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The basilisk and its antidote : a study of the changing image of Chopin in literature Wootton, Alice Carolyn May 1970

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THE BASILISK AND ITS ANTIDOTE: A STUDY OF THE CHANGING IMAGE OF CHOPIN IN LITERATURE by ALICE CAROLYN MAY WOOTTON B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of V i c t o r i a , I966 A.R.CT. (Toronto), L.R.S.M. (London)  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in Comparative L i t e r a t u r e  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1970  In  presenting  an  advanced  the I  Library  further  for  degree shall  agree  scholarly  by  his  of  this  written  this  thesis  in  at  University  the  make  tha  it  purposes  for  may  be  It  of  of  Columbia,  of  for  March 17„  1970  by  the  understood  gain  Columbia  for  extensive  shall  Comparative L i t e r a t u r e  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  British  available  granted  is  financial  fulfilment  permission.  Department  Date  freely  permission  representatives. thesis  partial  Head  be  requirements  reference copying  that  not  the  of  agree  and  of my  I  this  or  allowed  without  that  study. thesis  Department  copying  for  or  publication my  Supervisor:  Professor Joyce Hallamore  ABSTRACT  One area r e l a t e d to Fryderyk Chopin which has received l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n i s h i s i n f l u e n c e upon l i t e r a t u r e .  In order to de-  velop two aspects of t h i s theme a key word " b a s i l i s k " has been introduced which Robert Schumann as music c r i t i c used i n e x p l a i n i n g the unusual impression that Chopin's music f i r s t presented on the p r i n t e d page.  This word, w i t h i t s  overtones both magical and ominous, suggests the symbol f o r the  growing wave of aestheticism with which the c u l t of  Chopin came to be associated. the  Translated i n t o l i t e r a t u r e  expression of the Chopin c u l t found i t s way i n t o the  e a r l y w r i t i n g s of Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, and John Galsworthy. L a t e r , as the twentieth century progressed and the pendulum swung i n a new d i r e c t i o n f o r the a r t s and f o r l i t e r a t u r e , a s u i t a b l e antidote to the b a s i l i s k was to be found i n the parody of the Chopin c u l t offered by T. S. E l i o t i n h i s " P o r t r a i t of a Lady" and i n "Chopin" by G o t t f r i e d Benn, which explores the use of biography i n a poem, and moves away from the extreme s u b j e c t i v i t y of many nineteenth-century p o r t r a y a l s of the P o l i s h composer. I t i s the purpose of t h i s study to trace the changing image of Chopin i n a s e l e c t i o n of l i t e r a r y works which belong to the period between 1890 and 1950.  i.  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Page No. CHAPTER I  Introduction leading to the theme of the b a s i l i s k .  CHAPTER I I  Background to the study of Chopin i n l i t e r a t u r e of the l a t e and e a r l y twentieth  CHAPTER I I I  nineteenth  century.  Authors under consideration. A.  Thomas Mann — Galsworthy  —  B.  Hermann Hesse  C.  T.S. E l i o t Benn —  —  John The Aesthetes  13 28  Gottfried  Conclusion  41  FOOTNOTES  59  BIBLIOGRAPHY  63  ii.  CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION LEADING TO THE THEME OF THE BASILISK  As r e c e n t l y as 1967, Arthur Hedley r e f e r r e d t o Fryderyk Chopin as the subject of "a s u r p r i s i n g volume of w r i t i n g both s p e c i a l i s t and miscellaneous . . . i n many languages" amounting t o a b i b l i o graphy of "about ten thousand i t e m s . T h i s survey would appear to discourage a d d i t i o n s to the e x i s t i n g accumulation of m a t e r i a l , i f i t were not f o r the words " s p e c i a l i s t and miscellaneous" which suggest a d i v i s i o n i n scope and q u a l i t y .  Much has been w r i t t e n  but not a l l areas r e l a t i n g to the composer have been explored, or they may have been approached e u l o g i s t i c a l l y r a t h e r than c r i t i cally.  One area, f o r instance, which remains r e l a t i v e l y unex-  plored i s Chopin's influence upon l i t e r a t u r e , and t h i s , i n t u r n , places i t w i t h i n the range of comparative s t u d i e s . During the nineteenth century, the i n f l u e n c e of composers on l i t e r a t u r e was a c o n t i n u a t i o n of the romantic a t t i t u d e which regarded music as the supreme a r t . Because of i t s i n f i n i t e reach, i t s power to express the i n e x p r e s s i b l e , i t s immediacy and i t s u n i v e r s a l i t y of language, music appealed to a movement which aimed at destroying r e s t r i c t i o n s imposed by the Age of R a t i o n a l i s m . Even more were these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s to appeal to the Age of  - 2-  I n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n as a compensation f o r the a e s t h e t i c and s p i r i t u a l vacuum l e f t by s c i e n t i f i c progress and Darwin's theory of e v o l u t i o n .  At f i r s t , the impact of Wagner's music  both upon content and form i n l a t e nineteenth-century l i t e r a ture tended to overshadow that of h i s l e s s flamboyant predecessor; nevertheless, the music of Chopin was producing i t s own impact, p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y , on a group of w r i t e r s whose e a r l y output r e f l e c t e d the mood of the f i n - d e - s i e c l e i n Europe.  I t i s one of the aims of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r study to  show that the choice of Chopin's music at that time r e f l e c t e d a s p i r i t u a l malaise l e s s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the composer, perhaps, than of those who made use of h i s music i n t h e i r w r i t i n g s . The s e l e c t i o n of the Chopin r e p e r t o i r e tuned to one predominant mood, namely i t s langour, melancholy and ceasel e s s yearning, mirrored the growing d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of a c u l t u r e whose over-refinement was l a p s i n g i n t o decadence.  I n the  twentieth century, however, parody and reassessment provided the necessary antidote to an exacerbated aestheticism.  As a  r e s u l t , a d i f f e r e n t image of Chopin emerged from that depicted by h i s romantic admirers but, viewed i n perspective, he and h i s music have not suffered i n the process of changing evaluations. A s t a r t i n g point i n t r a c i n g the course of Chopin's image i n l i t e r a t u r e , however, w i l l be reference to p o r t r a y a l s of him i n works by those who were c l o s e s t to him h i s t o r i c a l l y .  - 3 -  Chopin's influence upon l i t e r a t u r e began when h i s contemporaries, who included many of the most g i f t e d and .-multi t a l e n t e d representatives of the romantic movement, were s u f f i c i e n t l y a t t r a c t e d to the p e r s o n a l i t y of the P o l i s h composer to seek to recreate h i s image i n music c r i t i c i s m , biography, the novel, the j o u r n a l , and l e t t e r s .  Schumann's a r t i c l e s  on Chopin i n Gesammelte S c h r i f t e n liber Musik und Musiker, Liszt's  L i f e of Chopin,  Delacroix'  Journal,  George Sand's  and Heine's  Lucrezia F l o r i a n i ,  Uber die franzosische Buhne  provide the f i r s t sources f o r a study of Chopin i n l i t e r a t u r e . C o l l e c t i v e l y these works present a complex p i c t u r e of the composer since the point of view adopted v a r i e d from that of admirer to f r i e n d to lover to confidant to f e l l o w e x i l e . I n v o l u n t a r i l y , Chopin had become a subject f o r w r i t e r s who were confronted by the paradoxical f i g u r e h i s l e t t e r s c l e a r l y r e v e a l him to be.  A passage from them set beside another des-  c r i p t i o n of Chopin by L i s z t reveals considerable d i v e r s i t y of approach.  The tone and the imagery of Chopin's d e s c r i p t i o n  of himself tempers the i d e a l i s m of h i s f r i e n d L i s z t , a pattern which exemplifies the twentieth-century approach to the composer i n contrast to that of the nineteenth Liszt:  century.  He constantly reminded us of a convolvulus balancing i t s heavencoloured cup upon an i n c r e d i b l y s l i g h t stem, the t i s s u e of which  i s so l i k e vapour that the s l i g h t e s t contact wounds and tears the misty corolla.^ Chopin:  I t i s not my f a u l t i f I am l i k e a mushroom which seems e d i b l e but which poisons you i f you pick i t and taste i t , taking i t to be something else.3  Chopin's own clue contained i n the l a t t e r passage helps to e x p l a i n one of the paradoxes long associated with the composer: although i n t e r p r e t e d as a leading representative of Romanticism, he nevertheless shared few of the features common to the movement as a whole, the foremost being an involvement with rature.  lite-  In contrast to h i s contemporaries notably Schumann,  L i s z t , B e r l i o z and others who drew i n s p i r a t i o n f o r many of t h e i r works from l i t e r a t u r e , Chopin preferred to be l e s s programmatic, using generalized t i t l e s and r e f u s i n g to discuss the sources of his  compositions.  H i s inner l i f e d i d not require added stimulus  from, reading, and h i s a r t i s t i c development remained unaffected by l i t e r a t u r e .  At the same time, t h i s d i s t i n g u i s h i n g character-  i s t i c i n no way a l i e n a t e d him from those musicians movement with l i t e r a r y a b i l i t i e s .  of the romantic  Foremost among these was  Robert Schumann. Schumann has often been considered the prototype of the German romantic.  His love of reading, developed from the hours  spent i n h i s father's bookshop at Zwickau, forged an i n d i s s o l u b l e l i n k between l i t e r a t u r e and music.  In a d d i t i o n , Schumann learned  - 5 -  p r a c t i c a l s k i l l s associated with the p u b l i s h i n g business.  During  h i s e a r l y l i f e , he witnessed the low standards of musical taste i n Germany., the preference for mediocre composers, the neglect of the former great ones as w e l l as of the new men of genius such as Chopin..  A c c o r d i n g l y , Schumann was aroused to spend much  valuable time away from composing i n order to d i r e c t music c r i t i cism along new paths, and to a l e r t a t o r p i d p u b l i c to what was happening a r t i s t i c a l l y .  Schumann's f i r s t c o n t r i b u t i o n to the  Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung  was an a r t i c l e i n 1831 i n t r o -  ducing Chopin w i t h the now c l a s s i c c l a r i o n c a l l Herren, e i n Genie."  "Hut ab, i h r  For h i s temerity i n the face of the Esta-  blishment, Schumann was rewarded by e l i s i o n s to h i s a r t i c l e and not being asked to w r i t e f o r the paper again.  There was no r e -  .- course f o r him but to s t a r t afresh with the demanding task of e d i t i n g h i s own paper, the Neue Z e i t s c h r i f t f u r Musik. The Chopin a r t i c l e i s a landmark i n music c r i t i c i s m because of Schumann's i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c treatment of h i s m a t e r i a l . In German romantic l i t e r a t u r e , Wackenroder had already attempted to express the impact of a musical experience through words but i n an e f f o r t to make b e a u t i f u l prose h i s musical judgement f r e quently became b l u r r e d . This was mainly owing to the fact that Wackenroder was w r i t i n g as a g i f t e d amateur rather than a p r a c t i s ing composer. indisputable.  E.T.A. Hoffmann's advantage i n t h i s respect i s  - 6 -  In Hoffmann, Schumann found the model for h i s p a r t i c u l a r type of music c r i t i c i s m , f o r Hoffmann was the f i r s t c r i t i c who spoke of music as a w r i t e r as w e l l as a musician. . . . Many of Hoffmann's d e s c r i p t i o n s of Mozart's and Beethoven's works, while precise and a n a l y t i c a l i n content, were, i n form, n a r r a t i v e prose. Schumann adopted the same method.^ By employing the form of dialogues through which h i s characters could c r i t i c i z e a r t and l i t e r a t u r e , Schumann was able to count e r a c t much of the pedantry i n musical scholarship without compromising h i s acute c r i t i c a l sense. while e n t e r t a i n i n g h i s readers.  He could  instruct  In the Chopin a r t i c l e he  features two characters who were to reappear on many occasions: the l y r i c a l Eusebius and the tempestuous F l o r e s t a n , the two halves of the whole Schumann.  I t i s Eusebius, however,  who  a l e r t s F l o r e s t a n to the genius of Chopin as the l a t t e r ' s opus 2 i s placed on the piano f o r perusal.  Unaccustomed  to t h i s novel  presentation of music c r i t i c i s m , Chopin was to dismiss Schumann's a r t i c l e as  "nonsense and gibberish.""'  Even i f the a u t h e n t i -  c i t y of t h i s reference (from what i s believed to be a spurious l e t t e r to D e l f i n a Potocka) remains i n doubt,  6  i t i s generally  accepted that Chopin had l i t t l e a f f i n i t y with the t r a i t s of German Romanticism expressed i n Schumann's prose as w e l l as i n h i s ardent p e r s o n a l i t y . Whatever Chopin's opinion, i t cannot a l t e r the f a c t that whether i n s t i n c t i v e l y or knowingly, Schumann had w r i t t e n with  - 7 -  prophetic lead  insight  later  the  direction  nineteenth-century  impression Schumann  into  that  Chopin's  that  writers.  music  presented  Chopin's  music  would  Explaining  the  unusual  on  the  printed  page,  elaborated: .  .  .  