Utopian Visions: Bloch, Lukács, Pontoppidan

by Liliane Weissberg
Utopian Visions: Bloch, Lukács, Pontoppidan
Liliane Weissberg
The German Quarterly
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Utopian Visions: Bloch, Lukiics, Pontoppidan*

He was lucky. After seven years of ser- vice, his labor was rewarded with a lump of gold as big as his head. On his return home, no longer a mere slave, but a rich young man, this prodigal son begins to make use of his head rather thanhis hands. His words, however, gain prominence over his thoughts. After he congratulates a horseman on his horse, the stranger pro- poses an exchange: the horse for the gold. Just asthe boy becomes weary ofhis horse, he meets a man with a cow who is willing to make a deal. In various encounters, he can make spontaneous exchanges. The ef- fects for him are almost magical. The cow turns into a pig, the pig into a goose, the goose into a whetstone that drops into a well and therefore relieves the boy of his burden. Happy, and grateful for his good fortune, he returns to his mother.

This is no ordinary homecoming. Doubt- less, these strangersmust be swindlers who take advantage of the boy, offering him their goods in a peculiar sequence of ex- changes. To the boy, however, these goods appear advantageous. He does not think of their generalvalue or of money, but concen- trates on the issues of food or physical weight: his bodily needs. "Ein Dumrnkopf," comments Ernst Bloch ('Pontoppidans Ro- man," 9: 84).But the boy may just follow a different economy. His compliments and comments function like magic wands and produce offers of exchange that satisfy his present needs. He does not feel cheated, nor is the tale able to convey a moral lesson.

There is no doubt that its hero feels lucky as he turns his fate of a schlemiel into the experience of victory. The Brothers Grimm do not question this luck, describing it as a condition, a Zustand that faithfully accom- panies the hero, provides a rule for the ac- cidental, and becomes part of the boy's name. The title, chosen for their tale, indicates all this: Wans im Gluck."l

%in deutsches Miirchen" (9: 83):Bloch can certainly claim this text as a German property; it is a tale narrated by the Grimms, self-proclaimed treasurers of Ger- man folk art,and it is well known to many Germans who were raised with the popular versions of the fairy tales. "AGerman fairy tale" completes the son's homecoming as a homecoming of the text, the appropriation of a tale that can allude by its mere desig- nation to other, more critical, stories of loss and a Heimat to be regained: Heinrich Heine's Wintermarchen, for example.2

Bloch's gesture of leading Grimm's tale home has become necessary by a double transposition. Crossing the border to the neighboring Denmark, Hans has been turned into Per, and the fairy tale into a brief novel. Hans Christian Andersen's Lykke-Per (Lucky Per) was published in 1870,bearing many references to fairy tales with which its author Hans was thoroughly acquainted. Lykke-Per elaborates on the theme of gain and loss. It is not just that loss could be interpreted as gain; Andersen's Per, in contrast to the Brothers Grimm's Hans, gains only to lose. The tale follows a Line of obvious success only to con- tinue beyond the expected point of victory

The Gerlnur~ Qirarterly 67.2 (Spring 1994) 197

and happy end. It plays with, but trans- gresses, the form of the fairy tale with its demand for a positive conclusion, and it is the novel's symmetrical structure that has most obviously influenced Henrik Pontop- pidan's own rewriting of the story, his Lgkke-Per published in eight volumes be- tween 1898 and 1904, and republished in a three-part version in 1905.3 In her trans- lation of the text into German in 1906, Mathilde Mann indeed precedes Bloch by suggesting the homecoming of the novel as afairy tale. She turns the Danish hero into the German son, calling Pontoppidan's

book Hans im Gliick.

The change of name is of importance in Pontoppidan's tale itself. Peter Andreas Si- denius flees the stark and grim home ofhis parents, an old-Lutheran minister and his ailing wife, to move to the city and become an engineer. It is here that he changes his name to Per and tries to break withhis past, the "Sidenius inheritance." He is attracted to the Copenhagen circle of artists, to popu- larphilosophy that bearsNietzschean over- tones, and to the wealth of a Jewish home. His flirtation with the beautiful Nanny Salomon and his later engagement to her intellgent sister Jakobe promise to bring him both social recognition and financial prosperity. Moving up in life, he comes also closer to professional fulfiient, finding support for his plan of restructuring the coastal waterways. The state of the hture-ZAunftsstaat-seems within reach.

His father's, and later his mother's, death, as well as a renewed encounter with nature after life in the big city, markpoints, however, at which Per is led to a reconsid- eration ofhis life. He distanceshimselffrom hisfriends, disengages himself from his en- gineering project, separates from Jakobe. In Jutland, the coast ofwhich he once strove to change by his scientific ventures, he meets a Grundvig minister whose daugh- ter, Inger Blomberg, appears as an angelic counterpart to the dark Jakobe. He marries Inger, but only to find himself limited and unfuIfilled as a husband and father, and attracted by the Kierkegaardian philoso- phy of a neighboring minister, Fjaltring. Per decides to leave his wife and children, and the once prominent proclaimer of tech- nological progress and the advantages of city life dies in the countryside in isolation.

