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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

POST-WAR  AUSTRIAN  WRITERS

who, in the seventeenth century, is put to death as a 'Hexer'.
Mastery of form is one's first impression from reading Leitgeb's
verse: Gedichte (1922), Musik der Landschaft (1935), Vita somnium
breve (1943)* Lebensiyicben (195i), Sdmtliche Gedichte (195 3). Though
he pays tribute to Walt Whitman and Trakl he is consciously tra-
ditional in theme as in form, and in his deepest musings he is always
crystal clear. There is an uprush of tragic feeling in Lebens^eichen,
his last book of verse, in which - in the pressure of his own ex-
perience (he served as an intelligence officer in the Ukraine) - he
lashes out at the folly and fury of war. He records his impressions
of the Ukraine in Am Rande des Krieges (1942); and his Funf
Er^ahlmgen (1951) have the same factual fundament.

RUDOLF HENú (1897- ) is very prominent in the literary life of
Vienna, both as a prolific writer and as the director of programmes
in the Ravag (Radioverkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft). In his lyric verse
(Lieder ernes Heimkehrers, 1919; Unter Brudern undT$dumen> 1929;
Dbblinger Hjmnen (1935); and the selection Wort in der Zeit, 1945)
he ranges from free rhythms - winged, to begin with, with expres-
sionistic fervour - to formalist metres; the latter, however, par-
ticularly his distiches and terze rime, sometimes only read true to
pattern if fixed accentuation is discarded in favour of phonetical
emphasis and free syllabic division. Der Turm der Welt (1951) is a
heroically laboured monumental epic which shows the present
with its wars and the collectivization of the masses as a world
ripening for judgment. In his novels art looms large; many of his
chief characters are painters; and in particular the unnamed nar-
rator vf&egegnung im September (1939) is not merely a painter but
is palpably a self-portrait of Henz. One term of Henz's which
serves to inculcate the doctrine of being something is Resonderheit -
- the quality of besondere Menschen\ and what gives Jiegegnung im
September its peculiar mark of distinction is the number of its
characters with special qualities of mind and personality, and the
range and variety of their "Besonderheiten. The outer frame of this
very complicated story is Runstgeschichte*, and there is also much
play with Volkshtnde, though here there is a touch of irony. Henz's
historical novels (Der Rurier des Kaisers, 1941; Der grosse Sturm:
'Lebensroman Walthers von der Vogelweide, 1943; Peter Anicb, der Stern-
sucher, 1946) are adequately documented, but tend to lose historical
veracity because of the author's insistent didactic modernity. Of
his dramas DerBiisser (1954)is on tlae Gregorius theme and follows