Writing in Exile-the Land of Lost Content

The lines from A.E.Housman are well known:-

Into my heart an air that kills
 From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
 What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
 I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
 And cannot come again.

The condition of being in Exile, is one common element in the human condition. It is certainly an important factor in Irish culture as is well pointed out in this excerpt from The Guardian on Beckett and Joyce – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/28/ireland-exile-culture

Here Sean O’Hagan mentions,”This sense of spiritual as well as cultural displacement was evoked, too, by the poet Patrick Kavanagh, who walked the streets around Ealing Broadway in 1953 willing himself to remember his native Monaghan “until a world comes to life – morning, the silent bog”. In the second half of that same decade, an estimated half a million people left Ireland to begin their lives all over again, abroad.” There is spiritual exile, linguistic exile and the sense of personal exile when someone close dies or moves away, in an emotional or geographical sense.

George Klaar (1920-2009)
George Klaar (1920-2009)

TLW I have just been reading a deeply moving account of lost Austrian-Jewish culture in George Klaar’s Last Waltz in Vienna and was sorry to hear of his passing.http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/george-clare-memoirist-who-recalled-life-in-nazi-vienna-and-postwar-berlin-1726060.html .This threnody mentions his experiences not only in Vienna but also in Berlin, from where Klaar attempted his escape from the Nazis, initially to Ireland. A different approach and general introduction to exilliteratur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exilliteratur) is to be found in Martin Maunthner’s book on German Writers in French Exile 1933-1940. Mauthner was born in Leningrad of  Austrian parents. He worked in journalism and with the

Katharina Mann in Munich in 1905-she later converted to Lutheranism
Katharina Mann in Munich in 1905-she later converted to Lutheranism

European Commission in Brussels as a senior information officer. He also worked with Randolph Churchill on the biography of the latter’s father. In fact the book centres around a small port near Toulon. It makes much mention too of Aldous Huxley, Somerset Maugham,H.G.Wells, Muggeridge and Mosley. The French writers, Malraux and Gide are included in this account of the émigré community which provides an introduction to the intellectual drama and the tragic zeitgeist of this seven year period. The major figures are naturally Thomas, whose wife Katia came from a wealthy Jewish family of mathematicians, and his francophile brother Heinrich Mann, as well as Thomas’s son Klaus who engaged in a bitter battle of words at one stage with the Berlin based, Gottfried Benn- before the latter was to realise the full implication of Goebbel’s authoritarian drive from 1933 to achieve the synchronisation of the arts (Gleichschaltung) from his Ministry of Propaganda as Weimar collapse. Directed against Bolshevism it engendered militarism and focussed on anti-semitism taking in gypsies and homosexuals on the way and ending in the horrors of the Holocaust. This was all under the title of popular enlightenment. The account by Mauthner lacks the stylistic verve of George Klaar’s biographical account which affords an insight into the historical development of fascism upon Jewish life in Vienna.

Many Jews who were physically harassed and otherwise threatened by the Nazis and travelled to many locations and were exiled to Amsterdam, Stockholm, Zürich, London, Prague, Moscow as well as across the Atlantic to both North and South America. Martin Mauthner’s book seems to have three great strengths. It shows the wide variety of responses of individual refugees and their attempts to organise opposition to Hitler and the hampering difficulties other countries governments and other organisations presented. There is considerable detail about individuals like Feuchtwanger and Schwarzschild, famous at the time and now unfortunately neglected as well as journalists, publishers, cartoonists and illustrators. This book confines itself to writers, poets and playwrights but is particularly intriguing on the splits with the communists and within the United Front. The cruel trials under the auspices of Stalin proving a profound sticking point; also the different approaches in the Spanish Civil War.

Leopold Schwarzschild Editor of Das Neue Tagebuch
Leopold Schwarzschild
Editor of Das Neue Tagebuch

Just this morning I recieved an interesting posting concerning classical antiquity from http://poemsintranslation.blogspot.co.uk/ with a version of Ovid’s Tristia and the mortifying effects of having to leave his wife behind in charge of his posessions.

Illa dolōre āmēns tenebrīs nārrātur obortīs
   sēmjanimis mediā prōcubuisse domō,
utque resurrēxit foedātis pulvere turpī
  crīnibus et gelidā membra levāvit humō,
sē modo, dēsertōs modo complōrāsse Penātēs,
  nōmen et ēreptī saepe vocāsse virī,
nec gemuisse minus, quam sī nātaeve meumve
 vīdisset strūctōs corpus habēre, rogōs,
et voluisse morī, moriendō pōnere sēnsus,
   respectūque tamen nōn periisse meī.
Vīvat, et absentem, quoniam sīc fāta tulērunt,
    vīvat et auxiliō sublevet usque suō.

Translated by A.Z.Foreman as:-

I’m told she fainted from grief, mind plunged in dark,   
   And fell half-dead right there in our house.
When she came round, with disheveled dust-fouled hair,   
   Staggering up from the cold hard ground,
She wept for herself, for a house abandoned, screaming   
   Her stolen man’s name time after time,
Wailing as though she’d witnessed our daughter’s body   
   Or mine, upon the high-stacked pyre;
And longed for death, to kill the horror and hardship,   
   Yet out of regard for me she lived.
Long may she live! And in life give aid to her absent   
   Love, whose exile the Fates have willed. Tristia

Leopold Hauer 1896-1984- a singular talent.

Sonnenblumen 1963
Sonnenblumen 1963

Between 1918 and 1924 Hauer studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna with Josef Jungwirth and Karl Sterrer . In 1927 he had his first solo exhibition at the Neue Galerie Vienna (with Otto Nirenstein-Kallir).

