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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

THE  NEW  VERSE

homeland). Great originality and experimental daring - modernist
innovation with outwardly an old technique - show in her novel
Pave undPero (i 940); it is a vie romancee based on the correspondence
(in the 18505 and thereabouts) of the author's grandfather Petar
Preradovic, a general in the Austrian army and the national poet
of Serbia (or perhaps, more narrowly, of Croatia), with his Italian-
born wife Pave de Ponto. There is a strong academic interest,
palpably for Slav scholars, but also for German specialists: there
is a visit paid to Petar Preradovic in Vienna by the best-known
collector of Serbian songs, Vuk Stefanovic, whose painstaking
work Goethe praises in his essays. Jakob Grimm learnt Serbian
from the grammar Vuk had written; and then Grimm, Vuk and
his daughter, and Goethe translated these strange old poems into
German verse. The short story 'Konigshgende (1950) is in substance a
Serbian ballad in prose; a tribal king is defeated by the Normans of
Dalmatia and is taken to a small island where he lives in a fisher-
man's cottage and ends contented with the fisherman's calling. In
Die Versuchung des Columba (1951), another short story, the Irish
missionary is visited on the island of lona by a girl from the
heathen wilds of Donegal; she had been betrothed to him as a
child, and now, pulsing with the vigour of her healthy life, she
has found him out in his island fastness and tells him she has come
to claim her man and her children. She comes near to sweeping
the saint off his feet; not because he is a man in the flower of his
youth, but because she has hung a bundle of aromatic herbs round
his neck in memory of the old homeland; and these herbs are
bewitched. They are removed and he is once again a saint; she
too had been bewitched while she had the herbs on her breast;
now they are removed she can repent, and she dies in lashing
gales on a barren rock off lona.

Existentialism is not glaringly prominent in the lyric verse of
HEINú PIONTEK (1925- ); he rather represents a new type of drastic
realism which is transformed to symbolic significance by the total
import of the poem. He is by birth a Silesian, and the Silesiaa
landscape with its Slav frontier comes into the staple of both his
verse and his prose. His first verse volume was Die Furt (195*);
the title is taken from one of the poems which is obviously based
on the recollection of the poet as a soldier fording a shallow river
just as, one assumes, he is still wading through the endless and
perilous ford of daily existence. The main impression of his lyric