I, Erzählende Schriften 30, Casanovas Heimfahrt, Seite 64

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Casanovas Heimfahrt
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cant citizen who is a secret megaloma¬
him while he broods and scribbles at
ycurself in any Wäy. Especially in mat¬
niac, and whose monstrous self-worship
his leisure. In the hour of his confes¬
ters of sex must he be untrammeied
is exposed in the open by some blast or
sion, or self-ravelation, the man is as
without a Madame Wasendonck episode.
bolt of fortune. In this case a strong
paltry and as conceited, if not as un¬
where would“Tristan und Isolde“ be?
sexual shock does the business, and
If Goethe had looked on women as any¬
presentable, as ever: “ The trivial, nar¬
thereafter till the crisis of the disease
row-breasted, narrow-minded municipal
thing more than esthetic stimulants,
is reached and past, the victim is un¬
Goethe would have been—somebody else,
clerk that I was is no more,' writes our
accountable and irresponsible to any¬
This favorite doctrine of the George
complacent jailbird. My breast is
thing but the mandate of his familiar
arched, my spirit is independent and
Moores and the Dreisers has been, we
demon. The spectacle by no means
broad, even my walk has improved.?
all know, rubbed in without mercy. It
lacks its elements of pity and terror.
Hauptmann has been charged with lack
does not satisfy a Wassermann, the
But the net effect is of bathos rather
of humor, and so he dees lack the light
mainspring of whose work is faith in
than tragedy; for our citizen remains,
humor which pleases and reassures.
human relations. For a long time the
after all, a paltry fellow and an egotist,
But of deep sardonic humor, a flaying
reader of" The Goose Man may stem
a Dogberry or an Aguecheek of the
touch so deft that he seems but to have
to be following another detailed justi¬
lower bourgeoisie.
stroked his fleshly victim, he is master.
fication of genius at, socially speaking,
The self-chronicler is an obscure law¬
In this spfrit, rather than a mood of
its worst. The moral comes toward
yer’s clerk of twenty-eight, a bachelor,
solemn Freudian analysis,“ Phantom'
the end—almost with a“ Punch'’ of the
seerns to offer itself to the imaginative
oldest son of a widow. He is tubercu¬
approved American quality. Then we
lous, has mild ambitions to better him¬
perceive that we have been studying a
self by becoming a teacher, studies
genius whose life is a torment to him¬
fitfully; and for the rest goes inconspie¬
Of The World’s Illusion' (English
self and others until, having lost every¬
nously his humdrum round from house
version of Christian Wahnschaffe*),
thing he has hitherto lived for, he wakes
to office and back again, with a good
I thonght and said, not long since, more
to the realization' that only in a gener¬
many things to fear from the future
than most American critics did. It
ous and whole-souled experience of
seemed to me a big book, and I am in¬
and not much to hope for. Always he
Life as an affair of personal responsi¬
terested in Wassermann’s recent note
is supported by the secret sense of his
bilities and contacts, can genius—his
on it: During the last years of the
own importance. Then one day he sees
genius, at least—find its richest inspira¬
in the street a thirteen-year-old girl,
War,' he says, “I wrote The World’s
tion and fulällment. Whether it is too
daughter of a prosperous merchant, and
Illusion'; only in this way could I keep
late for Daniel to build gloriously, as a
contact with, and faith in, humanity.?
falls wildly in love. He follows her
musical creator, on these new founda¬
Wassermann’s personal history is, in
about and becomes a nuisance to her
tions, we do not know. It is clear that
family, but it is plain that she is not o
outline, much like that of several other
to his chronicler this is a questich of
much a concrete object of desire as the
modern writers—Knut Hamsun, for in¬
secondary moment. The main thing, to
fancied embe##ment of his secret ideal
stance. Ason of the lower middle class,
him, is a Daniel “liberated, unchained':
—or, if you
,the fancied object of
he found no easy road to his goal;“
a beneficent human force among his
his supprer.
Jlesires. Anyhow, he
had to earn my living in early youth,
goes mad er
t0 release and pamper
and wandered poor, misunderstood,
His conversion (like that of the hero
the sense of #e. al greatness which
friendless, and lonesome from city to
of The Great Illusion') may be too
hitherto has been a private indulgence
city, battling for twelve years against
abrupt and complete for easy accept¬
only. He throws up his humble job
the utmost misery, until I finally found
ance. But apart from its idea, the bock
and, posing as a poet, becomes a confi¬
recognition among my contemporaries.?
is a highway of multifarious human
dence man and a rake, and later acces¬
Daniel Nothafft, chief figure in The
action and reaction, and a gallery of
sory to a robbery and murder. He
Goose Man,“ has a similar experience,
marvelous portraits.
spends six years in jail, and is married
though in the end he falls short of any¬
when he comes out by the good girl who
thing like full recognition. Most modern
has been waiting for him, and who
stories of genius have enforced the the¬
A study of ihe blind, stories of
thenceforth devotes herseif and her
ory of the artist’s moral and personal
heroic blind men and women, the blind
father to taking care of him. She and irresponsibility. His duty is to know
veterans of the War, and other topies
her father, a bookbinder with a little Life, and the way to know Life is to
in relation to blindness, are treated in
meney and great faith, believe in the take all you can get from your fellow- Winifred Holt’s" The Light which
egotist’s genius, and keep a shop for livers (or -lifers) without committing Cannot Fail' (Dutton, 83.50).
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