Ventimiglia 1955
Ventimiglia 1955

Arthur Roessler the Austrian art historian (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Roessler) wrote in 1927 in an essay in “Austrian Art” about Leopold Hauer: “Finally, once again, we have a man that is not only painter, but a painter that is a true artist , A creative artist endowed with instinct and intelligence, one that does not just produce “Decorate your home with Pictures”. Rather a man who shows himself to us as a gifted or talented artist and an individualist, without as immediate predecessor to showed the way. He is not a naturalist nor is he doctrainaire, he promotes originality and translates his impressions. He has achieved this already with so much skill that anyone who views his pictures is capable of experiencing both their sensual captivating charm and the pure spiritual enjoyment which they induce.”

Weiße Boote, 1956
Weiße Boote, 1956

 

Apfelschalerin 1920?
Apfelschalerin 1920?

 

Otto Rudolf Schatz (Austria, 1900 – 1961)

Ballonverkäufer
Ballonverkäufer

Schatz came from a family of civil servants and attended the Vienna School of Applied Arts. With 22 years of commitment to the political left, the artist had already appeared as a book illustrator for Arthur Roessler and also for Josef Luitpold Stern. Schatz illustrated  books in the interwar period, especially literature from theStrom-Verlag(including Stefan Zweig , Jack LondonUpton Sinclair’s “Co-op” and Peter Roseggers “Jakob the Last”).

"The Hope," by Otto Rudolf Schatz.
“The Hope,” by Otto Rudolf Schatz.

1925 was the Great Treasure State Award, 1928-38 he was a member of the Hagenbund . He lived during the Second World War treasure in Brno, Prague and later in a sub-camp of Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Graditz admitted that he “jüdisch-versippt” -which apparently meant that by his marriage he was considered part of the Jewish “clan”. Schatz became, on his return, by the City Councillor for Culture. His first prize for the design of the Wiener Westbahnhofs  remained unrealized.

“Die Hoffnung” has the erotic interest that figures in much of Schatz’s work and is vaguely reminiscent of the sardonic style of Edward Burra, who has recently been the subject of a programme by Andrew Graham-Dixon called “I never tell anyone, anything”. This intriguing programme is available on You-Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BoLh8xgOdI

Extract from a painting by Edward Burra
Extract from a painting by Edward Burra
Sitzende im schwarzgrüne Trikot
Sitzende im schwarzgrüne Trikot

 

 

Albin Egger-Lienz -Austrian painter of the Tyrol

In the Leopold Museum in the Museum Quarter of Vienna, I discovered a number of artists about whom I had not previously heard. One of the most interesting was Egger-Lienz.

 

Museum Quarter in Vienna
Museum Quarter in Vienna

 

 

 

 

Albin Egger-Lienz (* 29 January 1868 in Stribach , community Doelsach in Lienz ( East Tyrol ); † November 4 1926 in St. Justina inBolzano ( South Tyrol )) was an Austrian painter .

Self-Portrait
Self-Portrait

The oeuvre of Egger-Lienz includes many oil paintings. Several of his designs and drawings are available in various versions and images. Some subjects, such as the Mountain Mowers, are ​​lithographs.

Egger-Lienz1

1904 Egger-Lienz turned to the theme of the sower, which  kept him busy until the 1920s. The prototype for this was Jean-François Millet (The Sower , 1851), the other  inspiration was actually a work of Giovanni Seganti. 36 major works were exhibited in 1901 at the Secession. Characteristic of Egger-Lienz is also the long time between recognising a source to  its development or use.

Egger-Lienz2

1904/05  in South Tyrol The Pilgrims  originated, whose formal conception parallels to Ferdinand Hodler’s picture The Truth (1903), which was exhibited along with 30 other works belonging to Hodler in the spring of 1904 in the Secession. Although the first drafts of The Pilgrims  showed in the middle a seated Madonna with Child, Egger-Lienz replaced them, under  Hodler;’s influence by the Crucified Christ. By means of this painting Egger-Lienz made ​​a breakthrough to his “monumental-decorative period”

Translated from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albin_Egger-Lienz and more information may be found at http://www.altertuemliches.at/gemaelde/albin-egger-lienz

Following in this bucolic vein here is a somewhat sad but evocative poem possibly inspired by Hesse’s Swabian countryside.

The Sower
The Sower

Dorfabend by Hermann Hesse

 

Der Schäfer mit den Schafen

Zieht durch die stillen Gassen ein,

Die Häuser wollen schlafen

Und dämmern schon und nicken ein.

 

Ich bin in diesen Mauern

Der einzige fremde Mann zur Stund,

Es trinkt mein Herz mit Trauern

Den Kelch der Sehnsucht bis zum Grund.

 

Wohin der Weg mich führet,

hat überall ein Herd gebrannt;

Nur ich hab nie gespüret,

Was Heimat ist und Vaterland.

 

This has been put to music as at http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=50581

Wir stoppen uns jetzt! Aber heute im Wein

What an amazing place! imageRecovering from the cost of a taxi from the airort I was amazed at the amount of industry-the light colour and the cleanliness of the scene into Vienna. Travelling around the city was veryeasy with U-bahn and strassenbahn and bus. The U-bahn gehen ueber, nichts unter. Most impressive are the massive wooden doors that form the entry to the U-bahn and most other large buildings.
After a brief wander around and past the Natural History Museum, I came across a lovely rising winding street and smaller gasse. imageI discovered what looked like a bohemian student bar -Kafka’s Bar.image The Linselsuppe here was much the best value that I have discovered here on the first day. Then around another few corners opposite the Meerhaus, a lovely cafe-bar opposite in the late afternoon sunshine. Cappucino and crepes with honey and bananas and I felt I had already found my indulgent Vienna. A few steps later the social conditions, the dachtlos, influx of migrants from the East and people sleeping in doorways around the church showed another side of life here.image