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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

532                    MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

and shaped their minds. Aufdem P/oss is a 'Spimlromatf that winds
round a central story flanked by a welter of attached stories. The
hero is a Furst of the ancient regime who takes a gipsy girl,
Marischka, as his mistress; when Grafin Mary Tremblaye returns
from abroad to visit a neighbouring estate he transfers his atten-
tions to her and tries to hand Marischka over to a gigantic servant,
Joschko, whom he attaches to himself as a factotum; Joschko,
with his dog-like devotion, serves as a symbol of brute strength
and of brainless obedience to a lord and master, Marischka, how-
ever, has a lover of her own choice., Imre; and to avenge herself
on the Prince and to make sure of Imre she mixes poison in
Joschko's food and he dies slowly. It now becomes a fixed idea
with the Prince that when his Prachfexewplar of a servant is dead
he will have him stuffed and exhibited in a glass case in the en-
trance to the castle as a hunting trophy. But Marischka stifles
Joschko as he lies dying and with Imrc's help sinks the corpse
behind the reeds in the lake in the castle grounds. Marischka and
Imre then find asylum with the gipsies, but Imre is by them
branded as an outsider and a murderer, while Marischka, after her
excursion into ordered ways of life, is restored to her former state
of itinerant freedom. All this is to he read symbolically: gipsies
represent robust primitivity, with its mystic call to the life of
nature, while the Prince's castle and all connected with it repre-
sent the rottenness of European society (das Europaert&m). The
period of the second novel, Der Mann im Scbilf(\^ 5), is 1934, the
time when Chancellor Doll fuss was murdered by the Austrian
Nazis, and the scene is a provincial village on the Attersee. There
is again the sensational central action with its related happenings
which come into the woof to bind all together to a composite
whole. But the story proper with its adjuncts is again not the main
thing: the actual theme is the decadence of the representative
supine Austrian, 'the man without qualities', and the proof that
this is the root of fascism. The novel is indeed a study of fascism,
and consequently the crowd of characters are corrupt. But there
are two currents, the one political, the other erotic, which flow
along together, with, of course, the sensational interest fettered
to the love affairs* Two worlds face each other, the weak-willed
strata of old Austria (and by inference of old Europe) and the new
world of indoctrinated factionaries with a clear, fixed aim. In this
novel once again Saiko brings to his wide knowledge of foreign