Pontoppidan weaves fairy-tale motifs throughout his novel, in which Per's tech- nological feat seems to gain qualities that are appropriate for a vision of a new El- dorado (I:246); a Jewish home appears in Oriental splendor that promises the power of wealth (I:164); and women can be turned into money (I: 167). Per himself is called %icky," and he accepts his nickname r-Ians im Gliick" (I: 282). He reverts the fairy-tale quality to the inside, however, "als er- schlosse sich in seinem Innern eine Ma- chenwelt" (I: 282). The structure of Per's gain and loss seems to contradict a fairy- tale-like acceptance of a happy end, raising doubts about religion, the success of tech- nology, and economic progress. Critics of Pontoppidan's novel have made instead painstaking efforts to identify individual figures-a Copenhagen critic, Dr. Nathan, for example, as Georg Brandes-, reading the book as a roman a clef, or pointing out parallels to Pontoppidan's ownlife (Ekman; Jolivet 73-85).4 Fairy tale, novel, autobiog- raphy, Zeitbild-the question of genre seems here indeed to determine the way of reading.

In his essay on Pontoppidan's novel Hans im Gliick, Ernst Bloch laments how little known the author iswho transformed 'a German fairy tale," and whose obituary heis~riting.~

Bloch was already fascinated with the book early on. Between 1910 and 1917, he writes a series of letters to Georg Lukgcs in which he is preoccupied not only with descriptions of his work in progress, but also with his financial problems, his female friends, and his wish to marry a wealthy woman. Lukftcs poses as a friend, confessor, money lender, and possible pro- curer of the ideal wife-a woman who should be distinguished (vornehm), which Bloch cannot be: ". . . aber ich bin etwas A la Hans im Gliick, ein Arrivierter und ein &thet."6 This difference marks also the re- lationship between the writer and his correspondent, born in the same year, but of such different looks and breeding: so much so,infact, that Bloch considers it necessary to remind Luk6cs at times of their common Jewish background as well as their com- mon philos~phicalproject.~

Bloch's reading list, faithfully recorded for his aristocratic friend, soon includes a novel, Don Quixote, with whose hero he also sees some affinity: '. . . weshalb hast Du mir nie gesagt, wie sehr ich ihm ahnlich warT8 Another com- ment follows:

Es fehlt [Don Quixote] . . .ganz das speku- lative Pathos seinen utopischen Gebilden gegeniiber, zwischen ihm und Faust h5gt sich das ganze Schicksal meiner Philo- sophie zu. Ich wollte einen Dialog zwischen Dir und mir daraus machen, aber das kann ich nicht und w&e iiberdies bei meiner notorischen Unfigkeit, andere Uhrwerke schlagen zu lassen, eine fhlsche und abgesehene ~orm?

The idea of a dialogue reappears, not in re- gard to his essay on Don Qukxote, but in re- gard to another piece that Bloch lists as part of an essay collection to be published after the war. Asketch of this collection, conveyed to Lukfics in the shape of a table of contents that anticipates his later book Geist der Utopie, includes "7. Jakobe Salomon: Ein ~ialo~.""This dialogue soon turns into a peculiar lesson, however-a seminar that in- cludes a figure from Martin Buber's narra- tives, the Baal-Shem, as well as both corre- spondents:

Ich lese jetzt wieder "Hans irn Gliick" und bin wieder behffen von Jakobe. Wenn ich hier nur etwas fertigbringe! Ich glaube, ich mu13 es so machen, daI3 sie mit einem Menschen der jungen Generation (der den Baalschem, Dich und mich kennt) iiber Hans spricht, daR sie ihn plotzlich ver- steht (das ist ein dummes Wort, ich meine es anders), und dann werde ich nicht,was sie alles ~vird und ist (die Jiidin als unend- licher Typus). Ihr eigentliches Alter ist \vohl50 ahr re."

Bloch does not remain Jakobe's only suitor. Lukfics's answer arrives before Bloch's com- pletion of Geist der Utopie. In October 1916, he sends his friend an offprint of what he considered to be an introduction to a work on Dosto evsky, his essay Die Theorie des Romans! LukBcs thought of this project first as a series of dialogues as well, one that shouldbeframedlike a novella collection and functionasa Decamrone written during the time of the First World War (11-12).

Lukfics's Theorie des Romans attempts a classification of the novel that isHegelian in its outline. In his lectures on aesthetics, Hegel writes:

Was die Darstellung angeht, so fordert auch der eigentliche Roman wie das Epos die Totalitiit einer Welt- und Lebensan- schauung, deren vielseitiger Stoff und Gehalt innerhalb der individuellen Bege- benheit zum Vorschein kommt, welche den Mittelpunkt fur das Ganze abgibt.


