'Mysticism', 'myth' and 'magic' in the poetry of Alfred Mombert and Oskar Loerke
The aim of my dissertation, far from being narrowly comparative, is to construe the similarities between Mombert and Loerke as symptons of a common predicament, while providing a full and fair account of their poems. I have therefore examined the appropriateness and implications of three terms often applied to both and carefully investigating specific passages of poetry. The first chapter, on Mombert, is divided into three parts. The first begins with a consideration of 'Incipit Creatio' and touches on Mombert's vocation and his style before investigating the similarities of theme and imagery which link him and mysticism. The second section is based on a close interpretation of Der Sonne-Geist, from which more general conclusions are drawn about the relations between Mombert's dreams and various mythological traditions. The third section is anchored in a virtual fairy-tale from Mombert's last work and devoted to an investigation of 'magic' in which the absence of a recognised body of pre-defined material is supplied by abbreviated literary-historical references to Novalis and Júger. The second chapter, on Loerke, has the same structure. The poems stressed are 'Mystische Sicht', 'Gott' and 'Die Einzelpappel' for mysticism; 'Das Schweigen auβer der Welt', 'Schnellen' and 'Kleine Erzfigur des Osiris' for myth; and 'Die Vogelstraβen' and 'Keilschrift-zylinder' for magic. And the conclusions are that the terms 'mysticism' and 'myth' are inappropriate because they imply a binding metaphysical certainty which both poets vainly sought to recapture; that the term 'magic' can be, and since romanticism has been, applied to precisely this problem; that its overtones of invocation and transformation sum up the aims and poetic techniques of both poets; and that Loerke, though he seems more modern than Mombert and could no longer make the same grandiose gestures, was nonetheless writing for substantially the same reasons and in much the same way.