T5ne  diess hat  scheint  mir,  thumlichen Beethoven Mozart, als  verhullte  etwas  hat  jeder  sieht  augen  Componist  anders  wie  Jean  GSthe'sche.  augen,  der  mich  auf  an.  dem  aber  .  das  ohne  eigen-  Auge:  Papier,  als  Prosa  war  fremde  Basiliskenaugen, wundersam  seine  fur  Paul'sche  Hier lauter  Musik  Uberdiess  Notengestaltungen  etwa  blickten  GenieRen  Zauberisches.  anders,  mir's,  Augen,  als  Blumen-  Pfauenaugen,  MSdchen-  .  Q The  key  and  ominous,  of  dary  in  here  came  adder deftly  is  basilisk,  suggesting  aestheticism,  Chopin  has  word  to  the  be  with  form  it  at  some  examples  of  Schumann's  'fleurs  those  is  apt  unhealthy du m a l '  associated.  couched  this  the  with  of  of  By  flowers,  its  overtones  symbol with  the  incipient  danger  not  so  perceived.  Chopin  metaphor  easily i n  in  literature  become  readily  magical  for  the  growing  which  the  cult  mingling peacocks  both  the and a  eyes  the  bower;  after  full  legen-  Schumann  deceptive  assimilated.  of  the  maidens,  Only  can  of  wave  looking  implications  - 8-  CHAPTER I I  BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY OF CHOPIN IN LITERATURE OF THE LATE NINETEENTH AND EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY  With Chopin's death i n 1849, the f i r s t h a l f of the nineteenth century was n e a r l y over.  The second h a l f was to see changes,  p o l i t i c a l , r e l i g i o u s and s o c i a l which would reduce the world of the composer to a n o s t a l g i c memory.  S o c i a l l y , the main  changes were the r e s u l t of the ever-increasing i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n which was to provide wealth and a new c l a s s of f i n a n c i e r s to spend i t .  The a r i s t o c r a t s by b i r t h , f o r whom Chopin had  performed, that s e l e c t group upon whom he had lavished so much of h i s c r e a t i v e energy were now being replaced by a new r u l i n g class:  the men of property.  Chopin's music was to f i l l the  same emotional need f o r the l a t t e r as i t had f o r the former. To record the l i f e s t y l e of the men of property a new type of novel came i n t o being.  I n the hands of John Galsworthy and  Thomas Mann, f o r instance, i t borrowed techniques from Zola's naturalism.  I t s c a r e f u l l y amassed d e t a i l was not drawn from  the m i l i e u of the oppressed p r o l e t a r i a t , however, but rather i t depicted the m a t e r i a l i s m of the age as expressed by the a c q u i s i t i v e n e s s of i t s r u l i n g c l a s s .  In Mann's  Buddenbrooks  - 9 -  the concrete i s also tempered by the evanescent.  As Henry  Hatfield writes: The n o v e l , f a r from being n a t u r a l i s t i c i n s p i r i t , demonstrates h i s [Mann's] mastery of the techniques of naturalism and impressionism: elaborate accounts of the dinners, the bank balances, and the ailments of the Buddenbrooks a l t e r nate w i t h s w i f t evocations of mood. This i s e q u a l l y true of Galsworthy's  Forsyte Saga.  Impressio-  n i s t techniques w i t h i n both novels were a r e f l e c t i o n of what was happening concurrently i n the v i s u a l a r t s . and John Galsworthy  What Thomas Mann  depicted v e r b a l l y i n t h e i r drawing-room  scenes, Renoir had already brought to l i f e on canvas i n h i s "Lady at the Piano."  In t h i s p a i n t i n g , Renoir produced the  o r i g i n a l f o r a scene recreated i n so much f i c t i o n of the p e r i o d , and i f a sound track had been added, i t would have included the shorter works of Chopin. During the nineteenth century, a new middle-class audience came i n t o being which could not indulge i t s whim f o r music from p r i v a t e orchestras.  Correspondingly there arose a need f o r an  instrument w i t h i n the home and a p l e n t i f u l supply of music to play on i t . This was f a c i l i t a t e d by improvements i n piano b u i l ding and the cheapness with which p r i n t e d music could be c i r c u l a t e d e x t e n s i v e l y . More important, composers of the receding romantic p e r i o d had l e f t a legacy of short works f o r the piano expressing a m u l t i p l i c i t y of moods that were t a i l o r e d to drawing-  -  room needs.  Since  the  orchestra  and  the  reproduction  to  the  concert  experience  of  the  -  piano  could of  10  be  a  had  also  the  potentialities  spokesman  for  a l l  orchestral  hall.  music  Nietzsche,  Wagner's  music  by  was  for  no  instruments,  longer  instance,  listening  to  of  confined  had h i s  von  first  Bulow's  10  piano of  score  the  of  same  Tristan.  name,  was  Frau Kloterjahn's Where means  of  setting music.  place the  his at  he  duous  the  could  future  the  or  sedate a  of  in his  at  spell  Thomas  what  their  Mann,  for  he  the the  then,  over  or  willing themselves  instance,  in  to  was  of  the  so to  a  his  publicly took  homes  to  his  period  the  there  men-folk.  this  music-making  subtle  of  be  as  his  A  women,  music  endeavoured  I n some raised  ar-  no  magically.  of  of  publisher.  could  try,  own d r a w i n g - r o o m s ,  for  by  concerts  after  accomplished  their  by  music.  sympathetic  experience;  was  work  recreation  his  those  Novelle  drawing-room  thirty of  his  something  apartments  and  of  in his  Tristan  lost  were handed  unique  over  the  only  by  w i l l  idolaters  of  of  rest  a b i l i t y availed  aura  similar  succeeded.  a  recreating  lesser  the  works  were  generation  greater  weave  of  gave  Mann,  climax  case  atmosphere  surrounded  improvise  evenings  question  in Chopin's  held  his  the  may h a v e  career;^  There,  up  Thomas  performance  composer  soirees  polishing,  Chopin  in  entire  build  music  perfect  Polish  £lite.  art,  piano  Wagner's  the  The  during  to  reproduction, was  Later  in  cases a  of  and, to they  patrician  - 11 -  home where h i s mother, J u l i a , played the Chopin nocturnes, l e a v i n g an i n d e l i b l e impression upon the future w r i t e r of Der Bajazzo  and  T r i s t a n , as subsequent passages i n t h i s  study w i l l r e v e a l . In contrast to Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and Gottf r i e d Benn grew up i n homes where r e l i g i o n was of greater importance than the s o c i a l graces.  Chopin's music was not i n -  troduced i n the former (although Hesse engaged i n some musicmaking w i t h h i s brothers and s i s t e r s ) as Benn's poem  "Teils-Teils"  and unknown i n the l a t t e r ,  indicates.  . Through marriage,  however, both w r i t e r s found partners who could nurture the Chopin t r a d i t i o n w i t h i n the home.  Hesse's f i r s t w i f e , i n  p a r t i c u l a r , was an accomplished p i a n i s t and i n t h i s c a p a c i t y her influence upon her husband's e a r l y poetry and prose i s not unsubstantial.  In E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e of almost a decade e a r l i e r ,  "the lady at the piano" Wilde's  became the man at the piano i n Oscar  The C r i t i c as A r t i s t  (1890, 1891).  There, the back-  ground to a d i s c u s s i o n of a r t between Ernest and G i l b e r t i s provided by the music of Chopin.  Another man at the piano was Andre  Gide, who devoted h i s spare time to p r a c t i s i n g Chopin's music; t h i s l e d him to w r i t e a small book e n t i t l e d  Notes sur Chopin.  In a more detached manner, John Galsworthy and T.S. E l i o t explored the Chopin c u l t i n t h e i r works;  what Galsworthy treated  sympathetically and with obvious enjoyment p e r s o n a l l y , E l i o t  - 12 -  was to use f o r the purposes of parodying an outmoded t r a d i t i o n . The l i s t could be extended to include many others, among them Nietzsche, Chopin i n f l u e n c e .  Arthur Symons  and  Proust, who were under the  Since a s e l e c t i o n must be made, however, i n  order to avoid a mere catalogue and render a meaningful study of the  r e l a t i o n between Chopin and l i t e r a t u r e , i t would seem p r e f e r -  able to base t h i s upon the theme of the b a s i l i s k and i t s subsequent a n t i d o t e .  In less metaphorical terms, the aim would be to  study f i r s t the d e b i l i t a t i n g e f f e c t s of Chopin's music r e s u l t i n g from the i n a b i l i t y or d i s i n c l i n a t i o n on the part of w r i t e r s , notably Hermann Hesse, to look at more than one aspect of Chopin work; secondly, to examine the r e t u r n i n the twentieth century to a more balanced a t t i t u d e towards the music and i t s composer. To i l l u s t r a t e the f i r s t p a r t , works by Mann, Galsworthy, and Hesse w i l l be examined; f o r the second, those of E l i o t and Benn.  1  - 13 -  CHAPTER I I I  AUTHORS UNDER CONSIDERATION  A.  THOMAS MANN  —  JOHN GALSWORTHY  —  THE AESTHETES  Thomas Mann's f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n of Novellen, published i n 1908, included  Der Bajazzo  which uses Chopin's music as a c a t a l y s t  for s e t t i n g and theme. Kroger Bajazzo  A counterpart to the l a t e r  Tonio  which looks at the d i l e t t a n t e from the outside, Der portrays the d i l e t t a n t e from w i t h i n .  Yet the p r i n c i -  pal characters i n both Novellen have c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which unite them t o a c e n t r a l theme i n Mann's work.  Because of the d i v i s i o n  between burgher and a r t i s t , they are e q u a l l y incapable of gaining a place i n s o c i e t y which t h e i r upbringing would normally ensure them.  Each, to some extent, i s a v i c t i m of h e r e d i t y .  Both are  products of marriages between opposite natures, one oriented to business, the other to the a r t s .  Their home l i f e , i n above-  average surroundings, i s d i v i d e d between the imposing  efficiency  of the father on the one hand and the improvisatory a r t i s t r y of the mother, on the other.  Tonio, with h i s innate longing f o r  the s t a b l e world of h i s father nevertheless becomes an a r t i s t . Similarly,  "der Bajazzo,"  a f t e r a s u p e r f i c i a l attempt to j o i n  - 14 -  h i s f a t h e r ' s world of business, succumbs to the temptations of h i s mother's t a s t e i n a r t . diverge.  I t i s at t h i s point that t h e i r  paths  Tonio Kroger learns the d i s c i p l i n e and detachment  necessary to becoming a w r i t e r of the f i r s t rank.  From t h i s  vantage p o i n t , he can survey w i t h condescension verging on scorn the d i l e t t a n t e world i n which everything i s l a c k i n g except f e r vour and enthusiasm for a r t . and I s o l d e  Examining the e f f e c t of  Tristan  "auf einen jungen, gesunden, s t a r k normal empfinden-  den Menschen"  he concludes:  Sie sehen Gehobenheit, G e s t S r k t h e i t , warme, rechtschaffene Begeisterung, Angeregtheit v i e l l e i c h t zu eigenem>kunstlerischen<Schaffen... Der gute D i l e t t a n t i In uns KUnstlern s i e h t es g r l i n d l i c h anders aus, a l s er mit seinem >warmen Herzen < und > e h r l i c h e n Enthusiasmus < 1T s i c h trSumen In  Der Bajazzo,  mag. i r o n i c a l l y , the leading character, too,  i s capable of arousing undisguised admiration f o r h i s f a c i l e t a l e n t s used f o r the entertainment of h i s f r i e n d s and acquaintances.  At a s o c i a l gathering he gives an exaggerated  performance  of a music drama a l a Wagner, which draws accolades and even tears from an o l d gentleman i n the audience. "der Bajazzo"  Once alone, however,  lacks any genuine c r e a t i v e g i f t which would pro-  duce an o r i g i n a l piece of work.  By the end of the s t o r y , as  h i s confidence wanes and he s e l f - c o n s c i o u s l y studies the course of h i s undistinguished and u n d i s c i p l i n e d career, there i s nothing i n him but d i s g u s t .  - 15  -  S i g n i f i c a n t l y , Mann develops h i s story i n the form of an inner monologue; without an i d e n t i f y i n g name (except that of "trickster"  or  "mountebank"  coined by h i s f a t h e r )  "der  becomes a symbol f o r d i l e t t a n t i s m that i s d e b i l i t a t i n g and destructive.  Bajazzo" self-  In h i s i n t r o s p e c t i o n , Mann's character i s reminiscent-  of Werther whose i s o l a t i o n and wretchedness mirrored a d i s t o r t e d s u b j e c t i v i t y ; a f u r t h e r comparison i s that both are e q u a l l y helpl e s s i n the t o i l s of love. however,  "der Bajazzo"  healthy young man  Doomed to l i v e rather than to d i e ,  reveals the metamorphosis from  "the  of normal f e e l i n g s " (described by Tonio KrSger) 14  into  "eine ungluckliche und l S c h e r l i c h e F i g u r "  through con-  t a c t with a r t s that he cannot f u l l y master. I f the theme of  Der Bajazzo  i s d i l e t t a n t i s m and i t s  consequences, i t i s necessary to look at some of the shaping forces i n Mann's s t o r y which decided i t s i n e v i t a b l e outcome. Background and s e t t i n g become most s i g n i f i c a n t i n e s t a b l i s h i n g the p r e v a i l i n g mood that surrounds the young boy and influences - h i s future course of a c t i o n . The f i r s t room described i n room.  In i t the boy witnesses  Der Bajazzo  i s the drawing-  careers made or broken through  interviews granted by the f a t h e r ; here, too, he l i s t e n s to the melancholy s t r a i n s of Chopin's music i n the form of Nocturnes played by the mother.  