Hegel, including a discussion of the novel in his section on epic poesy, does not want to sketch its history of development (XV:415). Luldcs claims this task for himself and reformulates Hegel's concept of totality, hally staging his notion of historicity in a discussion of the difference between epic, drama, and the novel. He calls his essay a theory of the novel, not an aesthetics, and refers to philosophy in its subtitle only: "ein ge- schichtsphilosophischer Versuch." LukBcs thereby stresses the voyeuristic sense of theorirc, turning the essay about the novel into a work of art that should be seen-not a novella, but rather a Bildungsromun that imitates, in its very beginning, the epic of the Homeric singer of tales:

Selig sind die Zeiten, fiir die der Ster- nenhimmel die Landkarte der gangbaren und zugehenden Wege ist und deren Weg das Licht der Sterne erhellt. AUes ist neu f~ sie und dennoch vertraut, abenteuer- lich und dennoch Besitz. Die Welt ist weit und doch wie das eigene Haus, denn &s Feuer, das in der Seele brennt, ist von der- selben Wesensart wie die Stenle; sie schei- den sich scharf, die Welt und das Ich, das Licht und dasFeuer, und werden doch niemals einander f~ imrner fremd; denn Feuer ist die Seele eines jeden Lichts und in Licht kleidet sich ein jedes Feuer. (22)

Scientific thought, that other implication of "theory," which provided Pontoppidan's Per with new heroic glamour, is kept at bay. Already in his earlier collection Die Seele und ctie Formn, Lukhcs distinguishes between science and art:

In der Wissenschaft wirken aufuns die Inhalte, in der Kunst die Formen; die Wis- senschaft bietet uns Tatsachen und ihre Zusammenhkge, die Kunst aber Seelen und Schicksale. Hier scheiden sich die Wege; hier gibt es keinen Ersatz und kei- ne aergiinge. . . . Erst wenn etwas alle seine Inhalte in Form aufgelost hat und so wine Kunst geworden ist, kann es nicht mehr iiberfliissig werden; dann aber ist seine einstige Wissenschaftlichkeit anz vergessen und ohne Bedeutung. (6-7)$4

A distinction such as this is, however, not just given, but givenhistorically. There is no need for such a diferentiation in the happy ages (sdige Zeiten) quoted above, and, in- deed, there is no need for philosophy. Phi- losophy is-and LU~ACS

is quoting Novalis here-nothing but Heinuueh, the longing for a homecoming in which this longing itself, philosophy, would not have to exist:

Deshalb ist Philosophie als Lebensfom sowohl wie als das Formbestimmende und

das Inhaltgebende der Dichtung immer ein Symptom des Risses zwischen Innen und Aden, ein Zeichen der Wesens- verschiedenheit von Ich und Welt, der Inkongruenz von Seele und st. Deshalb haben die seligen Zeiten keine Phil* sophie, oder, was dasselbe besagt, alle Menschen dieser Zeit sind Philosophen, Inhaber des utopischen Zieles jeder Phil* sophie. (22)

Hegel's concept of totality emerges here as one of wholeness, represented by the Ho- meric world. "Greecew is both the ideal and the historic place fi-om which the epic form develops, and from which Lukhcs's narrative proceeds.

"Greecen does not form the ideal center of a system, but is marked by an early innocence that cannot be regained. Lukhcs's investigation of artistic forms begins with the Greek epos. The Greek epic, like the philosophy to end allphilosophies, does not pose any questions but formulates answers. The epic is closer to the desired Heimat, now staged as a utopia of the past. It does not recognize one single hero, but a world marked by homogeneity instead of aliena- tion, in which it operates within the possi- bility of "closed naturew (Geschlossenheit).

LukAcs, formulating and publishinghis essay during the First World War, cannot suppress a nostalgic note of loss. The land- scape of the happy ages is indeed opposed to Kant's later starry sky:

Kants Sternenhimmel glkzt nut- mehr in der dunklen Nacht derreinen Erkenntnis und erhellt keinen der einsamen Wande- rer-und in der Neuen Welt Mensch-sein: einsam sein-mehr die Pfade. und das innere~i~ht

g.ibt nur dem &ichsten scfitt die id^^ der sicher- heit oder--ihr Schein. (30)

In the separation of soul and world, the sub- ject himself has turned into an object, his "appearance," drawing the separation between sod and world into his very self. In his discussion of the Romantic Age, Hegel hasdescribed this separation asagedoppelte ?btalii%t (XIV: 128), a doubling of totality which can provide for the subject's freedom. L&cs sees a break within totality that de- prives the subject of any Heimat. Because of this loss of the experience of a homogenous world, however, the possibility of art arises. Whereas Hegel may have predicted the end of art,LukAcs insists on its necessity Art is able to take its place in a world &om which God has departed. The intentional produc- tion ofthe form of artcreatesanindependent work that offers us the only totality we can have:

Die visioniire Wirklichkeit der uns ange- messenen Welt, die Kunst, ist damit selb- stiindig geworden: sie ist kein Abbild mehr, denn alle Vorbilder sind versunken; sie ist eine erschafTene 'htalitiqt, denn die naturhafte Einheit der metaphysischen Sph2ren ist f& immer zen-issen. (31)

While Griechentum has to change from an aesthetics to a metaphysics, LukAcs turns henceforth to the novel as a form marked precisely by the isolated wanderer whom Kant sent on his way:

Der Roman ist die Epopoe eines Zeitalters, ftir das die extensive Totalitiit des Lebens nicht mehr sinnfjllig gegeben ist, f& das die Lebensimmanenz des Sinnes zum Problem geworden ist, und das deilnoch die Gesinnung zur 'htaliti5t hat. (53)

