OUT of the chaos of war and the further burdens immediately “peace broke out” came at least one glorious birth—the German novel. 1870—the German nation; 1919—the German novel…. Superficially, the antithesis is not without truth; at no time could it be said that pre‐war Germany kept pace with its Gallic and English neighbours in achieving great masterpieces of fiction: the pre‐war German novel, indeed, was popularly about as non‐existent as drama in Scotland or poetry in France. Nor, where it did exist, was its form other than merely plastic,—the conventional “novel of manners,” for instance, if it was really desired at all, seemed continually to be eluding Germany. Pre‐war novel writing Germany, in a word, was a complete paradox—Gilbertian and Chestertonian at the same time; for the very theories which might have been requisitioned to account for this strange phenomenon seem themselves of an almost contradictory nature.
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