically real and
the magic of symbol is accidentally tacked on. The groundwork
of the tale is bucolic in the VirgiHan sense, and farming life as
described is based on the practical experience of the author, who,
though she is the daughter of the famous professor of philosophy
Christian Freihcrr von Hhrenfcls and was, in days gone by, a friend
of Rilke and of Stefan George's Circle, has for over thirty years
managed her own estate in Lower Austria, What sunders Dk &osse
<k$ Urban Roitbmr from the peasant newel proper is the deeper
meaning read into the common course of peasant life, and the
presentation of life in farm, forest and village in a lonely district
of Niederostreich as the myth of a province. But what holds and
moves the reader is the unfolding of inevitable tragedy in the
hypertrophy of will power and elemental passion in a man who
stands out among the ruck of his peasant associates as an inno-
vator who by sheer determination sweeps all before him till he is
himself swept by a superior force - the logic of events or the law
of tetribution - into the abyss* Urban is a plain man of the people
and a man of today; but the consequences are the same for him
and those who depend on him as in a fitte-ttagedy> and the ethical
effect is indeed that of remote Greek tragedy* Moreover, while the
hero of Greek tragedy is beaten down by something impersonal