In contrast to the epic, the form of the novel is biographical, it describes the individual's encounter with the world and the relation- ship betweenhis"soul" and the "world."l;brnz therefore indicates both outer biography and the subject's own attempt to find Life's mean- ing (Lebenssinn). It defines its subject as a problematic individual. The alienation that LukAcs describes as a split between the self and the world isreduplicated in the subject's self;it is a split that defies any possibility of Sdbsterhenntnis on which LukAcs neverthe- less insists. At this point, Lukacs describes, andinsistson, the importance of irony which would reflect on the split between selfand world, and create a common sphere for the novel, without negating the distance between essentially different elements. It is at this point, too, that LukAcs puts forth the paradoxical claim that form exists in a world of alienation, but that it may be able to point beyond any separation and provide the ideal of "closed nature" where totality, outside art, has beenlost. The totality created has to de- tect the broken totality of the world: Vie fonnfordernde Immanenz des Sinnes ent- steht gerade aus dem riicksichtslosen Zu- Ende-Gehen im Aufdecken ihrer Abwesen- heit" (62). The novel, in contrast to the epic and other forms of art, presents therefore a peculiar relationship ofethics and aesthetics that marks it,not asan unchangeable prod- uct but as form-in-process.

The modern novel is the only form of art that relies on time as Bergsonian durke: a temporality that may indeed provide homo- geneity and an organic unity that would otherwise be lacking.15 LukAcs stages the form and forming of the novel, moreover, as a story of development, as its own bio- graphical tale. He reverts to the model of the Bildungsron~an when he describes the epic in its "Kindlichkeit" (69), and the novel in its "gereifte Mannlichkeit" (69). Subjec- tively, the novel's closure means resigna- tion, pointing at the utopian completion which is beyond reach. It is the prelimi- nariness of this closure and the subject's resignation that LukAcs defines as"mature virility." Despite the distinction between the epic and the novel, Lukacs's metaphors suggest the idea of historical progress, as he describes the novel itself as a hero who will finally find, witnessed inDostoyevsky's craft, his death. In Dostoyevsky's work, Lukacs thought to have found a spiritual bond that would proclaim the end of the novel and announce the possibility of a new epic.

One is not surprised that LukAcs chooses a Bildungsroman, Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, as the example ofa novel that reflects and produces abalancebetween the soul and the world. In Flaubert's oeuvre, LukAcs writes, the soul seems larger, "en- larged," in relationship to the world. As examples for a narrowing of the soul, Lukacs names the work of three authors: Cewan- tes, Pontoppidan, and Balzac.

Cervantes's Don Quixote appears to Luk6cs like a repetitive series of colorfid fairy tales, insisting on the hero's inner stability but his inadequate dealing with the world. In Hans im Gliich, Pontoppidan concentrates, on the other hand, on the hero's soul, and on a relationship between soul and world that seems both mysterious andirrational.16 Incontrast to Don Quixote, Hans im Gliick takes a specific direction; it tries to reach self-consciousness as the homecoming of the pure soul, its secure re- lationship with a higher being. Everything outside the soul appears as strange, we- sensfremd (112). Everything gained has to be dropped because it seems larger, fuller oflife, than what the subject has been look- ing for. But Lukhcs is also eager to describe Pontoppidan's "grol3er Roman" (111)in con- trast to Flaubert's ducatio ion sentimentale: Per is actively trying to change his life and does not share the passivity of Flaubert's disillusioned protagonists. Only the hero's resignation at the end of the novel can enable a reflectionon hislife that shows it in retrospective clarity. LukBcs reads this endingasa moment of retroactive stillness, producing an unchanging hero who pro- ceeds to unveil hissoul and hissoul's long- ing until the novel finds its ending in resig- nation:

Die deutlich gewordene Transzendenz die-

ses Abschlusses und ihre hier sichtbar

werdende priistabilierte Harmonie zu der

Seele werfen einen Schein der Notwendig-

keit aufjede vorangegangene Verir~ung,

ja von ihnen aus gesehen, dreht sich die

Bewegungsbedehung von Seele und Welt

urn:es scheint, als ob der Held immer der-

selbe geblieben wiire und als solcher ruhig

in sich ruhend dem Vorbeidehen der Er-

eignisse zugesehen hatte; als ob die ganze &dung nu- darin bestanden hiitte, daI3 die Schleier, die diese Seele verhiillten, weggezogen wurden. (112E)

Paradoxically, Per's resignation may bepositive, may set a conclusion in which his own search may uncannily mirror the fate of the novel itself as described by LukAcs. Indeed, it may be possible to describe Pontoppidan's book as a blueprint for Luksics's work, to move the novel and itstheory into a constel- lation that would give evidence of the close- ness of theirundertakings-at least, asseen through LukAcs's text.

In LukStcs's reading, Per's tale provides an essay on Hans's luck. The events that are passing by, and to which Per had tried to adjust, parallel the different worlds of Balzac's Com'die humaine. They are differ- ent from Don Quixote's colorful adventures, which have no place in LukStcs's rendering of the uniqueness of Hans im Gliick. Per's luck is of a negative magic, a demonic force that places the novel firmly in the 19th cen- tury, but holds the promise of the epic re- newal to come that LukBcs would locate in Dostoyevsky and the new Russian society.