The f u r n i t u r e of massive dark mahogany  mirrors the father's success; the t h i c k , dark-red c u r t a i n s exclude  - 16 -  the l i g h t and c o n t r i b u t e t o the nocturnal atmosphere, so comp a t i b l e t o the s e n s i b i l i t i e s of the mother. Sie saB im Dammerlicht, denn vor den Fenstern befanden s i c h schwere, dunkelrote Vorhange; und d i e weiBen G o t t e r f i g u r e n der Tapete schienen p l a s t i s c h aus ihrem blauen Hintergrund hervorzutreten und zu lauschen auf diese schweiren, t i e f e n Anfangstone eines Chopin'schen Notturnos, das s i e vor allem l i e b t e und s t e t s sehr langsam s p i e l t e , wie urn die Melancholie eines jeden Akkordes auszugenieBen.15 Chopin's music i s i n t e n s i f i e d by contact with i t s surroundings, as the personal r e n d i t i o n of the mother would seem to i n d i c a t e . Her f r a g i l e bearing, as ornamental as one of "die weiBen Gotterf i g u r e n der Tapete," the nocturnes.  i s accompanied by her personal l e i t m o t i f ,  They introduce the e x o t i c w i t h i n the conventional  (since i t w i l l be remembered that t h i s music was s t i l l a r e l a t i v e l y new experience i n the l a t e nineteenth century).  Their impact i s  no l e s s pronounced on the one who l i s t e n s to them than on the one who performs them.  By t h e i r means, the young boy i s made to f e e l  the d i f f e r e n c e between the two worlds inhabited by h i s parents and of the n e c e s s i t y for a choice as to the one he w i l l adopt. Ich saB i n meinem Winkel und betrachtete meinen Vater und meine Mutter, wie a l s ob i c h wahlte zwischen beiden und mich bedachte, ob i n traumerischen Sinnen oder i n Tat und Macht das Leben besser zu verbringen s e i . Und meine Augen v e r w e i l t e n am Ende auf dem s t i l l e n Gesicht meiner M u t t e r . " His choice, however understandable, i s not well-founded. 3  The  e x o t i c i s m of h i s mother's world depends for i t s existence upon an ordered framework.  When the father's s o l i d business s t r u c t u r e  - 17 -  c o l l a p s e s , so does the imaginative world of h i s w i f e . A f t e r h i s death S i e s p i e l t e n i c h t mehr Chopin, und wenn s i e h i e urid da l e i s e liber den S c h e i t e l s t r i c h , so z i t t e r t e ihre b l a s s e , zarte und mude Hand. Kaum e i n halbes Jahr nach meines Vaters Tode l e g t e s i e s i c h nieder, und s i e s t a r b , ohne einen Wehelaut, ohne einen Kampf um i h r Leben. . . .17 Fed on a world of dreams her love of music has developed  a  t o t a l w i l l - l e s s n e s s i n the face of e x t e r n a l a d v e r s i t y .  Music  as a d e b i l i t a t i n g agent was again to be explored by Thomas Mann through the p e r s o n a l i t y of young Hanno i n the l a t e r In both cases, death i s the only r e s o l u t i o n to the between a r t and In  Buddenbrooks. dissonance  life.  Der Bajazzo, the mother's legacy to her son i s the  awakening of a r t i s t i c longings without, however, i n s t i l l i n g i n him the need f o r d i s c i p l i n e i n developing h i s t a l e n t s . he explores the piano c a p r i c i o u s l y .  Thus  In performance, he lacks  manual d e x t e r i t y and a sense of rhythm, although there i s no lack of  "expressiveness"  i n h i s c r e a t i o n of tone colour.  In t h i s he i s not f a r removed from the l a d i e s of Chopin's acquaintance who,  according to the composer  hands and play wrong notes most s o u l f u l l y . " d i l e t t a n t e s , Chopin was  to add i n a l e t t e r :  " a l l look at t h e i r R e f e r r i n g to these "What a queer lot'.  18 God preserve them." It is at t h i s point that a dual pattern of reference begins to e s t a b l i s h i t s e l f .  Chopin, the myth, the w r a i t h  - 18  -  reincarnated i n the person of the f r a g i l e mother as she wafts her f i n g e r s over the keys, and Chopin the r e a l i t y .  As the l a t t e r  he reveals the truth of Mann's d e s c r i p t i o n of the e s s e n t i a l nature of the a r t i s t i n Tonio KrSger,  as opposed to the image of the  a r t i s t and h i s a r t b u i l t up i n the mind of the dabbler. Even without reference to the i r o n i c a l Chopin who set the highest standards f o r himself and f o r those who would play h i s music, i t i s easy to understand the a t t r a c t i o n s of h i s music f o r the d i l e t t a n t e .  A c u l t of s e n s i b i l i t y could be developed around  a p o r t i o n of the Chopin r e p e r t o i r e , thus making of the composer an easy v e h i c l e f o r emotions that would have f i l l e d him with d i s gust.  I t was  l a r g e l y on a w i l f u l misunderstanding of the o r i g i n a l  that the large band of Chopin i d o l a t e r s was formed at the turn of the century.  "Der Bajazzo"  i s but one instance of a v i c t i m to  the heady w h i f f of the b a s i l i s k .  Others were to f o l l o w .  In 1903, a second c o l l e c t i o n of Mann's Novellen appeared. I t included a new development of the C h o p i n - i n - l i t e r a t u r e theme w i t h i n the work e n t i t l e d  Tristan.  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Chopin  and Wagner frequently accompany each other i n Mann's s t o r i e s , and that h i s characters tend to react to both composers with equal enthusiasm.  This i s true of  young w i f e i n T r i s t a n ,  "der Bajazzo" as i t i s of the  whose musical performance begins with  Chopin nocturnes and culminates i n the death-inducing T r i s t a n  - 19 -  music.  Conversely,  i n E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e , a sharp d i s t i n c t i o n  between Chopin and Wagner i s made by Old Jolyon i n the Forsyte Saga,  w i t h the humourous r e f l e c t i o n that t h i s p a t r i a r c h of the 19  family  "could not bear a strong c i g a r or Wagner's music."  For Old J o l y o n , Chopin i s the a n t i t h e s i s of Wagner, r a t h e r than a precursor of him, a view held l a t e r by Adrian Leverktihn i n Mann's  Doktor Faustus  and borne out g r a p h i c a l l y i n the N o v e l l e ,  Tristan. Although Mann's personal a t t i t u d e towards Wagner remained e q u i v o c a l , a mixture of love mingled with d i s t r u s t , there i s l e s s evidence of a s i m i l a r a t t i t u d e towards Chopin. Bajazzo,  I n Der  f o r instance, there i s no overt c r i t i c i s m of the music  played by the mother comparable to that with which the e f f e c t s of Wagner are analyzed and passionately r e j e c t e d humourously)  (no matter how 20  by the organist Herr Pfuhl i n Buddenbrooks.  With no powerful o r c h e s t r a t i o n behind i t , Chopin's music d i d not present a great t h r e a t .  I n s i n u a t i n g l y nevertheless, i t  was unlocking recesses p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y and preparing f o r the more c o r r o s i v e impact of Wagner. In the words of Adrian Leverkiihn: Aber n i c h t ganz weniges g i b t ' s j a b e i Chopin, was Wagner, n i c h t nur harmonisch, sondern im Allgemein-Seelischen, mehr a l s a n t i z i p i e r t , nSmlich g l e i c h iiberholt. Nimm das cis-Moll-Notturno opus 27 No. 1 und den Zwiegesang, der angeht nach der enharmonischen Vertauschung von Cis-mit Des-Dur. Das u b e r t r i f f t an desperatem Wohlklang a l l e Tristan-Orgien- und zwar i n K l a v i e r i s t i s c h e r Intimitat,. n i c h t a l s Hauptschlacht der Wollust und  20 -  ohne das Corridahafte e i n e r i n der Verderbtheit rob.usten Theatermystik. I t i s not by chance, then, that i n T r i s t a n  the music of Chopin  i s the medium used to induce Frau K l o t e r j a h n to play the forbidden piano a t the sanatorium, but the nocturnes are a stepping-stone to Wagner — In  and chaos — Tristan,  and death.  Mann works with the same forces of h e r e d i t y  that take t h e i r t o l l i n Der Bajazzo, Buddenbrooks  Tonio Kroger,  and  (although not a l l with the same degree of f a t a l i t y ) .  Frau Klo'terjahn,  "the lady at the piano"  i n Tristan  i s descended  from an o l d l i n e of merchants, but her father i s more of an a r t i s t than a businessman.  Thus, the family stock i s already weakened  by t h i s man who makes music with h i s daughter i n a manner more capable of drawing tears from her eyes than from any other experience. When she m a r r i e s , however, she weds a t y p i c a l the mother i n Per Bajazzo  had done.  "burgher"  j u s t as  At the same time there r e -  mains a hidden yearning f o r beauty, but t h i s world of beauty which Frau K l o t e r j a h n experienced with her father i s "eine mit dem Tode verwandte Welt, b e g l e i t e t von b i o l o g i s c h e r Widerstandslosigkeit 22 gegenuber den Machten der Auflosung." Der Bajazzo, potentially  Unlike the mother i n  Frau K l o t e r j a h n already c a r r i e s the seeds of a f a t a l i l l n e s s w i t h i n her.  where the a c t i o n of T r i s t a n  At -iEinfrieck sanatorium,  takes place, a f u r t h e r d e t e r i o r a t i o n  of her h e a l t h r e s u l t s from contact with the one a r t to which she  - 21 -  must not have access. Between Frau K l o t e r j a h n and her husband who accompanies her to the sanatorium intrudes the tempter, Detlev S p i n e l l , a c a r i c a t u r e d f i g u r e of the a r t i s t i n the form of an I t i s he who,  "author."  f o r purposes of h i s own a e s t h e t i c g r a t i f i c a t i o n ,  l u r e s Frau K l o t e r j a h n back to the piano, and i s thus i n d i r e c t l y responsible f o r her death.  In a scene together, a f t e r a l l the  others have gone f o r a s l e i g h r i d e , the two indulge i n sharing the experience of the T r i s t a n score, with the Chopin nocturnes as Frau K l b t e r j a h n ' s i n i t i a l o f f e r i n g . S i e s p i e l t e das Nocturne i n Es-Dur, opus 9, Numrner 2. Wenn s i e w i r k l i c h einiges v e r l e r n t h a t t e , so muBte i h r Vortrag ehedem vollkommen kUrs t l e r i s c h gewesen s e i n . Das Piano war nur tnittelmaRig, aber schon nach den ersten G r i f f e n wu(3te s i e es mit sicherem Geschmack zu behandeln. S i e zeigte einen nervosen Sinn flir d i f f e r e n z i e r t e Klangfarbe und eine Freude an rhythmischer Bewegl i c h k e i t , d i e b i s zum Phantastischen ging. Ihr Anschlag war sowohl f e s t a l s weich. Unter ihren H^nden sang die Melodie i h r e l e t z t e S u s s i g k e i t aus, und mit einer zbgernden Grazie schmiegten s i c h die Verzierungen um i h r e G l i e d e r . ^ 2  From t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n , which appears to derive from the author's omniscient point of view rather than from that of the melodramat i c S p i n e l l , there i s every i n d i c a t i o n that Frau K l o t e r j a h n i s not a d i l e t t a n t e i n her musical understanding or her t e c h n i c a l equipment.  Rhythm i s inborn where i t was absent i n  "der Bajazzo;"  i n a d d i t i o n . t h e r e i s a f e e l i n g f o r subtle rubato without exaggeration.  But t h i s i s not enough on Mann's terms f o r d i v i d i n g the  true a r t i s t from the d i l e t t a n t e .  Because she i s not a seasoned  - 22 -  performer able to hold something i n reserve, Frau K l o t e r j a h n oversteps her l i m i t s .  And, unable to see where t h i s i s l e a -  ding her, she plunges on i n t o music demanding even greater personal involvement.  I n t h i s she provides another i l l u s t r a -  t i o n of Tbnio Kroger's d e f i n i t i o n of the d i l e t t a n t e as opposed to the more detached a r t i s t .  Frau Kloterjahn's b r i e f brush  w i t h the b a s i l i s k has l e d her to something even more deadly, over which she has no pox<?er at a l l . Between  Der Bajazzo  Mann's f i r s t major novel,  und T r i s t a n appeared Thomas  Buddenbrooks.  Although  i t s main pre-  occupation m u s i c a l l y i s with Wagner, i t i s u s e f u l as a basis f o r comparison w i t h that other great f a m i l y c h r o n i c l e : The Forsyte Saga  i n which the music of Chopin plays a more s i g n i f i c a n t r o l e .  Both Galsworthy and Mann belonged to the c l a s s they depicted so i n t i m a t e l y i n t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e works.  As such they could render  a f a i t h f u l p o r t r a i t of the world inhabited by the men of property. Indeed, a l l the Mann works c i t e d so f a r have a s e t t i n g s t r i k i n g l y s i m i l a r to that of Galsworthy's  Saga.  The drawing-room scenes,  f o r instance, could be exchanged without noticeable v i o l a t i o n to the d i f f e r e n t n a t i o n a l backgrounds.  The massive f u r n i t u r e , the  pearl-grey gowns worn by the r e s p e c t i v e l a d i e s at the piano cont r i b u t e to a f e e l i n g of growing f a m i l i a r i t y with the era.  Both  authors, too, are concerned with m a t e r i a l versus a r t i s t i c values, and the threat to f a m i l y s t a b i l i t y when the two worlds are united  - 23 -  through marriage.  For Galsworthy, the B r i t i s h e r , there was  never the same preoccupation w i t h the more profound themes of a r t i n r e l a t i o n to disease and death, f o r instance, that was to haunt Mann f o r h i s e n t i r e career.  The novels, although  similar  i n t h e i r choice of m i l i e u , r e f l e c t the d i f f e r e n c e s of Weltanschauung that have always separated the m y s t i c a l German mind from that of the more l u c i d E n g l i s h m e n t a l i t y .  Old J o l y o n ,  for instance, takes a somewhat hearty view of h i s i n i t i a l encounter w i t h the b a s i l i s k .  I n the Indian Summer of a  F o r s y t e , one of the i n t e r l u d e s of the Saga, he comes to terms w i t h the a r t of the A e s t h e t i c movement i n i t s extreme contrast to that of the more ponderous V i c t o r i a n t a s t e . Old Jolyon i s helped i n the developing of new s e n s i b i l i t i e s , normally outside the range of the average F o r s y t e , by the d i s t u r b i n g presence w i t h i n the c l a n of Irene, wife to Soames Forsyte.  Irene i s another of Soames' a c q u i s i t i o n s , and i n t o  the f a m i l y she brings the i n t a n g i b l e values so a l i e n to the m a t e r i a l i s t i c a l l y oriented Forsytes.  