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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

538                     MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

enunciation of the function and philosophy of poetry, while Vber
die Dicbtkunst (1949) deals with his own development as man and
poet. Of his novels he himself spoke contemptuously as 'korrum-
pierte ILomctndichtwig. They are indeed poor as fiction; but they
have autobiographical interest. Das Waisenhaus (192.5) is just the
story of a poor boy's education at an orphanage and of his trend
to agnosticism and poetry and painting (the verse Aquarelle of his
maturity have their canvas counterparts). Nachnwchs (1927) records
the poet's struggle for a life fit for him. The title of Gold ausser
Rttrs (written 1933; first published 1953 in Slimtliche Werke) is a
symbol for poetry; here we have a poet who has a volume of
verse on his desk which publisher after publisher refuses; Adelund
Untergang is meant. The final verdict will probably be that Wein-
heber was far from being a poet of the first rank. Generally speak-
ing his intellect was coldly and architecturally constructive; his
poetry was, as he himself said, by way of mathematical approxim-
ation. That is, as his biographer Josef Nadlcr neatly puts it: 'F/eiss-
dlchtung^ nicht Inspirathnsdichtimg.

Several poets may be grouped as innovators in so far as they
fall into line with the international tendencies of today. Of these
HANS EGON HOLTHUSEN (1913- )> the son of a Lutheran clergyman,
began with the publication of his doctor's dissertation on Rilke's
Sonette an Orpheus. Vemtch timr Interpretation (r 937) and, after serv-
ing for three years as a private in France and Russia, followed this
up with the first collection of his poems, liter in der Ztit (1949);
the title indicates the stark actuality of the themes- The first poem
of the volume, Trihgk des Krteffs* in a loose hexarnetrk form, is
the first attempt - it was written in 1946 -- to give poetic form to
the mentality of the five years of war, There is Christian feeling in
KarsaMstag; this poem has the note of Baroque as it lives again in
the religious verse of R, A. Schroder. The persistent note, how-
ever, is that of existentialism, of which there is a summing up in
the final poem. Das Unw$$ck\ but here this doctrine of today
combines with the lesson of Christian surrender to the Lord.
Other poems take over, but with independent handling, favourite
motifs of T. S. Eliot and W. !! Auden. Most insistent of these
motifs ~ in the verse of the period it becomes a clUbf - is T. S,
Eliot's concept of time as he shapes it at the beginning of his Four
Quartets. Thus youth and age are one; for youth will be age and
age was youth* If the shadow of the war years lies over the earlier