In hisresponse to Georg LukBcs, Ernst Bloch praises Die Theorie des Romans. His own dialogue, to be created with figures of Pontoppidan's novel, remains a promise and unwritten. But it was Jakobe rather than Per who hasengaged Bloch's explicit interest, and she reappears, in a changing constellation of the Baal-Shem, Luktics, and himself, in the early version of Geist der Utopie published in 1918.

Bloch writes positively of the Russian society as well, as he criticizes the Prussian state. Asection on 'Die Deutschen" is,however, followed by 'Symbol: Die Juden." Ja- kobe Salomon functions here as an almost archetypal figure of the Jewish woman:

Der diinische Dichter Pontoppidan hat in Jakobe Salomon den Typus einer bedeu- tenden Jiidin geschildert. Alles ist in ihr geblieben, trockenes, nervoses Wesen, fie semitische Energie, Blick mit Ein- samkeit und weitschweifenden Gedan- ken. Aber als ihr Geliebter in den steiermih-kischen Alpen auf ein fiuzifix schiel3t, jauchzt sie phantastisch ad, und der Freisinn hat selbst bei dieser ads Hochste rassenrnaig verdichteten Frau den Traum und !l'ranszendenz, erst recht aber, obwohl die Bindung des alten Vater- glaubens weggefallen war, alle Blutsver- wandtschaft mit dem nazarenischen Mysterium selbst auszutilgen vermocht. Und das, obwohl, ja weil sie ihr Volk liebte und bekannte. (16: 322E)

Jakobe functions here both as another Jew and as the mysterious other who does not acknowledge the idea of a Messiah. Her atheism turns against the Jews as well as against the Christians, defying a last vision in which Jews and Germans could meet:

Es gibt keinen Zweifel daran, da13 durch die tausendfachen Energien, durch die ao- nenweite Optik einer neuen Pmklamation das Judentum mit dem Deutschtum noch- mals ein Letztes, Gotisches, Barockes zu bedeuten hat, um solchergestalt mit Rdland vereint, diesem dritten Rezipieilten des Wartens, des Gottesgebihrtums und Messianismus,--die absolute Zeit zu be- reiten. (16: 332)

Anson Rabinbach has argued for the influ- ence of Martin Buber's Drei Reden iiber das Judentunz, publishedin 1911, on the thought of Bloch and Walter Benjamin. And, like Benjamin and Bloch, Luucs was reading not only Buber's lectures. He was particu- larly interested in Buber's collections of Hasidic tales which Buber sent him in the fall of 1911. He describes his reading of Die Legendenda Baalsclwm as an especially un- forgettable experience17 and asks if more tales exist, even though their shape was 'necessarily" inauthentic.18 LuMcs reviewed them in the second issue of the jour- nal A Szelkm under the title "Zsid6 miszticizmus" ("Jewish Mysticismw). He published this review in the same year, 1911, in which he fmt wrote about Pontoppidan, in aHungarian essay entitled 'Pontoppidan novellai" CPontoppidan's novellas"). LukAcs's fiend, the poet and critic BQla Balhs, documents his reaction to Lukitcs's review of Buber's works in his diary:

Gyuri's new philosophy. Messianism. The homogeneous world as the redemptive goal. Art the Luciferean "better made." The vision of the world become homogene- ous before the actual process of trans- formation. The immorality of art. Gyuri's big turn toward ethics. This will be the center of his life and work . . .Gyuri dis- covered and acknowledges the Jew inhimself! Quest of the forehthers. The Hasidic sect's Bal Shem. . . .Gyuri's theory concerning the type of Jew now evolving or developing once again-the antirational ascetic; concerning that which is the oppo- site of everything that today is customari- ly called "Jewish." (Congdon 78; cf. Rlbinbach 79-81)

The vision of this new Jewish type is certainly present in Bloch's Geistder Utopie,in his discussion of the Jew, in his observation of a "Stolz, jiidisch zu seid (9: 319), and in his wish for the GermanJewish-Russian times. This vision colors indeed his descrip- tion of the proud Jakobe, who only lacks Per's spiritual quest. In this context, Bloch's de- mand for Jakobe's discussion of Hans," with the correspondents and the Baal-Shem in mind, becomes an obvious necessity 1s

BalBzs's description of Lukfics's "mes- sianism" stresses points that are still obvi- ous in the Theorie des Romans, a text that bears little concern with Jewish issues. The craving for a totality there seems rather to show the traces of the German Idealist tra- dition, of Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis, Sol- ger, or, finally, Hegel. But on the back- ground of his reception of Buber and his remarks about the new Russian epics, LukBcs's book may indicate, ironically

enough, that, in regard to the concept of messianism, a German-Jewish-Russian symbiosis had already taken place.

