The Forerunners

The Forerunners

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Excerpt: ...that they call 'the front.' Every man is sick who can still think, talk, argue, sleep, knowing that other men, holding their own entrails in their hands, are crawling like half-crushed worms across the furrows in the fields, and are dying like animals before they can reach the ambulance station, while somewhere, far away, a woman with longing in her heart is dreaming beside an empty bed. All those are sick who fail to hear the moaning, the gnashing of teeth, the howling, the crashing and bursting, the wailing and cursing and agonising in death, because their ears are filled with the murmur of everyday affairs. These blind and deaf ones are sick, not I. Sick are those dumb beings whose soul can give voice neither to compassion nor to anger." ("My Comrade"). The author's aim is to arouse these sick beings from their torpor, to treat them with the actual cautery of pain. This aim is portrayed in the person of Captain Marschner ("Baptism of Fire"), who, when his company is in the thick of the slaughter, suffers from nothing so intensely as from the harsh impassivity of his lieutenant, but who, himself at the point of death, finds it a positive solace to see on Weixler's stern face a shadow of pain, brotherly pain. "Thank God," he thinks. "At last he knows what suffering is!" "Through sympathy to knowledge," sings the mystical chorus of Parsifal. This "suffering with others" (sympathy, Mitleid), this "pain which unites," overflows from the work of Andreas Latzko. November 15, 1917. "Les Tablettes," Geneva, December, 1917. XIX VOX CLAMANTIS. 43 A FTER the glacial torpor of the early days of the war, mutilated art begins to bloom anew. The irrepressible song of the soul wells up out of suffering. Man is not merely, as he is apt to boast, a reasoning animal (he might, with better ground, term himself an unreasoning one); he is a singing animal; he can no more get on without singing than without bread. We learn it amid the very trials through which we are...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 66 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 4mm | 136g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236731743
  • 9781236731746