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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

522                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

Spec. As a critic and essayist Felix Braun is represented by Ver-
klarungfn (1916) and Deutsche Ce/s/er (1925); of particular interest
are the essays of Das wuiische Land (1952), in which there is a dis-
cussion of the differences between the literature of 'the land of the
Muses* - that is, Austria - and that of North Germany.

FRANZ NABL (1885- ) is in the very first rank of the Austrian
novelists of today* He stands apart from his fellow novelists in
various ways: for one thing his narration moves more slowly and
with a certain air of deliberation and solidity, and all is quietly
evolved. It is not easy to define his pedigree; he is generally classed
as in the line of Stifter; for this, however, there is too great an
intensity of psychological probing. Critics indeed stress his Tiefeth
psychologic - that Is, he gets deeper into the mind of his character
than is the common rule in the psycho-analytical novel; but in a
letter to me he says he never heard the term Tiefcnpsycbologie until
a few years ago a Viennese dissertation snowed in on him in which
he was so ticketed; and he counters this by saying that his favourite
author is Dickens. He is, it is true, miles apart from Dickens in
that his endings in his first great novels at least are tragic rather
than happy; but in his fiction we clo get - as in Die QrtKebschn
Frauen - the Dickensian device of assembling and grouping to-
gether of the characters for the finale. His humour, too, which
critics point to as one of his main features, lies rather in his grimly
ironical presentation of both character and situation. As regards
foreign influences there is the consideration that he was never able
to learn foreign languages; and he tells me that he has had to read
Dickens in a frayed edition inherited from his grandfather. There
is, too, a provincial stamp on his work, though Vienna comes in;
and this is more due to his congenital feeling that he is at home
and himself in the uplands of Styria* Born at Lautschm in the
Bohtnerwald, he was brought up in Vienna; but he has settled in
Gras. After early experiments in the traditional vein he reached
full maturity in Odhof(i^n\ a novel which by its sweep of events
and its concentrated delineation of one character driven to doom
by his dominant passion is a veritable prose epic. The hero is
Johannes Arlet, who by sheer ability wins his way to wealth as a
townsman; he is a self-assertive, aggressive egoist {Ichmemch^ Kraft-
menschy Hemnmnsch - to group the critics' terms), who tyrannises
over his family. After the death of his first wife he moves from
the city and buys an estate in the Voralpen, the Odhof (the name