Bloch is, however, eager to point at the differences between LL&&-& dream of the homogeneous world and his own teleologi- cal concept. He places his discussion of "Symbol: Die Juden" in a section "ijber die Gedankenatmosphiire der Zeitn that devel- ops his notion of utopia while arguing against LukBcs and his book. He does not offer an explicit discussion of LukBcs's Theorie des Romans. Rather, Yher die GedankenatmosphSire der Zeit," later re- moved from the 1923 version of Geist der Utopk,2O criticizes Georg Simmel, Heinrich Rickert, and Emil Lask, LukAcs's, but also Bloch's, former teachers; and Bloch turns, finally, with Kant against Hegel:

Nun gibt es allerdings keinen besseren Toten@ber als den viillig inhaltlichen Be- H.Es ist Hegel wesentlich, alles Innere nach aden gebracht und alles Kantisch Offene abgeschlossen zu haben, zugun- sten des gewin vorhandenen, aber auch


bedenklichen Gewinns eines ausgefuhr- ten Systems. (16: 276)

The rivalry is persond The difference be- tween Kant and Hegel is also one between modesty and glamour, but Hegel's distinc- tion proves to be the superficial appearance of the powerfkl nouueau riche or arriuiste:

Und dennoch zum Letzten: es streiten hier zwei Typen, zwischen denen nicht nur zu wmen ist. Kant bleibt innerlich und un- endlich, seine Forderungen verdiimmern bewunt uninhaltlich in der Ewigkeit; Hegel wirkt dagegen als die glkzendere, machtvollere, an Handel und Beethoven gemahnende Erscheinung, als ein Denker der Weiteund wahr-r Weltbesitzer mit dem unermenlichsten Zug untexwox-fener und durchdachter Objekte im Gefolge des Systems. (16: 287E)

the appearance of a system in its attempt to design a typolod1 He focuses on the past ideal rather than the anticipatory Noch- nicht. It is this concept of the "not yetn that Bloch begins to develop in Gekt der Utopk, and which he willformulate more clearly in hisrevision of the book in 1923. Refening to the notion of the anticipatory Noch-nicht, Bloch will also use LdGics's Theorie a%s Ronmns to turnit against the Marxist LukAcs; Lukhcs comments on this strange situation inhis preface to the new editionof 1962 (17f.l.

Paul de Man has pointed out that cer- tain aspects of Lukhcs's book, but above all its very tone, arereminiscent ofschiller, his "exalted language" and "philosophical pa- thos" (53-54).22 Ironically, Bloch placed his later essay on Pontoppidan's novel in a col- lection entitledmie Kunst, Schillerzu spre- chen." He proceeds to describe Hans im Gliick as "ein Werk, das man zu den Grund- biichern der Weltliteratur ziihlen darf"

(9: 84); once again, he quotes the incident of Per's shooting at the cross and Per's and Jakobe's reactions to the in~ident.2~


cording to Bloch, Per remains "im Gliick" throughout the book; he may perceive the essence of life, but the world is changing on him. Temporality has to be set with the world: "Die Menschen in [Hans im GliicEz] leben so sinnfig wie in nicht vie1 anderen Werken, aber die Galerie ihrer Welt zieht voriiber, zieht abn (9: 87). Per's life moves closer to the adventures of Don Quixote. Like LukAcs, however, Bloch now sees the resignation at the novel's end:

Das ist das Ende des Romans, ein Ende der tiefsten Resignation, aber mit einem Licht dariiber wie auf den Bildern des letzten Rembrandt. Es ist ein Roman mit lauter Verlusten, wie erkennbar, der Ro- man eines Menschen, der aufseine Weise die ganze Welt gewonnen hat, sogar eine ijbenvelt, und sie Stiick fkStiick wieder lat. (9: 86)

It maybe time to be proud ofbeinga Kantian. Bloch's Hans experiences, as in LukBcs, a Lduics's TheoriedesRomans, while employ- revelation at the end: ing the form of the essay, does indeed give

Der Hansim Gluck-Faust durchfZhx-t sei- ne Lebenskreise und wirft sie ab, er erftillt sich in seiner ganzen ihm moglichen Lebenstotalitiit und zieht sie wie Schleier herunter, die ein ganz Anderes, noch Un- bekanntes verhiillt haben. (9: 87)

Faust asks questions. He is,asLuk6cs indi- cated, a philosopher in a fragmented world. Instead of Mephisto, he receives in Bloch's essay Jakobe, who guides him without her knowing it.For Bloch, Ham im Gliich leads beyond the end of both atheism and theol- ogy: Ts ist vielmehr ein Wartendes darin; nur: die bisherige Welt (und der Traum der herwelt) hat noch keinen Ausdruck dafd


87). Per's life does not offer any failure; rather, he tries to force the world to formulate a question that would lead beyond the answers it cangive. Bloch's Hans irnGliick does not founder onreality, but appears incognito, unknown; he is a man without qualities be- causehis reality has not yet come into being, 'ein Menschliches in seinem Inkognito, fur das noch keine Wxklichkeit gekommen ktn


87). It is not that this Faust would like to know, but that he remains unknown, that he canonly learn presentiment-fin ungfrom Jakobe (9: 88).

Bloch resumes his discussion of Per Si- denius under the heading "Leitfiguren der Grenziiberschitung: Faust und die Wette um den erhllten Augenblick" in the last volume of his Das Prinzip Hoffnung, pub- lished in 1959 (111:1175-214). An essay on Don Quixote appears in this volume as well. Bloch's parameters have meanwhile changed, however. He no longer places his philosophy between Don Quixote and Faust, but between Faust and Hegel (see also Subjekt-Objekt 59; nbinger Einlei- tung 5065). Hegel's Phunornenologie and Goethe's Faust have questions in common: 'Im Faust wie im Phanomenologiegeist ist immer neu die Lust entziindet, sich als Frage, die Welt als Antwort, aber auch die Welt als Frage und sich als Antwort zu vernehmenn (111: 1196).

