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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

POST-WAR  AUSTRIAN  WRITERS                   531

realism to a delicately toned refinement of style; the whole thing
is a dream, but through it as the end comes peers crass reality.
Freiberg's verse is collected in Sage des Herons (1951). It is through-
out Gedankenpoesie, a garland of rhymed ideas. Inwoven in the
hard-ringing stanzas is a wealth of imagery, apposite or (some-
times) ingeniously excogitated.

GEORGE SAIKO (1892- ), a Viennese born in North Bohemia,
had busied himself for a good part of his life as an essayist and
art critic, but in fiction he had only short stories to his credit
when,  on the verge of sixty, he startled his contemporaries
with two novels on the grand scale; these were considered so
hostile to the best traditions of Austria that he could find no
publisher there and had to find one in Hamburg. They have been
attacked as anarchistic or communist, but they have also been
praised as being in the direct succession of Musil and Hermann
Broch. Saiko's own statement is that he has been influenced most
of all by William Faulkner; and it is true that he has debunked
Austria as Faulkner debunked the Mississippi regions. At all
events Saiko must be ranged with the magic realists, and he comes
last in the line as the most destructive of them all. In the case of
Saiko's two novels, however, the term magic realism is somewhat
illusive, if only because the unfolding of the 'animistic* doctrine
is set off by sensational happenings which accrue from sex en-
tanglements. The title of Auf dem Floss (1948) symbolizes the
disintegration of what remains of the Austrian monarchy with its
feudal fundament; the old order is envisaged as a rotten raft
floating away to limbo. But in intention Saiko's novels are con-
structive, for their beacon light points to the new world of Com-
munism. There are side-lights on the lightning-like smashing to
pieces of the feudal system in Russia as compared with its sluggish
crumbling in Central Europe. While political and social upheavals
form the background the reality that is explored has, so Saiko says,
a mythical sphere which is active within us all and which magically
shapes the form and course of the individual's existence. This basic
concept leads Saiko to lay bare the primitive urges of his charac-
ters and a great part of the narration consists in the detailing and
analysis by suggestion of what the characters recall of their experi-
ences in the past the world over. Their conflicts He behind them,
but they are ever-present because they return in memory; and
they determine the test of their existence, for they have formed