I n keeping w i t h f a m i l y  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , Soames could put a p r i c e on everything without r e a l i z i n g the value of anything.  He c o l l e c t s p a i n t i n g s , he  c o l l e c t s Irene, but i t i s l e f t to the more d i s c e r n i n g o l d pat r i a r c h to appreciate both.  I n the Indian Summer of a F o r s y t e ,  i t i s to Old Jolyon that Irene comes, a strange disembodied f i gure representing beauty that i s synonymous w i t h the nocturnes of Chopin which she i n t e r p r e t s with such grace.  Thus, through  - 24 -  Irene and her v i s i t s to h i s music room, Old Jolyon can enjoy what w i l l form some of h i s l a s t experiences and impressions. He loved Beethoven and Mozart, Handel and Gluck, and Schumann, and, f o r some o c c u l t reason, the operas of Meyerbeer; but of l a t e years, he had been seduced by Chopin, j u s t as he had succumbed to Botticelli. In y i e l d i n g to these tastes he had been conscious of divergence from the standard of the Golden Age. Their poetry was not that of M i l t o n and Byron and Tennyson; of Raphael and T i t i a n ; Mozart and Beethoven. I t was, as i t were behind a v e i l ; t h e i r poetry h i t no one i n the f a c e , but s l i p p e d i t s f i n g e r s under the r i b s and turned and t w i s t e d , and melted up the h e a r t . And, never c e r t a i n that t h i s was h e a l t h y , he d i d not care a rap so long as he could see the p i c t u r e s of the one or hear the music of the o t h e r . ^ t  Unmistakably, the aura of the b a s i l i s k i s not unknown to t h i s conductor of f i n a n c e , but at h i s time of l i f e , he can only acknowledge i t s presence without looking at the p o s s i b l e dangers i t might present to the foundations of h i s s t a b l e world.  It is  a problem f o r the younger generation to grapple w i t h .  Irene,  although married to Soames, becomes a t t r a c t e d to P h i l i p  Bosinney  whose a r t i s t i c nature i s more c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to her own.  With  the death of Bosinney, however, Irene i s u n l i k e her counterpart in  Tonio Kroger,  the passionate mother who  i s free to marry an  I t a l i a n v i r t u o s o a f t e r the death of Tonio's f a t h e r .  Only much  l a t e r , p r e c i p i t a t i n g her divorce from Soames, does Irene turn to Young J o l y o n whose a p p r e c i a t i o n of her a r t i s t i c nature i s as acute as h i s father's had been. What i s s i g n i f i c a n t i n the p o r t i o n quoted from the Summer of a Forsyte  Indian  i s an awareness of the changing s p i r i t of the  - 25 -  age with the i n t r u s i o n of a e s t h e t i c i s m i n t o England towards the turn of the century.  That the r e s t of Europe i n c l u d i n g  Germany was e q u a l l y a f f e c t e d i s i n d i c a t e d by Mann's c a r i c a t u r e d f i g u r e of the aesthete, Detlev S p i n e l l , i n T r i s t a n . Nur zuweilen konnte eine l e u t s e l i g e , l i e b e v o l l e und uberquellende Stimmung ihn b e f a l l e n , und das geschah jedesmal, wenn Herr S p i n e l l i n Ssthetischen Zustand v e r f i e l , wenn der A n b l i c k von irgend etwas Sch5nem, der Zusammenklang zweier Farben, eine Vase v o n edler Form, das vom Sonnenuntergang b e s t r a h l t e Gebirge ihn zu l a u t e r Bewunderung h i n r i B . ^ Hermann Hesse, too, i n Peter Camenzind, d i r e c t s an attack against the excesses of a e s t h e t i c i s m as he describes the f a t e of one talented young man: Auf den V i l l e n des reichen Herrn t r i e b er mit dessen nervbsen Damen e i n fades K s t h e t e n geflunker, s t i e g i n seiner Einbildung zum verkannten Heros und b r a c h t e s i c h , jSmmerlich m i B l e i t e t , durch l a u t e r Chopinmusik und p r f i r a f f a e l i t i s c h e Ekstasen systematisch um den  »  Verstand."^  Here i n Hesse's work i s the c a t h a r s i s f o r the w r i t e r himself who, i n the manner of Goethe i n Werther. saves himself by a l l o w i n g h i s character to pay the f u l l penalty f o r indulging h i s i n c l i n a t i o n s . With reference to Pre-Raphaelitism,  i t had already s e t  the fashion f o r women i n f i n - d e - s i e c l e f i c t i o n .  They now began  to resemble p a i n t i n g s , f u l f i l l i n g Oscar Wilde's dictum that nature imitates a r t .  Traces of t h i s are to be found i n Mann's d e s c r i p -  t i o n of the mother i n Der Bajazzo. . . . und wenn s i e , den Kopf e i n wenig zur S e i t e geneigt, am K l a v i e r e saB, so g l i c h s i e den k l e i n e n , riihrenden Engeln, die s i c h auf a l t e n B i l d e r n oft zu FiiBen der Madonna mit der G i t a r r e bemlihen.27  - 26  -  Even more f r a g i l e and ethereal i s Mann's f i r s t d e s c r i p t i o n of Frau K16terjahn (which i s s i m i l a r to the one where she plays to Herr S p i n e l l l a t e r i n the N o v e l l e ) : Ihre schbnen, blassen HSnde, ohne Schmuck b i s auf den s c h l i c h t e n Ehering, ruhten i n den SchoBf a l t e n eines schweren und dunklen Tuchrockes, und s i e trug eine s i l b e r g r a u e , anschliefjende T a i l l e mit festem Stehkragen, die mit hochaufliegenden Sammetarabesken iiber und Uber besetzt war. Aber diese gewichtigen und warmen S t o f f e liefien die uns^gliche Z a r t h e i t , SuBigkeit und M a t t i g k e i t des Kopfchens nur noch rlihrender, u n i r d i s c h e r und l i e b l i c h e r e r s c h e i n e n . 28  The f e e l i n g f o r mixed colour and texture i n t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n i s f u r t h e r enhanced t o n a l l y through the evanescent nocturnes. I t would be d i f f i c u l t to imagine the v i r i l e Chopin of the Etudes, the Polonaises or the v i t r i o l i c S c h e r z i being introduced i n t o t h i s p a r t i c u l a r scene.  The backlash caused by the exj  cessive a t t e n t i o n to the nocturnes descended upon the composer himself who,  i n the words of one disenchanted l a t e nineteenth-  century c r i t i c , was described "as f l e s h without bones - t h i s morbid, womanly, womanish, s l i p - s l o p , powerless,  bleached,  "29  sweet-caramel Pole.  This preference f o r the nocturnes was a r e f l e c t i o n of what was happening i n the v i s u a l a r t s .  In h i s p a i n t i n g , W h i s t l e r  had taken over the musical term as i t had been developed, by John F i e l d and then by Chopin. a l l a r t was  first  I f nature was i m i t a t i n g a r t ,  l e a r n i n g to a s p i r e to the c o n d i t i o n of music i n accor  dance w i t h the theories of Walter Pater.  What the aesthetes were  - 27  -  looking f o r was the side of Chopin that before impressionism."  " l i f t s the v e i l  In the words of Camille Bourniquel:  "he i s the master of those intermediate s t a t e s , those t r a n s i t i o n s , that moving s u b t l e t y , whereby there i s no: b r u t a l a f f i r 30  mation of s e l f but rather a magical o u t l i n i n g i n time." This appears as a p p l i c a b l e to W h i s t l e r ' s own evocative mood paintings as i t does to Chopin's nocturnes.  There i s , i n 31  both, what Bourniquel r e f e r s to as  "a new a r t of persuasion."  Such a shadowy, t w i l i g h t world of the imagination, so p e r f e c t l y recreated i n two a r t forms was l a r g e l y responsible for  the escape from r e a l i t y encouraged by the adherents of  l ' a r t pour l ' a r t .  To l i v e on a d i e t composed s o l e l y of t h i s  d e l i c a t e f i l a g r e e proved enervating i n the extreme to s e n s i t i v e natures.  Yet i t was t h i s aspect of f i n - d e - s i e c l e a r t that  proved so i r r e s i s t i b l e to Hermann Hesse.  In f a c t i t was  to  take n e a r l y h a l f of h i s c r e a t i v e l i f e to disengage himself from the t o i l s of the b a s i l i s k .  His e a r l y w r i t i n g r e f l e c t s the s e l f -  consciousness that developed out of l a t e nineteenth-century Romanticism combined with the impact of impressionism, a trend which was emerging when the Chopin myth was at i t s peak.  - 28 -  B.  HERMANN HESSE  U n l i k e Thomas Mann who f i r s t experienced the music of Chopin through h i s mother's s e n s i t i v e performances, Hermann Hesse pursued his  c u l t of the composer independently of h i s f a m i l y .  This i s not  to suggest that music was out of bounds w i t h i n Hesse's e a r l y home life.  I n f a c t i t was h i s mother who introduced him t o the v i o l i n  at the age of nine.  L a t e r , i n reminiscences of h i s f i r s t musical  experiences he was to w r i t e : Ich b i n n i c h t mit Virtuosen und i n Konzertsalen aufgewachsen, sondern mit Hausmusik, und d i e schbnste war immer d i e , b e i der man selber m i t t S t i g sein konnte; mit der Geige und e i n wenig Singen habe i c h i n den Knabenjahren d i e ersten S c h r i t t e ins Reich der Musik getan, die Schwestern und namentlich Bruder K a r l s p i e l t e n K l a v i e r , K a r l und Theo waren beide SSnger, und wenn i c h d i e Beethovensonaten oder die weniger bekannten Schubertlieder i n der frlihen Jugend von Liebhabern zu horen bekam, deren Leistung keine v i r t u o s e war, so war es doch auch n i c h t ohne Nutzen und Ergebnis, wenn i c h etwa K a r l lange Z e i t im Nebenzimmer um eine Sonate werben und kampfen horte und s c h l i e f l l i c h , wenn er sie «hatte» , den Triumph und Gewinn dieses Kampfes miterleben d u r f t e . This cosy v i g n e t t e underplays the f a c t that Hesse remained a problem c h i l d to bewildered parents who could not keep up with the turmoil of l i t e r a r y and musical tastes adopted by t h e i r son. passage does not mention the music of Chopin.  The foregoing  I t was only a f t e r  taking up an apprenticeship to a book-seller i n Tubingen that Hesse, then aged eighteen, could a f f o r d to decorate h i s room with a large reproduction of a Chopin p o r t r a i t , and to pay homage to t h i s new  - 29 -  and i n c r e a s i n g l y important musical i d o l i n a s e r i e s of short, rather undistinguished l y r i c s .  At l e a s t one of them did not  f a i l to i n s t i l l considerable apprehension i n h i s parents to whom Hesse wrote l i n e s , during September of 1897,  i n d i c a t i n g the  h o l d that the eyes of the b a s i l i s k now exerted over him. Was fur Nietzsche Wagner war, i s t fur mich Chopin — oder noch mehr. Mit diesen warmen lebendigen Melodien, mit dieser pikanten, l a s c i v e n , nervosen Harmonie, mit dieser ganzen so ungemein intimen Musik Chopins, hangt a l l e s Wesentliche meines g e i s t i g e n und s e e l i s c h e n Lebens zusammen. Und dann bestaune i c h an Chopin eben immer wieder die Vornehmheit, die Zurlickhaltung, die vollendete Souveranitat seines Wesens. An ihm i s t a l l e s a d l i g , wenn auch manches degeneriert. J  For Hesse, Chopin's n o b i l i t y and reserve i s mixed with the decadence that grew out of the l a t e nineteenth century rather than from the o r i g i n a l romantic movement. The foregoing passage once again l i n k s the name of Chopin w i t h that of Wagner.  In t h i s case, Hesse weighs h i s own enthusiasm  for the former against that exerted by the l a t t e r over Nietzsche. Seen i n p e r s p e c t i v e , however, t h i s comment i s i n v a l i d a t e d by changing l o y a l t i e s w i t h i n both w r i t e r s . Wagner was  subsequently  Just as Nietzsche's a f f i n i t y with  to d e t e r i o r a t e , so too, i r o n i c a l l y enough  was Hesse's own f e e l i n g for Chopin.  Although  e x e r t i n g a consider-  able i n f l u e n c e upon the mood of Hesse's e a r l y output, notably Romantische Lieder and  (1899),  Hermann Lauscher  Eine Stunde h i n t e r Mitternacht  (1901),  (1899)  the music of Chopin appears to be  of s l i g h t importance a f t e r the p u b l i c a t i o n of  Gertrud  i n 1910.  34  - 30 i'  The l i n k between the e a r l y works and  Getrud  i s Peter Camenzind  (1904) which shows Hesse taking a more c r i t i c a l look at the c u l t which had h e l d such a t t r a c t i o n f o r him.  His break w i t h  Chopin was, i n e f f e c t , owing to a dwindling of i n t e r e s t ; there was no outspoken condemnation of the composer which marked Nietzsche's break w i t h Wagner.  Unlike Andre" Gide, Hesse apparently d i d not  explore the f a c t that Nietzsche, too, valued Chopin's music h i g h l y . On one occasion Nietzsche wrote: Ich s e l b s t b i n immer Pole genug, urn gegen Chopin den Rest der Musik hinzugeben.3-> In a d d i t i o n , Nietzsche was to f i n d something i n Chopin's music that apparently eluded Hesse i n h i s e a r l y career. i n a passage from  I t appears  Der Wanderer und s e i n Schatten.  Fast a l l e Zustande und Lebensweisen haben einen s e l i g e n Moment. Den wissen die guten Kunstler herauszufischen. So hat einen solchen s e l b s t das • Leben am Strande, das so l a n g w e i l i g e , schmutzige, . ungesunde, i n der NShe des lSrmendsten und h a b g i e r i g sten Gesindels s i c h abspinnende; - diesen s e l i g e n Moment hat Chopin, i n der Barcarole, so zum ertonen gebracht, daB s e l b s t GBtter dabe geltisten kSnnte, lange Sommerabende i n einem Kahne zu l i e gen.36 37 Andre" Gide has i n t e r p r e t e d the  " s e l i g e n Moment"  as j o y .  However, i n t e r p r e t e d , t h i s phrase points to the a n t i t h e s i s of yearning and the longing f o r death that was the dominant mood i n Hesse's e a r l y Chopin poetry and prose.  