In his essay on Hans in^ Gliick, Bloch refers to Goethe's Faust:

Auch unsere Taten selbst, so gut als unsre Leiden, sie hernmen unsres Lebens Gang, sagt Goethe im Faust. Vielleicht lebte im Leben und merkwiirdigen Wandel unse- res Hans im Gluck eine Frage, welche hger anhielt als die Antworten der bereits vorhandenen Welt; und die Welt hemmte diese Frage nicht, konw, sie arbeitete sie heraus. (9: 86)

Bloch's philosophy, placing itself between Hegel's Phnomenologie cles Geistes and Goethe's Faust, calls upon this question, reformulating the sense of wonder that Aristotle had set at the origin of philosophy as the questions of a world to be. Thisis how one should begin; this is the childlikeness of any beginning, formulated at the beginning of his work on the principle of hope:

Wer sind wir?Wo kommen wir her? Wohin gehen wir? Was erwarten wir? Was erwartet uns?

Viele fiihlen sich nur als venvirrt. Der Boden wankt, sie wissen nicht warum und von was. Dieser Zustand ist Angst, wird er bestimmt, so ist er Furcht.

Einmal zog einer weit hinaus, das Fiirchten zu lernen. Das gelang in der eben vergangenen Zeit leichter und der, diese Kunst ward entsetzlich beherrscht. Doch nun wird, die Urheber der Furcht abgerechet, ein uns gemMeres Gefiihl fag.

Es kommt darauf an, das Hoffen zulernen. (I: 3)

Right at the beginning of Das Prinzip Hoffnung, Bloch's questions are framed not by luck, but by Angst. Elaborating on this Zustand, Bloch makes it more explicit as fear and provides a specific context: the story of the boy who ventured out to learn fear. The Brothers Grimm's "Miirchen von einem, der auszog, das Fiirchten zulernen" serves as a foil for a questioning in which fear should be replaced by hope. Bloch's book on hope projects, therefore, in its phe- nomenology of the wish,24 the fairy tale's happy end.

The boy, with whom we should identify, and who tells our story, remains nameless. According to the Brothers Grimm, he is stu- pid, "ein Dummbart" (51),sent away by his father. He experiences several adventures, without learning fear, but he gains the king's daughter and a kingdom on the way. At home, his new wife is able to play a trick on him, pouring a bucket of water with fish on him at night, and she is thereby able to complete his lesson: fear has been taught and learned at home.

Wans im Gluck" and the second tale of a stupid boy complete a family portrait of mother and father, of homecoming and of venturing out. But the second tale, offering the story of an education, is altered by Bloch, who exchanges hope for fear. This hope, providing in itself the transformative quality of a fairy tale, seeks in the tale its explicit evidence. The story proves that hope can reach its goal. This is where luck can rest that may not be with us yet; where it can show itself, being articulated by wish and desire: "Das Miirchen wird zuletzt im- mer golden, genug Gluck kt da" (I: 410). Herein lies the fairy tale's revolutionary turn,the victories of stupid, simple boys that document its own cleverness:

So phantastisch das Miirchen ist, so ist es doch, in der ijbenvindung der Schwierig- keiten, immer klug. Auch reiissieren Mut und List im Miirchen ganz alders als im Leben, und nicht nur das: es sind, wie Lenin sagt, allemal die schon vorhandenen revolutionaren Elemente, welche hier iiber die gegebenen Striinge fabeln. Als der Bauer noch in LeibeigeilschaR lag, er- oberte so der arme Marchenjunge des Konigs Tochter. Als die gebildete Christenheit vor Hexen und Teufeln zitterte, betrog der Miirchensoldat Hexen und %u- fel von Anfang bis Ende. . . . Gesucht und gespiegelt wird das goldene Zeitalter, wo bis ganz hinten ins Paradies hineinzuse- hen war. (I:411)

Spring 1994

Even where its fable does not provide a les- son, the fairy tale offers a didactic message. It encourages hope not by depicting a world that is, but a world that could be; its revolutionary elements operate within aframe set by a "concrete utopia."25 Inhisessay on Pon- toppidan's Hans im Glikk, Bloch draws this novel closer to the fairy tale, stressing not so much Per's conflict with a world outside, but rather saving the book's fable as a fairy tale for its readers. Bloch insists on the fact that Per remains, throughout, "im Gluck" (9:86).

Even a stupid boy can fmdhis luck. Even a minister's son can come to riches, showing his desire for luck while proving its existence. According to Bloch, Pontoppidan's reference to the fairy tale gives evidence of the existence of this homogeneous world in which alienation has no place. Words can indeed turn into objects, as gold turns into a horse or a horse into a cow. Hans im Gliick can keep its happy ending despite its hero's resignation.

