Skip to main content

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

See other formats

THE  NEW  VERSE                               537

the verse measures of the Greek ode the sense can be carried over
naturally (Strophenverschlmgung) and without enjambment (Haken-
stil}\ in other words the rhythm rolls along with the sentence.
What results is that in Adel und Untergang and in the volume of
verse which pairs with it, Spate Krone (1936), the antique measures
of which Holderlin is the great master are revitalized. We know
that Weinheber found his way to Holderlin too late for direct
influence on his style to be possible; what influence there was is
likely to have been that of Georg Trakl. It is a relief to turn from
the architectural symmetry of Adel und Untergang to the gay gar-
rulity of Wien wortlich (1935)- This is for the most part in the Vien-
nese dialect, so real and redolent that it must be fascinating to the
student of language difformation; here we have Wienerdeutsch as
it is heard. O Mensch.> gib acht (1937) is a species of calendar, dia-
lectically coloured; the months with their appropriate poems, the
legends of the zodiac and of the saints. Zmschen GotternundDdmonen

(1938) with its rhymeless verse and skilful Hakenstil forms a kind
of trinity with Adel und Untergang and Spate Krone. The root mean-
ing is veiled, but the brunt of the argument is that the demonic
powers in one's breast must be tamed and tied down; in the con-
ditions of 1938-39 this was interpreted to mean self-effacement for
duty that calls; but basically it is just another phase of that conflict
between flesh and mind which runs through all Weinheber's work,
as it does through his (on the whole) ignoble life. In Kammermusik

(1939) we have 'musical poems' adapted to the note of the instru-
ment required for playing them; it is just another experiment in
the reproduction of sound by words, the best examples of which
are Intarsia aus Vokalen and Ode an die Buchstaben in Adel und Unter-
gang; Weinheber was obsessed by 'phonetic' (his word) illusions,
such as that the o in 'Loch and hobl represents the hole while E. in
Had denotes whirring rotation. We may class Wien wortlich, 0
Mensch, gib acht, and Kammermusik, since by contrast with the three
'classical* books they are popular and local in tone, as another
trinity; all Weinheber's verse sounds Von beideh Ufern. Into Hier
ist das Wort (1947), a posthumously published work, Weinheber's
doctrine of prosody is inwoven; he sets forth his modus operand!
for form and fashioning of the raw matter of language. There is
the pith of his verse in the three books of selections Vereinsamtes
Her% (193 5), Selbstbildnis (1937), aad Vokumente des Herons (1944)-
Of Weinheber's essays, Im Namen der Kunst (1936) attempts an