I t was Joseph M i l e c k who  f i r s t suggested i n h i s comprehensive b i b l i o g r a p h i c a l survey of m a t e r i a l r e l a t i n g to Hesse that  "since Nietzsche has undeniably  been a formative f i g u r e i n Hesse's l i f e , h i s possible influence upon Hesse's a t t i t u d e to music bears f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n . "  38  *  - 31  -  This i n i t s e l f would r e q u i r e a s p e c i a l study, l y i n g beyond the l i m i t s of the present m a t e r i a l . Nowhere i s Hesse's adherence to the convention of f i n - d e - s i e c l e w r i t i n g moreevident than i n the poetry i n s p i r e d by Chopin's music.  In t h i s Hesse attempts to fuse the noble  and the decadent i n the manner described to h i s parents.  CHOPIN I Schutte wieder ohne Wahl Uber mich die b l e i c h e n , groBen L i l i e n deiner Wiegenlieder, Deiner Walzer r o t e Rosen. F l i c h t darein den schweren Hauch Deiner Liebe, die im Welken Duft v e r s t r e u t , und deines S t o l z e s Schaukelschlanke F e u e r n e l k e n . ^  In t h i s poem, the f i r s t of a t r i p t y c h based on Chopin's music, Hesse makes h i s appeal to the senses, evoking both colour and perfume.  Strangely, he ignores a u r a l imagery p r e f e r r i n g to  conjure up suggestions of l u l l a b i e s and dances by a comparison w i t h f l o w e r s , deepening the colours with the i n t e n s i t y of the l a s t line.  Hovering over t h i s b r i e f l y r i c i s the s t a t e of forgetfulness  which Hesse requests from the h e a v i l y sensuous music. of the b a s i l i s k reverberate i n  Overtones  "den schweren Hauch deiner Liebe,"  and as a whole the poem displays an unhealthy hothouse of emotions as a r t i f i c i a l as the  "schaukelschlanke Feuernelken."  - 32 -  In the second poem  "Grande V a l s e , " Hesse r a l l i e s  to  l i v e l i e r rhythms and conjures up a scene of c h i v a l r i c fervour, as he depicts the b a l l before the b a t t l e i n the opening stanza. Just as r a p i d l y , however, h i s mood of e x h a l t a t i o n i s d i s p e l l e d r e v e a l i n g the transience of human f e e l i n g s and Hesse's p a r t i c u l a r emotional  own  cast which i s i n the minor key.  •— — Juchhe, MusikI In durstigen Zugen t r i n k t mein heiBer B l i c k Das junge, schone, r o t e Leben e i n , Und t r i n k t s i c h nimmer s a t t an seinem L i c h t . Noch einen Tanz! Wie bald! und Kerzenschein Und Klang und Lust verl'ischt; der Mondschein f l i c h t Schwermlitig seinen Kranz i n Tod und G r a u s . ^ The most i n t e r e s t i n g poem i n the t r i p t y c h , however, i s the third entitled  "Berceuse."  This poem reveals that Hesse's l i f e  experience had d e f i n i t e points of contact with that of Chopin. I t w i l l be remembered that both were to become e x i l e s from t h e i r native land. root  "helm"  S i g n i f i c a n t i n the poem i s the number of times the occurs:  Chopin's yearning f o r  "Heimatland," "Heimat"  "heimwarts,"  "Heimweh."  was never to be subdued.  I t was  t h i s feature of h i s p e r s o n a l i t y that unlocked a sympathetic response from another poet, H e i n r i c h Heine, who wrote: Wenn er am K l a v i e r s i t z t und i m p r o v i s i e r t , i s t es mir, a l s besuche mich e i n Landsmann aus der g e l i e b t e n Heimat und erzahle mir die kuriosesten Dinge, die wahrend meiner Abwesenheit, dort pass i e r t s i n d . . . . ^ For Hermann Hesse, i n p a r t i c u l a r , l i f e was  to become  pursuit of E i n h e i t , " frequently i n t e r p r e t e d by him as  "a p e r s i s t e n t 42 "Heimat."  - 33 -  I t i s here that he remained close to the s p i r i t of the e a r l y German romantics i n t h e i r eternal quest:  "Wo gehn w i r denn  43 hin?"-  "Immer nach Hause."  The route was to lead Hesse  through the work of other composers u n t i l , i t would seem, with the music of Bach i n G l a s p e r l e n s p i e l ,  he had a c t u a l l y a r r i v e d .  Once there, however, the quest appears to begin a l l over again. A f t e r Knecht has mastered p e r f e c t i o n i n C a s t a l i a , he i s w i l l i n g to f o r f e i t h i s e a r t h l y paradise of " G e i s t "  i n exchange f o r the  more humdrum l i f e that Hesse so s t o u t l y r e j e c t s during the Chopin period of h i s c r e a t i v i t y . In the e a r l y poem  "Berceuse"  there i s a f e e l i n g of no  r e t u r n ; the home that the poet would come to remains i n a c c e s s i b l e to him.  There i s here revealed i n Hesse the same d u a l i t y of a r t  opposing l i f e that created tension w i t h i n Thomas Mann and h i s characters.  For Hesse, at t h i s time, one of the few remaining  comforts l i e s i n snatches of melody from h i s youth.  This i s a l s o  reminiscent of Chopin who, i n the midst of the turmoil of the B minor Scherzo, introduced a gentle P o l i s h Christmas song, a l u l l a b y t o the i n f a n t Jesus.  I n "Berceuse," the poet and the composer become  united i n dreams of t h e i r homelands. Ruhm und Gllick,"  Hesse here alludes to "totem  suggesting overtones of former P o l i s h g l o r y which  Chopin was t o r e v i v e i n h i s c h i v a l r i c Polonaises.  The  "Heimat"  that had provided Chopin with f i r e und energy, and i s symbolized by the now faded  "Rosenstrauss," however, has a converse e f f e c t  on Hesse, who sinks i n t o apathy of s p i r i t :  - 34 -  Ich b i n j a auch so v/elk and schwank, Gebrochen und am Heimweh krank, ^ Und kann n i c h t mehr nach Hause kommen. This i s not to suggest that Chopin d i d not f e e l s i m i l a r l y apat h e t i c on occasion, but the mood never dominated h i s music i n the  way that i t a f f e c t e d the imagery of Hesse's poetry.  Taken  c o l l e c t i v e l y the poems of the Chopin t r i p t y c h provide a v a r i a t i o n on the f a m i l i a r song form i n music: the  an  ABA  pattern i n which  rhythms of the waltz provide a contrast to the enervating  mood of the f i r s t and t h i r d poems. S i m i l a r l y i n h i s prose the same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are again a c l e a r i n d i c a t i o n of Hesse's state of mind at the time. From the  "Fiebermuse"  chapter  Eine Stunde h i n t e r . M i t t e r n a c h t  comes the f o l l o w i n g : Diesen schmachtigen, kranken Chopin l o c k t e s i e von Reiz zu R e i z , s i e l e h r t e i h n s e i n Herz belauschen und deuten und l e h r t e s e i n Herz i n z i t t e r n d bewegten Takten schlagen, b i s es i n Mlidigkeit und Sehnsucht vor dem treibenden Stachel e r l a g . Mir aber erzMhlte s i e von ihm, l i e B mein Herz i n seinen miiden, stachelnden Rhythmen schlagen und l e h r t e mich mein Herz belauschen und d e u t e n . ^ I t i s u n l i k e l y that Chopin would have been impressed by t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of himself i n the g r i p of the Once again i t i s whatever appears to be "schwermutig"  "Fiebermuse." "krankhaft"  und  i n the composer and h i s music that f i n d s the most  empathy w i t h i n the poet. Hermann Hesse, l i k e Thomas Mann, uses the Nocturne i n E f l a t , opus 9, No. 2, f o r the evocation of n o s t a l g i a .  In a  - 35 -  poem e n t i t l e d  "Nocturne"  q u a l i f i e d by  "Es-Dur"  i n the ope-  ning l i n e , he goes on to describe h i s f a v o u r i t e piece as L i e d der L i e d e r , "  "ein  a phrase which occurs i n Hermann Lauscher.  The s p e c i a l place given to t h i s nocturne i n Hesse's work was perhaps prompted by the fact t h a t , of a l l the nocturnes, i t i s the one most adaptable to the singing tone of the v i o l i n , the instrument which Hesse learned i n h i s youth and which appears i n so much of h i s e a r l y poetry. by the l a s t passage i n Hermann Lauscher.  This i s borne out In t h i s work Hesse  combined a l l the Neo-Romantic c l i c h e s associated with Chopin  —  "eine schbne wohlbekannte Frau auf dem V e i l c h e n s t r a u B f l u g e l " playing  " d i e Nokturne i n Es-Dur von Chopin, jenes L i e d , das  nur Heimweh- und Fliigelkranke ganz verstehen, mit seinen zarten, durch e i n geheimes Leiden v e r g e i s t i g t e n Takten."  Then, as i n  "Berceuse," memories of the poet's l o s t youth harmonize with v i o l i n melodies and make the perfect fade-out f o r the work that Hesse looked upon as being a f a r e w e l l to h i s youth and the mood of h i s e a r l y poetry. Ich h o l t e meine vergessene und verstaubte Geige hervor und r i e f die z a r t l i c h scheue Melodie mit leisem Strichewach, und aus dem a l t e n , braunen Instrument sang meine verlorene Jugend i n heimlichen Untert5nen mit. In  Hermann Lauscher  Hesse attempts to come to terms with h i s  own s p i r i t u a l malaise through the persona Lauscher. l a t t e r , Mark Boulby w r i t e s :  Of the  - 36 -  As a l a t e decadent Romantic, Hermann Lauscher s u f f e r s from the obsessive i n t e l l e c t u a l i z a t i o n of a mode of experiencing which i s i n h e r i t e d from countless l i t e r a r y forbears; h i s PreRaphaelite posing i s conducted i n the f u l l d a y - l i g h t of inescapable s e l f - o b s e r v a t i o n , and the mask i s consciously though i m p u l s i v e l y worn.47 The l a s t passage i n Hermann Lauscher, however, i s presented without i r o n i c a l comment as though Lauscher, l i k e Hesse, were l u l l e d by the music i n t o a state of mind that he never r e a l l y wanted to abandon. In an e f f o r t to impose some sort of order on an i n c r e a s i n g l y r e s t l e s s heart and to s t i l l yearnings which the romantic irony of Lauscher could not d i s p e l , Hesse married Maria B e r n o u l l i i n 1904.  L i k e Thomas Mann's mother, Hesse's  f i r s t w i f e was an accomplished p i a n i s t with a r e p e r t o i r e of the  e a r l y romantic composers to perform f o r her husband.  Fre-  quently, Hesse would s i t i n a neighbouring room reading a book to the accompaniment of short piano pieces by Schumann followed p o s s i b l y by the f i r s t or t h i r d nocturne of Chopin. t i o n of t h i s s e t t i n g occurs i n the section from  A recrea-  "Wenn es Abend w i r d "  Am Bodensee. H a l t , das i s t n i c h t Schumann mehr! Was i s t es doch? J a , Chopin. N a t l i r l i c h , Chopin, die erste Nocturne. Oder die d r i t t e . G l a s z a r t e , scheue Tbne, verwischte und traumwandelnde Takte, wundersam geschlungene, elegante Figuren, und die Akkorde erregend, wie v e r z e r r t , Harmonie und Dissonanz nicht mehr zu unterscheiden. A l l e s auf der Grenze, a l l e s ungewiB, nachtwandlerisch  - 37 -  taumelnd, und mitten hindurch mit diinnem F l u s s eine siiBe, milde, k i n d e r s e l i g reine Melodie. Chopin! Diese Musik v o l l Heimweh, Sehnsucht und Erinnerung, und im Hintergrunde Paris. Nicht P a r i s von heute, sondern e i n andres, i r o n i s c h e r und sentimentaler, mit andern Tapeten und Kostumen, mit Chopin und H e i n r i c h Heine.48 From t h i s r e v e r i e , however, the poet i s aroused to consider the present.  The p o r t i o n that follows i s a r e f l e c t i o n of the new  d i r e c t i o n that Hesse's thoughts and emotions were t a k i n g . Having reached the s t a b i l i t y and s e c u r i t y of an ordered home l i f e at Gaienhofen, Hesse soon r e t r e a t e d i n t o even f u r t h e r discontent. his  H i s musical experiences,  l i k e everything else i n  m a r i t a l l i f e , came under close s c r u t i n y and were found wan-  ting. Es i s t schbn, es i s t schmeichelnd und wohlig, anseinem sicheren Tisch zu s i t z e n , e i n sicheres Dach tiber s i c h , einen zuverlassigen Wein i n der Kanne, eine w o h l g e f u l l t e groBe Lampe brennend und nebenan b e i offener Ture eine Frau am K l a v i e r , Chopin-Stiicke und K e r z e n l i c h t ... P l o t z l i c h s t e i g t mir wie eine Seifenbla^e die Frage auf: B i s t du eigentlich gllicklich? In an e a r l i e r poem e n t i t l e d  "Valse b r i l l i a n t e "  Hesse had  already foreshadowed the d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t that he was to s u f f e r at Gaienhofen.  The musical pas-de-deux contains an atmosphere  of tension that i s at variance with the poem's s p r i g h t l y rhythm. Den F l l i g e l du, die Geige i c h , So s p i e l e n wir und enden n i c h t Und warten a n g s t v o l l , du und i c h , Wer wohl zuerst den Zauber b r i c h t .  - 38 -  Over a passage of time, the e a r l y enthusiasm f o r Chopin based on the excitement of something rare and touched (not unp l e a s a n t l y ) with danger, had become worn down i n the r o u t i n e of a f a m i l i a r experience, now h e a v i l y interwined with connotations of the domestic;  the b a s i l i s k had become a household pet.  It  was the s i g n a l f o r Hesse to reach out i n a new d i r e c t i o n .  Not  only was he eventually to leave h i s wife and growing f a m i l y , h i s home, h i s comfortable existence, but a l s o h i s a l l e g i a n c e to a former i d e a l :  the music of Chopin.  What he d i d not know  was that the path he came to choose i n search of himself was the way that Chopin had adopted at the outset of h i s career.  This  road was to lead Hesse through the realms of Mozart and then Bach as he forged a new l i t e r a r y s t y l e .  In h i s e a r l y musical  t r a i n i n g , Chopin had already learned to appreciate from these composers c l a s s i c a l r e s t r a i n t and l u c i d i t y that was to remain with him and to form the basis f o r h i s own a r t .  Unfortunately,  those who created the c u l t of Chopin never came t o appreciate t h i s ; i n s t e a d , they recognized i n h i s music only harmonies that were t h r i l l i n g t o the ear and to the emotions.  Thus, they  proceeded t o use Chopin's music as an o u t l e t f o r t h e i r own d i s t o r t e d emotions.  Only gradually d i d Hesse achieve harmony be-  tween a r t and l i f e ; he was never to associate any of t h i s moder a t i o n with the composer who longed to be measured by the standards of the Golden Age.  - 39 -  L a t e r , i n Hesse's novel  Demian  between the respectable world of  (1919),  "light"  the c o n f l i c t  inhabited by S i n c l a i r ' s  parents, and the s i n i s t e r , yet always subconsciously a t t r a c t i v e world of  "dark"  which looms at the fringes of middle-class  existence mirrored the c o n f l i c t Hesse was experiencing p e r s o n a l l y . What S i n c l a i r learned from the d i s t u r b i n g yet r e v e a l i n g person a l i t y of Demian was the need f o r s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n at a l l cost and the c a p a c i t y to transcend the conventional dichotomies of good and evil. ''" 5  Translated i n terms of Hesse's l i f e experience,  the f i r s t step f o r him had been to e s t a b l i s h h i s independence at Tubingen where he could explore h i s own a r t i s t i c tastes unimpeded by parental disapproval at close range.  This meant  indulging h i s t a s t e for the music of Chopin and g i v i n g expression - to i t i n h i s e a r l y poetry and prose pieces.  Once, however, the  forbidden f r u i t had been set i n a new mould of domesticity, i t q u i c k l y began to lose i t s appeal. become  "eine Frau am K l a v i e r " ;  The lady at the piano had "Chopin-Stiicke und K e r z e n l i c h t "  had become nineteenth-century equivalent of  "music to dine by."  In Hesse's case there seemed to be no a l t e r n a t i v e but to r e j e c t t h i s phase of h i s development and to seek new dichotomies of good and e v i l which he would then transcend. i n Hesse had begun to growl.  The Steppenwolf  I t was perhaps because harmony  and dissonance are i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e i n Chopin's a r t ,  "diese  52 Musik v o l l Heimweh, Sehnsucht und Erinnerung" was l e d to new areas of c o n f l i c t and eventual  that Hesse conquest.  - 40 -  As a contemporary romantic,  Hesse survived a c r u c i a l  t r a n s i t i o n from the f i n - d e - s i e c l e nineteenth-century atmosphere to the modern world.  More than t h i s , he was able to adapt h i s  w r i t i n g accordingly.  Unlike G o t t f r i e d Benn, however, who succee-  ded i n b r i n g i n g a nineteenth-century romantic composer i n t o the framework of twentieth-century verse,Hesse never chose to adapt Chopin to the demands of the second stage of h i s w r i t i n g . U n l i k e Mozart, i n Steppenwolf,  who does not appear to s u f f e r  from h i s encounter with the modern world, Chopin, i n Hesse's w r i t i n g , remains immured amid the fading perfumes of a e s t h e t i cism.  Thus, the b a s i l i s k who f i r s t appeared as a formidable  threat has become a museum piece, a r e f l e c t i o n of one of those myths that becomes powerless once i t has been exposed.  The  b a s i l i s k i n Chopin's music had undergone a metamorphosis  similar  to that of Romanticism which  'began as gunpowder, continued as 54  magic powder and ended as sleeping powder.  1  I t was l e f t to  the twentieth century to awaken the Chopin c u l t i s t s by using the abrasive a c t i o n of parody and a new l i t e r a r y s t y l e , less emotional and more l a c o n i c , both notable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of T.S. E l i o t and G o t t f r i e d Benn.  - 41 -  C.  T.S. ELIOT — GOTTFRIED BENN —  CONCLUSION  In England, towards the end of the nineteenth century, the r e a c t i o n against the ugliness of the V i c t o r i a n period had stimulated the A e s t h e t i c movement;  the l a t t e r was eventually  undermined by the R e a l i s t movement whose f u n c t i o n i t was to counteract conventions i n a r t that were not so much decadent as outmoded.  The type of verse w r i t t e n by Hesse i n h i s e a r l y  years i s an instance of the need for reform i n poetry i f i t was t o speak to a new age.  What came i n t o being i n Europe  i n the e a r l y twentieth century was poetry with greater c l a r i t y and sharpness of image and word. to the "Imagists"  The leadership given  i n England came from the French  Symbolists  who had produced a poetry t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t from that of Georgian England, being at once tough to the point of cynicism and i n t e n s e l y sharp and d e l i c a t e i n i t s observation of humanity. I t was d i f f e r e n t i n i t s methods. I t s imagery was new and s t a r t l i n g and embraced new aspects of l i f e , i n c l u d i n g those of the c i t y ; a l s o t h i s imagery worked by a s s o c i a t i o n , and by j u x t a p o s i t i o n and contrast of opposites. Convent i o n a l and s a n c t i f i e d images were e i t h e r avoided or used i n such a way that they achieved contrad i c t o r y e f f e c t s by being placed i n a r i d i c u l o u s p o s i t i o n among other completely incongruous images.55 . T h i s , then, was the model f o r T.S. E l i o t who, i n the manner of Laforgue, wrote mood poetry i n r e a c t i o n against r o m a n t i c i s m . The e a r l y poems  " P o r t r a i t of a Lady" (1910)  Galante" (1909)  make t h e i r attack upon the romantic p o s i t i o n  through the music of Chopin.  and  56  "Conversation  By t h i s means E l i o t could  parody  - 42 I {  the  c u l t of the P o l i s h composer as one of the strongest evidences  of worn-out romanticism. The Lady i n E l i o t ' s  "Portrait"  i s no longer at the  piano; she has now become a passive receptacle f o r r e c i t a l s which mark  "the season"  i n London.  Chopin r e c i t a l has the a r t i f i c a l  Her d e s c r i p t i o n of a  r i n g about i t that comes from  a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h snobbish connoisseurs of a r t who employ a j a r gon that verges on the t r u t h but i s e q u a l l y a t r a v e s t y of i t . Thus, the f o l l o w i n g fragment forms part of the dialogue between the  lady and her r e l u c t a n t lover and sets the tone f o r the poem  as a whole. He:  We have been, l e t us say, to hear the l a t e s t Pole Transmit the Preludes, through h i s h a i r and f i n g e r - t i p s .  She:  'So i n t i m a t e , t h i s Chopin, that I think h i s soul Should be resurrected only among f r i e n d s Some two or three, who w i l l not touch the bloom ^_ That i s rubbed and questioned i n the concert room. 1  The unconcealed i r o n y of "authentic"  "the l a t e s t Pole," a slam at the number of  Chopin i n t e r p r e t e r s , i s enhanced by the v e i l e d r e -  ference to Paderewski whose h a l o of h a i r was as much a part of the  legend as h i s nimble f i n g e r - t i p s . ! T h i s , of course, expresses  the man's point of view.  The lady's l i n e s are untouched by irony  and suggest the kind of t r u t h that Gide preached so f e r v e n t l y i n h i s book  Notes sur Chopin.  In t h i s work he encouraged Chopin  p l a y i n g by dedicated amateurs who would not allow concert h a l l  \ • v  t r i c k s or the magnetism of a huge, audience to sway them from the e s s e n t i a l l y improvisatory nature of the music.  The  preciosity  - 43 -  of the lady's tone, however, r i d i c u l e s what otherwise, could be taken quite s e r i o u s l y :  the f a c t that Chopin's a r t i n i t s  most intimate moments belongs to the drawing-room rather than t o the concert h a l l . Throughout  " P o r t r a i t of a Lady"  the s t i l t e d conver-  s a t i o n of the lady f u r t h e r - a l i e n a t e s the man who i s conscious of a divergence between h i s thoughts and hers. Inside my b r a i n a d u l l tom-tom begins Absurdly hammering a prelude of i t s own, Capricious monotone That i s a t l e a s t one d e f i n i t e ' f a l s e note. The  ' f a l s e note'  1  f a i l s to pierce the lady's a e s t h e t i c cocoon,  however, as her voice  "returns l i k e the i n s i s t e n t out-of-tune/  Of a broken v i o l i n on an August afternoon."  Thus through the  play of musical analogies and rhyming couplets E l i o t creates the t e n s i o n r e s u l t i n g from the man's awareness of the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of the lady's world i n the face of the present c o n d i t i o n at the same time, there i s no i n d i c a t i o n that he w i l l change the o l d order. E a r l i e r i n "Conversation Galante"  E l i o t directed his  thrust against the u n r e a l i s t i c p i c t u r e of the world which the whole  "genre"  of the nocturne had f o s t e r e d .  — — 'Someone frames upon the keys That e x q u i s i t e nocturne, w i t h which we e x p l a i n The n i g h t and moonshine; music which we s e i z e To body f o r t h our own v a c u i t y . ' ^ Insidiously,  "moonshine"  holds up t o r i d i c u l e a l l the untruths  -  -  44  perpetrated under the influence of a mood.  In l i g h t of the  number of nocturnal poems and essays w r i t t e n by Hermann Hesse, i t might not be u n f a i r to suggest that the v a c u i t y E l i o t r e f e r s to was  l a r g e l y responsible for the abandonment of Chopin by  Hesse, i n search of that fulness which was r e a l i z e d , only with his later writings. The j o l t given by E l i o t to the Chopin c u l t proved a timel y antidote to what had become c l o y i n g i n extreme. same time that E l i o t was  About the  f i n d i n g a new voice f o r E n g l i s h poetry,  G o t t f r i e d Benn was rousing the German reading p u b l i c w i t h h i s f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n of poems:  Morgue (1912).  Where E l i o t ' s voice  emerged from the drawing-room, however, Benn's came from the hosp i t a l ward.  E l i o t ' s r e s t r a i n t was  to be p a r a l l e l e d only much  l a t e r by Benn as he reacted against the E x p r e s s i o n i s t movement of which he was  i n i t i a l l y regarded a member.  More of a thinker  than the E x p r e s s i o n i s t poets, he has often been compared i n t e l l e c t u a l l y to T.S.  E l i o t , but as Henry H a t f i e l d points out Benn lacked  E l i o t ' s humanity as w e l l as h i s C h r i s t i a n i t y . ^ 6  The two  authors  were to be l i n k e d only much l a t e r through l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m when i n h i s  Three Voices of Poetry  Probleme der L y r i k .  E l i o t r e f e r r e d to Benn's  Both works explore the same problems which  the poet encounters i n f i n d i n g an appropriate l i n k between poet and reader.  "voice"  f o r the  In both cases tone became i n c r e a -  s i n g l y important as each w r i t e r d i r e c t e d h i s c r i t i c i s m against the squalor and l o s s of values w i t h i n a changing s o c i e t y .  - 45 -  I t w i l l be remembered that G o t t f r i e d Benn worked i n two spheres.  L i k e E l i o t , Benn was a l i t e r a r y c r i t i c and prose  w r i t e r as w e l l as a poet; h i s other l i f e revolved around medicine. I t was h i s p r o f e s s i o n a l duties as a doctor that provided him w i t h m a t e r i a l f o r h i s e a r l y c o l l e c t i o n of poetry.  The r e a l i s m  of h i s approach, h i s f i d e l i t y to d e t a i l even of the most f  unpalatable k i n d , l i n k s him to the N a t u r a l i s t s who b e l i e v e d i n f a c t u a l reportage of l i f e as i t i s and introduced physiology i n t o t h e i r w r i t i n g s to make t h e i r point c l e a r .  Since dermatology,  venereal disease, and d i s i n t e g r a t i n g bodies were the r e a l i t y to Benn, he introduced them into h i s poems.  I n some cases, the  h y s t e r i c a l giggle of the medical student exposed to h i s f i r s t horrors i s embedded i n Benn's i n i t i a l outset h i s s t y l e ignored  "shockers".  At the  "Visionen, Traum, VerklMrung;" i t  sprang from a d i s t r u s t of metaphors and thus stands apart from the poems of h i s E x p r e s s i o n i s t contemporaries, Heym, T r a k l and Lasker-Schuler.  I t represented  der gewaltsame Versuch, d i e W i r k l i c h k e i t •, s e l b s t i n s Gedicht einzufuhren, unver^ndert, ohne a l l e U b e r l i e f e r t e K u n s t g l o r i o l e , aber im Pathos des Leidens, des E k e l s , des Durchhaltens.61 Later as the tendency to shock mellowed, Benn adopted an understatement that i s no l e s s powerful i n i t s impact. q u a l i t y that c h a r a c t e r i z e s the "Chopin" Statis.che Gedichte  (1948).  I t i s this  poem included i n  - 46 In  t h i s poem, i n i t i a l l y , Benn appears to be using Chopin  as a case study of the i n f l u e n c e of t u b e r c u l o s i s on the c r e a t i v e genius.  The t h i r d s e c t i o n of the poem emphasizes t h i s aspect.  In a d d i t i o n , i n the manner of the E x p r e s s i o n i s t s , Benn adopts an unusual " d i s l o c a t e d " chronology of the poet's l i f e . the  At  same time, h i s f a c t s are nearly always meticulous, i n d i c a -  t i n g the k i n d of p r e c i s i o n i n t r e a t i n g h i s subject matter that was so a l i e n to the nineteenth-century accounts of Chopin. The poem i s not concerned s o l e l y with f a c t s , however; i t opens out i n the l a s t two stanzas to r e v e a l what Is of u n i v e r s a l s i g n i f i c a n c e about the composer's a r t : the f a c t that i t exerted an i n f l u e n c e out of a l l proportion to the small hand of the one that produced i t .  I t would seem, i n r e t r o s p e c t , that  from the l i t e r a r y point of view t h i s i n f l u e n c e has tended to be negative.  M u s i c a l l y speaking there i s s c a r c e l y a nineteenth-  century composer from Wagner to Debussy who has not benefited from the harmonic inventiveness of Chopin.  This i n f l u e n c e has  extended even i n t o the twentieth century i n the subtle v o c a l accompaniments of Benjamin B r i t t e n . In passing i t i s necessary to mention that the Chopin poem of his  1948 i s not the only instance of Benn's use of the composer i n l i t e r a r y canon.  In " T e i l s - T e i l s " the poet draws from h i s  own autobiography i n e x p l a i n i n g the shaping forces upon h i s l i f e and a r t . He begins: In meinem Elternhaus hingen keing^Gainsboroughs wurde auch k e i n Chopin g e s p i e l t . . .  - 47 -  The a u s t e r i t y of so much of Benn's w r i t i n g had i t s o r i g i n s i n the home where no Gainsboroughs hung on the w a l l s and where the music of Chopin was not played. contact with the music comes  In "Chopin",  on the other hand,  "aus offenen Terrassentliren/ b e i -  s p i e l s w e i s e aus einem Sanatorium,"  i r o n i c a l l y l i n k i n g the doctor'  rounds with the disease that was to b r i n g about the e a r l y death of the composer.  Here, too, are echoes of Mann's  Tristan  with Frau K l o t e r j a h n at the piano i n S i n f r i e d Sanatorium.  From  d i f f e r e n t points of view both Benn and Mann remind the reader of the popular f a s c i n a t i o n with lung sickness that formed a s i g nificant  part of nineteenth-century l i t e r a t u r e . Since much of the poem works on s e v e r a l l e v e l s i t w i l l  be necessary  t o give a close a n a l y s i s of i t s content before  attempting a f i n a l estimate of i t s importance to the study of Chopin i n l i t e r a t u r e . in i t s entirety.  For t h i s reason the poem i s included  -  48  -  G O T T F R I E D  BENN  CHOPIN Nicht sehr e r g i e b i g im Gesprach, Ansichten waren n i c h t seine Starke, Ansichten reden drum herum, Wenn D e l a c r o i x Theorien e n t w i c k e l t e , wurde er unruhig, er s e i n e r s e i t s konnte die Notturnos n i c h t begrlinden. Schwacher Liebhaber; Schatten i n Nohant, wo George Sands Kinder keine erzieherischen RatschlSge von ihm annahmen. Brustkrank i n jener Form mit Blutungen und Narbenbildung, die s i c h lange h i n z i e h t ; s t i l l e r Tod im Gegensatz zu einem mit Schmerzparoxysmen oder durch Gewehrsalven: man riickte den F l u g e l (Erard) an die Tur und Delphine Potocka sang ihm i n der l e t z t e n Stunde ein Veilchenlied. Nach England r e i s t e er mit d r e i F l u g e l n : P l e y e l , Erard, Broadwood, s p i e l t e fvir 20 Guineen abends eine V i e r t e l s t u n d e b e i R o t h s c h i l d s , Wellingtons, im S t r a f f o r d House und vor zahllosen Hosenb&ndern; verdunkelt von Miidigkeit und TodesnShe kehrte er heim auf den Square d Orleans. 1  Dann verbrennt er seine Skizzen und Manuskripte, nur keine Restbestande, Fragmente, Notizen, diese v e r r a t e r i s c h e n E i n b l i c k e — , sagte zum SchluB: »Meine Versuche sind nach MaBgabe dessen v o l l e n d e t , was mir zu erreichen moglich war .  - 49 -  S p i e l e n s o l l t e jeder Finger mit der seinem Bau entsprechenden K r a f t der v i e r t e i s t der schwachste (nur siamasisch zum M i t t e l f i n g e r ) . Wenn er begann, lagen s i e auf e, f i s , g i s , h, c. Wer j e bestimmte Pr&ludien von ihm h o r t e , s e i es i n LandhSusern oder i n einem Hohengelande oder aus offenen Terrassenturen b e i s p i e l s w e i s e aus einem Sanatorium, w i r d es schwer vergessen. Nie eine Oper komponiert, keine Symphonie, nur diese tragischen Progressionen aus a r t i s t i s c h e r Uberzeugung und mit einer k l e i n e n Hand. ^  The f i r s t l i n e , an almost throw-away, sets the tone f o r the understatement that i s an e s s e n t i a l element of the poem's t o t a l impact.  With j u s t i f i c a t i o n Benn notes the r e t i c e n c e of  the composer w i t h i n a s o c i a l m i l i e u . invariably  treated  "en p r i n c e "  Although Chopin was  (to use L i s z t ' s d e s c r i p t i o n )  as a r e s u l t of h i s a r i s t o c r a t i c bearing and impeccable manners, there was a l s o w i t h i n him the desire to hold something i n reserve, and he never committed himself to deep discussions w i t h i n the g l i t t e r i n g but sometimes s u p e r f i c i a l aura of the salon.  - 50 In comparison to L i s z t who had a penchant f o r drawing-room mysticism, Chopin had l i t t l e i n t e r e s t i n p h i l o s o p h i z i n g for  the b e n e f i t of h i s f r i e n d s .  This extended also to r e -  v e l a t i o n s concerning the nature c f h i s own c r e a t i v e process. The i r o n y of the l a s t l i n e s of the f i r s t stanza i n the Benn poem are a r e f l e c t i o n of t h i s a t t i t u d e : "account f o r " h i s nocturnes?  how could Chopin  Extensive research about  the composer reveals that there i s very l i t t l e evidence to support any theory or theories he may have had about the genesis of h i s compositions.  Neither was he concerned w i t h  p h i l o s o p h i c a l discussions of music.  Yet, i f one examines a  j o u r n a l entry of Eug"ene D e l a c r o i x dated A p r i l 7, 1849, s h o r t l y before Chopin's death, i t would appear that the v e i l of r e t i cence had been temporarily drawn aside i n the presence of a close f r i e n d and f e l l o w a r t i s t . Dans l a journee, i l m'a parle' musique, et c e l a l ' a ranime'. Je l u i demandais ce q u i e t a b l i s s a i t l a logique en musique. I I m'a f a i t s e n t i r ce que c'est qu'harmonie et contrepoint; comme quoi l a fugue est comme l a logique pure en musique, et qu'£tre savant dans l a fugue, c'est connaitre 1'element de toute r a i s o n et de toute consequence en musique. J ' a i pense combien j ' a u r a i s ete"'heureux de m ' i n s t r u i r e en tout c e l a q u i d^soie les musiciens v u l g a i r e s . Ce sentiment m'a donne une ide'e du p l a i s i r que l e s savants, dignes de l ' e t r e , trouvent dans l a science. C'est que l a v r a i e science n'est pas ce que 1'on entend ordinairement par ce mot, c'est-a-dire une p a r t i e de l a connaissance d i f f e r e n t e de l ' a r t ; non! La science envisagee a i n s i , demontre'e par un homme comme Chopin, est l ' a r t lui-meme, et par contre l ' a r t n'est plus a l o r s ce que l e c r o i t l e v u l g a i r e , c ' e s t - a - d i r e une sorte d ' i n s p i r a t i o n qui v i e n t de j e ne s a i s ou, q u i  - 51 marche au hasard, et ne presente que l ' e x t e r i e u r p i t t o r e s q u e des choses. C'est l a r a i s o n elle-meme ornee par l e genie, mais suivant une marche ^ necessaire et contenue par des l o i s superieures.  Thus, Benn i n the opening stanza of h i s poem on Chopin appears to c o n t r a d i c t the core of Delacroix' impressive statement. Was the p a i n t e r , i n e f f e c t , so c a r r i e d away by h i s own eloquence that he a t t r i b u t e d to Chopin what were a c t u a l l y D e l a c r o i x ' own thoughts on music?  The i m p l i c a t i o n from Benn's poem i s that  Chopin became r e s t l e s s when the p a i n t e r developed t h e o r i e s . E i t h e r Benn d i d not read D e l a c r o i x ' J o u r n a l , which seems u n l i k e l y i n l i g h t of h i s otherwise thorough research of h i s subject, or he i s suggesting a new and i n t e r e s t i n g p o s s i b i l i t y i n the Chopin Delacroix relationship. I n the second stanza of "Chopin," Benn appears to move from the s o c i a l to the sexual sphere.  Although there has been  considerable disagreement concerning the a c t i v e r o l e played by Chopin i n h i s r e l a t i o n s with the i n s a t i a b l e Madame Sand, one thing emerges c l e a r l y ; Chopin was an incongruous f i g u r e i n the Sand menage.  Although l a t e r he attempted to assume a quasi-father  r o l e which mainly consisted i n s i d i n g with George Sand's daughter, Solange, against her mother, b a s i c a l l y Chopin only sought a place i n which to continue the painstaking work of p u t t i n g h i s compos i t i o n s on paper.  Perhaps Chopin's p o s i t i o n i n the Sand family  Is best summed up by the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n papers required f o r the t r i p to Majorca.  Mme. Dudevant, married; Maurice, her son, minor; Solange, her daughter, minor; M. F r e d e r i c Chopin, a r t i s t . The order i n t h i s instance i s not without symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the l i g h t of Chopin's l a t e r break with George Sand.  Prior  to t h i s , a f t e r the exhausting Majorca debacle, Chopin returned w i t h the family to George Sand's country estate. "shadow i n Nohant"  There, the  enjoyed a productive period i n which the  b u c o l i c atmosphere played no small p a r t . contentment were infrequent, however.  Such i n t e r v a l s of  Benn, i n the t h i r d pro-  t r a c t e d stanza of the poem analyzes the course of Chopin's illness in clinical detail.  The "quiet death"  i s so only  by comparison w i t h the countless anonymous twentieth century deaths  "durch Gewehrsalven."  S h i f t i n g between a past era  and the present which provides a sudden shock to the reader, Benn again r e v e r t s to the "romantic" circumstances of Chopin's death which have been repeatedly recorded i n accounts of the composer.  Benn's  "Veilchenlied"  sets the tone f o r the Age  of S e n s i b i l i t y and leaves open the p o s s i b i l i t y that t h i s might a l s o be one of the legends around the composer's f i n a l hour. Considerable v a r i a t i o n of opinion e x i s t s as to what D e l f i n a a c t u a l l y sang, but i t i s generally agreed that the b e a u t i f u l P o l i s h countess to whom Chopin was e s p e c i a l l y a t t r a c t e d chose Stradella's  "Hymn to the V i r g i n "  and Marcello's  "Psalm."  Benn's reference to the Erard piano, p e d a n t i c a l l y set i n brackets i s i r o n i c and f u r t h e r points up the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of the s e t t i n g .  - 53 -  ' Stanza four, i n flash-back, returns to the time s h o r t l y before Chopin's death, when, i n an e f f o r t to f i l l h i s depleted c o f f e r s , he embarked on a tour of England and Scotland that was to p r e c i p i t a t e h i s death.  Speaking of t h i s  'Strapaze,' Arthur  Hedley i n h i s recent and valuable study of the composer w r i t e s : And one must admire the courage of a man who, w i t h i n a year of h i s death, could face up to the t e r r o r s of a London 'season' w i t h a l l i t s f a t i g u e s , disappointments and demands on nervous resistance.^ Both Benn and Hedley by r e v e a l i n g the r e a l i t y expose the s u p e r f i c i a l facade conjured up by the g l i b tongue of E l i o t ' s  "Lady."  More than ever the reader i s made aware of the g r u e l l i n g tax on a f r a i l mechanism, which could i n turn produce the diaphanous i l l u s i o n around which so many myths were to be spun i n the name of  Chopin. Benn i s nowhere more precise than when recounting the  f a c t s of the E n g l i s h expedition i n which three pianos rather than three  ships were i n tow.  At the same time some poetic  l i c e n c e i s i n evidence since the pianos were made a v a i l a b l e to Chopin only a f t e r h i s a r r i v a l i n London.  In a d d i t i o n to the num-  ber Benn l i s t s the make of the grand pianos, conjuring up past g l o r i e s through the magic of names.  This applies even more to  the d i s t i n g u i s h e d f a m i l i e s f o r whom Chopin performed. "HosenbSnder"  The  i s a gentle jeer at the a r i s t o c r a c y w i t h whom Benn,  u n l i k e Chopin, would have f e l t extremely remote.  E q u a l l y precise  - 54 i s the time and the amount given and received f o r the p r i c e l e s s experience of hearing Chopin  "der Unnachahmliche."^  For the  composer, the n e c e s s i t y of d o l i n g out h i s strength was by George Sand who maintained  that  emphasized  "avec sa f a i b l e saute', i l  faut  68 q u ' i l gagne assez d'argent pour t r a v a i l l e r peu."  But mankind  has a way of exacting i t s revenge i n due course.  At Chopin's  f u n e r a l , the singers of Mozart's Requiem were providing t h e i r s e r v i c e s f o r a fee of 2,000 f r a n c s , much to the d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t and dismay of Chopin's f r i e n d A l b e r t Grzymala who " t h e i r s e l f respect ought to have impelled them to  f e l t that offer  and  not  69 to s e l l to h i s memory." Benn's account of the aftermath of the expedition to England i s f a c t u a l l y t r u e , and Stanza 5 points to the high standards that remained i n v i o l a t e i n the composer to the end.  George Sand has  l e f t an account of the t e r r i b l e b i r t h pangs Chopin underwent before even a s i n g l e page of manuscript was  completed.  Mais a l o r s commencait l e labeur l e plus navrant auquel j ' a i e jamais a s s i s t e . C ' e t a i t une s u i t e d ' e f f o r t s , d ' i r r e s o l u t i o n s et d'impatiences pour r e s s a i s i r c e r t a i n s d e t a i l s du theme de son a u d i t i o n : ce q u ' i l a v a i t concu tout d'une piece, i l l ' a n a l y s a i t trop en voulant l ' e c r i r e , et son regret de ne pas l e retrouver net, selon l u i , l e j e t a i t dans une sorte de desespoir. I I s'enfermait dans sa chambre des journees e n t i e r e s , pleurant, marchant, b r i s a n t ses plumes, repetant et changeant cent f o i s une mesure, l ' e c r i v a n t et l ' e f f a ^ a n t autant de f o i s , et recommencant l e lendemain avec une perseverance minutieuse et desesperee. I I p a s s a i t s i x semaines sur une page pour en r e v e n i r ^ a l ' e c r i r e t e l l e q u ' i l 1'avait tracee du premier j e t .  - 55. -  In a s i m i l a r fashion Chopin was e q u a l l y anxious to leave no "treacherous b e t r a y a l s " of the e f f o r t i t cost him to produce, which accounts f o r the proportion of  " p e r f e c t " works that have  been l e f t to p o s t e r i t y . Another legacy which remained u n f i n i s h e d , however, was the  "method"  Chopin had planned to b e n e f i t f u t u r e piano students  i n a d d i t i o n to p r o v i d i n g him with another source of income. Chopin was an e x c e l l e n t teacher who recognized the value of a prac t i c a l manual that would incorporate those exercises and ideas he had found of most value i n d i r e c t i n g h i s p u p i l s towards piano playing i n the Chopin manner. most s e n s i b l e k i n d :  His ideas were always of the  "Never p r a c t i s e more than three hours" -  "The hand should not s t r a i n i n unnatural p o s i t i o n s . "  In Stanza 6  Benn has incorporated Chopin's a n a l y s i s of the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the hand i n a d d i t i o n to the simple exercise f o r the c o r r e c t pos i t i o n of the hand - a l l matters of i n t e r e s t to a medical as w e l l as to a performing musician and composer.  man  In a d d i t i o n ,  they show that Chopin was f a r i n advance of h i s time, and that h i s ideas were only to be thoroughly appreciated i n the twentieth century. F i n a l l y , Benn, i n the midst of r e v e a l i n g t e c h n i c a l i t i e s does not f a i l to recognize the unforgettable experience that belongs to a hearing of the Preludes, no matter what the l o c a l e . This leads him to the f a c t that Chopin's l i m i t a t i o n s of range  - 56 -  Nie eine Oper komponiert, keine Symphonie.. . enabled him t o concentrate where he was a r t i s t i c a l l y at home. As Hedley maintains: In l i m i t i n g himself t o the piano he i n no way c r i p p l e d or t i e d down h i s genius, for by h i s n a t u r a l a f f i n i t y w i t h h i s instrument he was provided with a s u f f i c i e n t o u t l e t for the wealth of s e n s i b i l i t y which h i s double i n h e r i t a n c e [French and P o l i s h ] had endowed him ... Chopin i s indeed the complete i l l u s t r a t i o n of Goethe's dictum: ' I t i s when working w i t h i n l i m i t s that mastery reveals i t s e l f Undoubtedly Benn's l a s t image stroke of the poem.  "einer k l e i n e n Hand"  i s the master  On one l e v e l i t means j u s t what i t says:  an examination of the cast taken of Chopin's hand the morning a f t e r h i s death reveals that i t was indeed s m a l l .  I t has been pointed  out, however, by those who saw Chopin perform that the hand was extremely e l a s t i c between the f i n g e r s , that i t could s t r e t c h l i k e 72  "the mouth of a serpent about to devour a r a b b i t whole" the composer to cover a t h i r d of the keyboard.  enabling  Metaphorically,  t h i s i s a l s o true of Chopin's influence which gradually increased a f t e r h i s death out of a l l proportion to the hand that composed the music.  P o e t i c a l l y t h i s strange and b r u t a l image a l e r t s the  reader to a d i f f e r e n t kind of Chopin;  the serpent i n t h i s instance  i s not t o be confused with the e a r l i e r b a s i l i s k , which the f a t a l f a s c i n a t i o n upon f i n - d e - s i e c l e w r i t e r s .  represented  Rather the  new metaphor reveals the aspect of Chopin's music that the aesthetes chose l a r g e l y to ingore:  that possessed of f i r e , strength, and  even f e r o c i t y which emanates from the music i n s p i r e d by h i s P o l i s h heritage.  - 57 -  Thus Chopin i n Benn's account of him i s revealed as a 73 man whose  "unadventurous f l a v o u r of being"  i s i n marked  contrast to h i s strength and o r i g i n a l i t y as an a r t i s t .  The 74  small hand  "had a g r i p which gave the l i e to i t s f r a g i l e look."  Although Benn's poem appears d i s j o i n t e d and d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y f a c t u a l , he has, i t would seem, helped to d i s p e l . t h e sentiment a l i t y without l o s i n g the pathos of t h i s man who i n C a r l y l e ' s words was a 'noble and much s u f f e r i n g human b e i n g . ' ^  The  sense of t r a g i c progression i s there i n Chopin's l i f e , i f not on a vast s c a l e , and i t i s through each stanza, complete i n i t s e l f l i k e a Prelude, that Benn creates the formal v e h i c l e for a r r i v i n g a t h i s ultimate conclusion concerning the composer. i  In a d d i t i o n , Benn does not a l i e n a t e sympathy by the i r o n y of the i  poem's opening stanzas, since .much of phopin's own s e l f - e s t i m a I t i o n was based on a profound sense of h i s inadequacy i n coping with everyday r e a l i t i e s .  That he once described himself as  'a donkey a t a fancy-dress b a l l —  a v i o l i n E - s t r i n g on a double-bass'  should discourage any biographer from approaching  the composer  without a strong sense of.the i r o n i c . In summary, i t may be maintained that the h i s t o r y of Chopin i n l i t e r a t u r e has been a tortuous one. Benn's poem, although the f i n a l work under c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n t h i s study, actua l l y marks the beginning of a more sincere attempt on the part of w r i t e r s to discover behind the man and h i s music much that the myth  - 58 -  has o b l i t e r a t e d .  One of the d e s c r i p t i o n s of Chopin that has  been i n constant currency i s that of Moscheles who when asked what Chopin was l i k e r e p l i e d ;  "His music."  I t follows then  that i f such interdependence e x i s t s the man or h i s music w i l l s u f f e r i f there i s m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n on e i t h e r s i d e .  The  aesthetes perpetrated a one-sided p i c t u r e of the music i n t h e i r w r i t i n g s because they misunderstood the man.  Benn has, i n turn,  provided a less d i s t o r t e d p i c t u r e of the man which a l s o speaks for  the q u a l i t y of the music.  The f a c t that h i s poem encourages  frequent comparisons with the assessment of a contemporary Chopin a u t h o r i t y suggests a new trend i n l i t e r a r y - m u s i c a l s t u d i e s . I t would seem that, having survived the c u l t of the b a s i l i s k , Chopin and h i s music w i l l continue to e x i s t i n l i t e r a t u r e only i f there are w r i t e r s prepared to add to the store of truths about him and a reading p u b l i c prepared to accept these t r u t h s .  - 59 FOOTNOTES ^"Adam Harasowski, The Skein of Legends around Chopin (Glasgow, 1967), p. 15.  2 Franz L i s z t , L i f e of Chopin, trans. M. Walker Cook (London, 1877), p. 12. O r i g i n a l l y e n t i t l e d F. Chopin, the book f i r s t appeared s e r i a l l y i n a j o u r n a l , La France musicale, from February 9 to August 17, 1851. In 1852 i t was then published i n book form. 3  Selected Correspondence of Fryderyk Chopin, ed. Arthur Hedley (London, 1963), p. 171. 4 Robert Schumann, On Music and Musicians, ed. Konrad Wolff (New York, 1964), pp. 15-16. ^Casimir Wierzynski, The L i f e and Death of Chopin (London, 1951), p. 191. 6 Selected Correspondence, p. 386. ^Robert Schumann, " E i n Opus I I , " Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, XLIX (December, 1831), 806. 8 b a s i l i s k - " a mythical r e p t i l e hatched by a serpent from the egg of a cock and whose breath, o r , i n other v e r s i o n s , look would k i l l , or b l a s t . " This note, quoted from Harasowski, p. 253, i s intended to provide more s u b s t a n t i a l proof f o r the correctness of the reading of ... ' b a s i l i s k ' rather than ' b a s i l ' as i t was t r a n s l a t e d from Schumann's a r t i c l e . Camille Bourniquel had made the e r r o r i n what i s otherwise a perceptive study of Chopin. 9 Henry H a t f i e l d , Thomas Mann (Connecticut, 1951), p. 2. ^ G e r a l d Abraham, A Hundred Years of Music (London, 1955), p. 131. "'""''Alfred Cor t o t , In Search of Chopin (London, 1951), p. 84. 12 Klaus Schroter, Thomas Mann (Hamburg, 1964), p. 16. 13 Thomas Mann, "Tonio Kroger," Sa'mtliche Erzahlungen (Frankfurt am Main, 1963), p. 235.  - 60 14Mann, "Der Bajazzo," S.E., p. 110. 15, ' i b i d . , p. 84. ~*" Ibid., p. 85. 6  I b i d . , p. 91.  1 7  18 Selected Correspondence, p. 348. 19  J o h n Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga (New York, 1931), p. 308.  20 Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks ( B e r l i n , 1932), p. 478. 21  Mann, Doktor Faustus (Frankfurt am Main, 1967), p. 144.  0  0  V i k t o r Zmegac", Die Musik im Schaffen Thomas Manns ( H a l l e , 1962), p. 43. 23  Mann, " T r i s t a n , " S.E., p. 191.  24 Galsworthy, p. 308. 2 5 , ,  T r i s t a n , " p. 176.  26 Hermann Hesse, Gesammelte Dichtungen, I ( B e r l i n , 1958), 283. 27  " D e r Bajazzo," p. 84.  T r i s t a n , " p. 172. J . Cuthbert Hadden, Chopin (London, 1903), p. 204. Camille Bourniquel, Chopin, trans. S i n c l a i r Road (New York, 1960), p. 122. Ibid. 2 8 , ,  Hermann Hesse, "Engadiner E r l e b n i s s e , " Neue Schweizer Rundschau, XXI (Oktober, 1953), 331. 32  33  Bernhard Z e l l e r , Hermann Hesse (Hamburg, 1963), p. 36. 3  V a r k Boulby, Hermann Hesse: His Mind, and A r t (New York, 1967),  p. 75.  F r i e d r i c h Nietzsche, Werke i n d r e i Eanden, I I (Munchen, 1960), 1092. 3 6  I b i d . , p. 937.  - 61 -  A n d r e G i d e , Notes s u r Chopin ( P a r i s , 1949), p. 12.  3 7  Joseph M i l e c k , Hermann Hesse and H i s C r i t i c s N.C., 1958), pp. 156-157. 3 9  H e s s e , G.P., V, 378.  4 0  Ibid.,  (Chapel  Hill,  379.  H e i n r i c h Heine, "Uber d i e f r a n z o s i s c h e B'uhne," S a m t l i c h e Werke, V I I ( L e i p z i g , 1909), 416. ' 4 1  ^ M i l e c k , p. 91. ( M i l e c k c o r r o b o r a t e s the p o s i t i o n taken by Edmund Gnefkow i n the l a t t e r ' s Hermann Hesse. E i n e B i o g r a p h i e (1952). 2  Quoted from N o v a l i s ' H e i n r i c h von O f t e r d i n g e n . 44 45  Hesse, G.D.,  V, 380.  G.D., I , 31. Ibid.,  4 6  215.  47 Boulby, p. 4. 48  -  Hesse, G.P.,  I I I , 743.  49 ^Ibid., 5  744.  ° G . P . , V, 440. R a l p h Freedman, The L y r i c a l N o v e l ( P r i n c e t o n , 1963), p. 58.  5 1  5 2  H e s s e , G.P.,  I I I , 743.  53 Freedman, p. 49. Q u o t e d by James Lyons, E d i t o r , The American Record Guide, i n programme n o t e s on Chopin's P r e l u d e s performed i n t h e i r e n t i r e t y by p i a n i s t Jeanne-Marie P a r r e . 5 4  5 5  p.  S e a n Lucy, T.S. E l i o t 152.  and the Idea o f T r a d i t i o n  (London, 1960),  Ibid. T . S . E l i o t , " P o r t r a i t o f a Lady," C o l l e c t e d (London, 1963), p. 18. 5 7  CO  I b i d . , p. 19.  Poems 1909-1962  - 62 -  59  T.S. E l i o t , "Conversation Galante," C o l l e c t e d Poems, p. 35.  ^ H e n r y H a t f i e l d , Modern German L i t e r a t u r e (London, 1966), p. 132. ^Clemens Heselhaus, "Die Rhythmische Ausdruckswelt von G o t t f r i e d Benn," Deutsche L y r i k der Moderne (Dusseldorf, 1962), pp. 270-271. 62 Walter Lennig, Benn (Hamburg, 1962), p. 139. 63 G o t t f r i e d Benn, "Chopin," Statische Gedichte, V o l . I l l of Gesammelte Werke (Wiesbaden, 1960), p. 188. 64 Eugene D e l a c r o i x , J o u r n a l , I ( P a r i s , 1893), 364-365. 65. ^Arthur Hedley, Chopin (London, 1953), p. 58. ^ A r t h u r Hedley, "Chopin the Man," F r e d e r i c Chopin: P r o f i l e s of the Man and the Musician, ed. Alan Walker (London, 1966), p. 7. ^ N i e t z s c h e , Werke, I I , 937. 68 George Sand, Correspondance, V ( P a r i s , 1969), 523. 69 70  Selected Correspondence, p. 375. George Sand, H i s t o i r e de ma V i e , IV ( P a r i s , [ l 9 2 8 J ) , 471.  71, Hedley, p. 12. L  72  Hadden, p. 192.  73 Doktor Faustus, p. 144. 74 Hedley, p. 13. 7  " * I b i d . , p. 11.  - 63 -  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Abraham, G e r a l d . A Hundred Y e a r s of M u s i c . London,  1955.  Benn, G o t t f r i e d . S t a t i s c h e G e d i c h t e . V o l . I l l of Qesammelte Wiesbaden, 1960.  Werke.  . P r i m a l V i s i o n - s e l e c t e d w r i t i n g s , ed. E.B. Ashton. Connecticut,  1960.  . Probleme der L y r i k . Marburg, 1951. Boulby, Mark. Hermann Hesse: H i s Mind and A r t . New York, 1967. B o u r n i q u e l , C a m i l l e . Chopin, t r a n s . S i n c l a i r Road. New C o r t o t , A l f r e d . I n Search of Chopin. London, Delacroix,  York, 1960.  1951.  Eugene. J o u r n a l . V o l . 1. 1823-1850. P a r i s , 1893.  D u r r , Werner. Hermann Hesse. Vom Wesen der Musik i n der D i c h t u n g .  S t u t t g a r t , 195/'.  E l i o t , T.S. C o l l e c t e d Poems 1909-1962. London,  1963.  Freedman, R a l p h . The L y r i c a l N o v e l . 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Hamburg, 1962. L i s z t , Franz. L i f e of Chopin, trans. M. Walker Cook. London, 1877. Lucy, Sean. T.S. E l i o t and the Idea of T r a d i t i o n . London, 1960. Mann, Thomas. Buddenbrooks.  B e r l i n , 1932.  . Doktor Faustus. Frankfurt am Main, 1967. . S&mtliehe Erzahlungen. Frankfurt am Main, 1963. M i l e c k , Joseph. Hermann Hesse and h i s C r i t i c s . Chapel H i l l , 1958. Nietzsche, F r i e d r i c h . Werke i n d r e i BSnderi. Munchen, 1960. Ould, Hermon. John Galsworthy. London, 1934. Sand, George. Correspondence. V o l . 5. P a r i s , 1964. . H i s t o i r e de ma V i e . V o l .  4.  Paris,  [l928J.  Schroter, Klaus. Thomas Mann. Hamburg, 1964. Schumann, Robert. " E i n Opus I I , " Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, XLIX (December, 1 8 3 1 ) , 806. . On Music and Musicians, ed. Konrad Wolff. New York, 1964. Selected Correspondence of Fryderyk Chopin, ed. Arthur Hedley. London, 1964. Waibler, Helmut. Hermann Hesse: Eine B i b l i o g r a p h i e . Bern and Munich, 1962.  - 65 Walker, Alan. ed. F r e d e r i c Chopin: P r o f i l e of the Man and the Musician, London, 1966. Wierzynski, Casimir. The L i f e and Death of F r e d e r i c Chopin. London, 1951. Wilde, Oscar. P l a y s , Prose Writings and Poems. London, 1962. Z e l l e r , Bernard. Hermann Hesse. Hamburg, 1963. Z i o l k o w s k i , Theodore. The Novels of Hermann Hesse. P r i n c e t o n , 1965. "Zmegac, V i k t o r . Die Musik im Schaffen Thomas Manns. H a l l e , 1962.  

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