LukBcs, in his Theorie des Romans, mentions the fairy tale twice. In his discus- sion of Cervantes's Don Quimte, he de- scribes a hero who relates to another world which he isunable to integrate with reality; the book presents dreamlike beauty and magic grace (88), a distance between reality and hisworld of dreams that produces noth- ing but decorative ornaments and gestures:

Diese Romane sind eigentlich groJ3e Mikchen, denn die Transzendenz ist in ihnen nicht aufgefangen, immanent gemacht und in die gegenstandschaffende, transzendentale Form aufgenommen, sondern verharrt in ihrer ungeschwachten Transzendenz; nur ihr Schatten fdt dekorativ die Risse und Abgriinde des diesseitigen Lebens aus und venvandelt dessen Mate- rie-wegen der dynamischen Homogenei- tiit jedes wahren Kunstwerks-in eine ebenfalls aus Schatten gewobene Sub- stanz. (88)

Concentrating on the hero and his quest, rather than on the reader and the tale, LuUcs refers to the fairy tale again. This time, he takes its definition from that writer on philosophy, Novalis, whose Heimweh here offers the distinction between the prosaic and modern, on the one hand, represented by Goethe's WiZhelmMeister, and the won- derfkl and romantic, on the other, that isthe goal of epic poetry: the "diesseitig abge- schlossene 'Ibtalitiit der offenbar gewor- denen Transzendenz" (125). Novalis's con- scious creation of a fairy-tale reality cannot produce the synthesis of a homogeneous world. According to Lukacs, Novalis's ro- mantization shows, much more so than any medieval tale,the break that prevents rec- onciliation:

Der Sieg der Poesie, ihre verklkende und erlosende Herrschaft iiber das gesamte Universum, besitzt nicht die konstitutive Kraft, des sonst Irdische und Prosaische in dieses Paradies nach sich zu ziehen; das Romantisieren der WirMichkeit uberzieht diese nur mit einem lyrischen Schein der Poesie, der sich nicht in Begebenheiten, in Epik umsetzen 1st. ..(125)

Cervantes's novel and Novalis's aesthetics provide acommentary on the fairy tale with which Lukcics had occupied himself earlier. Just at the time of his reading of Pontoppi- dank novellas and Buber's Hasidic tales, Lukcics discussed the fairy tale with his poet-friend Anna Lesznai (Congdon 79-82; esp. 79). Lesznai, who was working with fairy-tale themes, defines her work as "the embryo ofa utopian-messianicstriving,"and the fairy tale asthe "flau~lesslyproper world" Wzer 84; as quoted in Congdon 79). For LukAcs, at that time, it becomes an imagin- able reality that would teach man to have choices; he would see that there are different actions and different worlds that he could accept. In this context, Lukricsindeedfolmu- lates sketches for a philosophy of a utopian world that would draw his work closer to Bloch's, and intensify their friendship (see Congdon 81).

The Theorie des Romans, written after their 'true symbiosis" between 1912 and f914,26 gives evidence of this friendship while pointing at the differences between their philosophies. After World War I, Lukacs moves into a political career that would finally lead to a revision of his aesthetics and a critique of his book on the novel: "Der Verfasser der 'Theorie des Romans'," LukAcs writes about himself in a third person narrative, "hatte eine Weltauf- fassung, die auf eine Verschmelzung von linker' Ethikund 'rechter' Erkenntnistheo- rie (Ontologie etc.) a~sging."2~

The fairy tale of "Hans im Gluck" that figured so prominently in his early writings seems to prove its hold, however, on the Marxist theorist, turning the fairy tale's lesson into an issue ofeducation and ofpragmaticpoli- tics. On 15 April 1919, he published the following announcement in a Budapest pa- per, speaking as a commissar of the new people's republic:

Das Volksamt fiir Unterrichtswesen hat mittels Verordnung vom 10. d. beschlossen, &lJ in den Spielschulen, Ele mentarschulen sowie in den etwas hoher als die Elementarschulen stehenden Lehranstalten zur Belehrung und zur Zerstreuung der Zoglinge unter vierzehn Jahren hubsche und leh~eiche Miirchen vor- getragen werden. . . .Diese Ve~fugung des Volkskom~nissariatsfk Unterricht ist eine sehr lijbliche und beherzigenswerte und wird zweifellos die Ziele einer besseren, verfeinerten Erziehung und Bildung der Schuljugend unter 14Jahren, die ja f~ anschaulich vorgetragene Miirchene~ziihlungenempfhglich ist, urn ein weiteres fordern und den Schulunter- richt zu einem angenehmeren gestalten.28

At this point, however, Lukrics had already abandoned his concept of utopia, and changed his novelistic model. "Die echten Revolutioniire," LuMcs writes in 1920 with a reference to Lenin, "zeichnen sich gegen- iiber der Kleinbiirgerlichkeit dieses Utopis- mus durch ihre lllusionslosigkeit aus" (nktik und Eth% I: 220).~' The appearance of his Theorie da Ronzans in book form in the

same year is incidental. The revolutionary elements of the fairy tale that Lenin had pointed out for Bloch made place for the con- servative force of realism.


*Anearly version of this paperwas first pre- sented as part of the lecture series The Ger- man Contribution to Literary Theory" that marked the anniversary of German Studies at the University of Michigan, AnnArbor, in 1989. I would like to thank Frederick Amrine, