måndag 22 augusti 2011

Ernst Toller

1893-1939. Tysk författare (dramatiker). Han deltog i första världkriget (västfronten) men bröt ihop totalt av den erfarenheten. Toller var aktivt involverad i novemberrevolutionen i München (han var t o m president i den kortlivade bayerska sovjetrepubliken- hans presidentskap varade bara i sex dagar).

Mest känd är Toller för sitt skådespel "Hoppla, vi lever" som finns i svensk översättning (1981). Det finns också en biografi (på svenska) om honom (1981).

Toller fänglades för sin roll i novemberrevolutionen och år 1933 blev han- som så många andra tyska författare- persona non grata i sitt hemland. Toller bosatte sig så småningom i USA men hans liv blev ensamt och olyckligt. År 1939 orkade han inte längre utan tog sitt liv.

The shining neutral summer has no voice
To judge America, or ask how a man dies;
And the friends who are sad and the enemies who rejoice

Are chased by their shadows lightly away from the grave
Of one who was egotistical and brave,
Lest they should learn without suffering how to forgive.

What was it, Ernst, that your shadow unwittingly said?
O did the child see something horrid in the woodshed
Long ago? Or had the Europe which took refuge in your head

Already been too injured to get well?
O for how long,like the swallows in that other cell,
Had the bright little longings been flying in to tell

About the big friendly death outside,
Where people do not occupy or hide;
No towns like Munich; no need to write?

Dear Ernst, lie shadowless at last among
The other war-horses who existed till they’d done
Something that was an example to the young.

We are lived by powers we pretend to understand:
They arrange our loves; it is they who direct at the end
The enemy bullet, the sickness, or even our hand.

It is their tomorrow hangs over the earth of the living
And all that we wish for our friends; but existing is believing
We know for whom we mourn and who is grieving.

Wystan Hugh Auden

2 kommentarer:

Anonym sa...

A very good comment. I had no clue about the Auden-poem. Living in Heidelberg for a long time, I came, daily, by "Friedrichstraße 8". There is a plate for Toller, who lived there in 1917. So I started reading Toller, an author who also was very famous in the peace movement of about 1975-1985 that later faded away, ridiculed by postmodernists and posh people of all horrible kinds.

Ingrid sa...

Klemperer: I wish I had known more about Toller when I lived in Heidelberg (many years ago now). (Wonderful city). Interesting to know that Toller was so famous in 1975-85. What a pity that this fame was so short-lived. I most certainly am looking forward to reading Toller's autobiography.Thank you for your comment!