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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

542                   MODERN   GERMAN   LITERATURE

full maturity in his Ballade vom mrscbutteten Leben (1952). The ballad

dirges a new saga - the saga of Dust* The plain newspaper source

is transcribed at the head of the poem: in June 1951 it was re-

ported from Warsaw that an old bunker had been unearthed near

Gdynia - Danzig of old, Gotenhafcn in Hitler's trumped-up saga;

into the light of day tottered two soldiers, whose outlet had been

for six years barred by a bomb; they had been kept alive by a vast

and varied store of food and drink. As there was no water they

had washed themselves in cognac. They had lived in an inferno

more torturing than Dante's hell, for it was merely the long drawn

out fading of hope and the rotting of mind and body, The lyrics

of his last collection, Zwiscben Stern und S/afA (1953), record im-

pressions of travel and probe into the biological and scientific

forces of existence (ZwffM& Atom}, which even in the act of love

and in the worship of what in nature is illusively lovely bind us

to the dust of earth and drive us relentlessly on to what the stars

have decreed, Ef steht in tatserer Mae&f (*955) is a collection of

essays on a variety of themes; the chief interest: lies in the light

they throw on the life and trend of thought of the poet; the little

sketch Vber die Sdwim&teit* <MV Roflettsce %ft dicbten must be ranged

alongside Meersburger Ekgk  Hagelstange himself lives on the

shore of the Lake of Constance.

The classic of die New Sacblitbktit is GOTTFRIED BKNN (1886-
1956), One essential fact in Bcnn's poetic make-up is that by pro-
fession he was a surgeon - he began as an army doctor and after
the war he was a specialist for skin and venereal diseases in Berlin.
Certainly his method of treating reality is that of a surgeon* His
first two volumes of verse, Morgfte (1912) and Wtisch (1916) have
been classified as dissectional lyric poetry (StkifantfyriK)* Benn's
primitive impulse Is again Spra&w%pwf/tMg: as a practical man he
refuses to handle the pretty-pretty diction of poetry and turns
naturally to his own profession for motif and image: a poet pro-
duces reality; to him the reality he knows from dissecting table
and hospital bed is packed with symbol. Thus in one ghastly poem*
Mann undFraugsbn durch dk KKbskar&cfa% a doctor conducts a lady
visitor and describes the cancer cases :

Hkr dim IU/& smd sprfnutiu Sch8s&
md dim R$ih$ ist iyrfa//ene Brttst.

BWA Die Seimw/ewt wdmln t&gficb.