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BOOKS AND BOOKMEN, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915
BOOKS AND BOOKMEN
GERMANY'S FALSE IDEALS. SIR H. NEWBOLT ON GERMAN IDEALS. Sir Henry Newbolt, who was knighted on New Year's Day for his contributions to British literature, lectured at Leeds recently on 'The Future of Poetry.' He declared that tho worship of blind material force, which appeared in the futurist theories, had prejudicially affected the German nation. "We have seen it turn away," he said, " from its old vision, its old sensibility, its old philosophy, its old idealism, and" adopt the principles of pure futurism." The Galilean was to be cast out of tho superman, and this revolution was to be accompanied by machinery both of iron and of blood. The conquerors themselves were to become machines, and their victims were to be machined into a permanent state of abject terror. Tho artist—and all men were in their degree artists—could only deplore this new and incredible heresy. The power of the manufacturer was to bo substituted for the power of the artist; the joy of destruction for the joy of creation. \\hen the destruction had been accomplished, when the cathedrals, the works of art of the old poetical world, had been pulverised [ by fire, there would arise, wo were told, a new creation of far greater beauty, the j creation of a new art. The first work of I art was even now l>eing sold in the streets of Berlin. It was a fac-simile in cardboard of a 42-centimetre howitzer shell, and the decorative scheme of it included statistics of its composition and photographic views of the destruction it had accomplished. But this national preference, though it might alter tho manifestation of art, could not change the scientific nature of art, which would continue for our consolation to bo, as it had always been, the creative activity of the spirit of man. Replying to a suggestion made during the proposal of a vote of thanks that lie might write a poem on the Emdcn, Sir Henry remarked that, in such a possibility, if he were asked to curse he might be compelled to bless. The Emden had rem a glorious course, and her ending had been glorious. THE KAISER'S OVERWEENING VANITY. In a, book entitled ' Tho Real Kaiser.' recently issued from tho London Press, but published anonymously, tho author sketches tho Imperial characteristics with a deft hand, but it must be acknowledged that many of the stories related ought to he taken with much more than the customary grain of salt. —" Kultur " Analysed.— The writer does not blamo the Kaiser (says the reviewer) for all the brazen but inartistic ugliness to be seen m many parts of modern Germany, although much of it is the result of slavishly following the Imperial example, and it iias had other consequences which many intellectual Germans greatly deplore. It is certain that of recent years the German finds an outlet for his cultured soul in sheer vastness, whether it be in meals or mail boats. "Not big enough " is the hardest criticism a German can pass upon anything. The same pas-ion is in evidence in America, where Nature has shown the way, and where big things often seem only in keeping witn the atmosphere and physical aspect of the country. But in Germany it constantly jars. If the Kaiser were not constantly talking about ''Kultur." one would b'» less ready to blame him for the degradation which German ideals have recently undergone. As it is. he must take his share fo" the gross materialism and empty display which is the hall-mark of the ultra-modern German | culture. I
The "Kultur" which the German professors and General Von Bernharcli ;md his school have made- a byword of ridicule and reproach is .iot the. culture of which lie; ordinary, well-educated German is rightly proud. "Kultur" stands for and conceit based upon materia' powuv. Culture is what it used to be, and always will be, in Germany and else vlicre. The - ! ;ir
■o many things in Germany and the Gorman character which Englishmen would prefer to lack, but onlv prejudice refuses to allow that n. few things which wo lack are iovmel in abundance, and treated with something more, than respect in the ordinary German household. The theatre, for example, is treated seriously ; art is cultivated and esteemed : and music is one of the necessaries of life. The average German is really fond of good music. Often lie is a good performer himself; "he is nearly always an excellent"—which means a trained and appreciative—"listener." " lie would be ashamed not to be able to appreciate these things; it is part of his teaching, as well as his instinct, to like, them. " It may be doubted, however, whether the Kaiser is really and deeply musical. Some of liis preferences sho; k Germans. "ttlueek," lie is reported to have said. ,; is the man fi.r me; Wagner is too noisy." Here His .Majesty would find some sympathisers in Knglaiid, although they have not heard a. lirst-class German orchestra in Havre-nth e- Jierlin. His Majesty's dislike of noise, especially a German noise, is surprising. All other kinds of German displays he idolises. This is exemplified in his love of official dress. The Kaiser is entitled to wear 1,50 different kinds of foreign uniform alone, while the variety of German uuifoims he can assume brings the total up to well over 500. A whole suite of apartments, full of wardrobes, is devoted at Potsdam to the housing of the Kai-er's uniforms, and he often wears ten or a dozen uniforms in the course of a d.-iv. Tf, for instance, he were receiving a distinguished Russian in unifurm. he would put on one of his 50 Russian uniforms for the occasion; and so on. It is not surprising to learn that hn has the priviin some, honorary capacity, of wearing the uniform of'every regiment m the German army. Tt is amazing to iimh however, that he cherishes this privilege and exercises it. A stow was
circulated in Paris that the Crown Prince one day found him about to go out. attired in the tnl) dress uniform of a German admiral, and asked with some curiosity where he was going. "To the Aquarium." replied the Kaiser. lam assured from Germany, says the writer, that this story is a foul and malicious untruth. It is true, however, that when the flying arm was added to the German army the Kaiser did not lose a day in designing a new uniform for the aviation _ branch, and that he claimed tho privilege of being the iirst person to wear it.
Of decorations he has no less than 323, and he puts a due value on them all. He also attaches tremendous importance to the personal gift of a decoration, and thinks such an honor, corning from him, far outweighs many considerations more solid in character. This was discovered by an unfortunate musical instrument maker of Markneukirchen. This good man contrived a motor horn which sounded four separate notes of surpassing clearness and beauty. He was so pleased with his invention that he had a fine silver mode] made, and sent it to the Emperor. It was tried on the Imperial motor car, and pleased
the owner so much that he said that he would personally decorate the clever inventor. In conferring the decoration the Kaiser made a gracious little speech, in which he stated that he was so pleased with the new motor horn that, as a mark of his extreme favor, ho would reserve it for his own exclusive use. Probably it, has not yet dawned upon him that tho enterprising mr.sical instrument maker might much prefer to draw the profits from the sale of a motor horn "as used by the Kaiser." His colossal vanity prevents such a con-
sideration from occurring to him,
The author considers the causes of the venomous hostility of the German upper classes to Britain, and puts the chief of them down to the " idiotic self-satisfac-tion of the Germans themselves," which is stating the case very pithily.
BOOKS AND BOOKMEN, Issue 15696, 9 January 1915
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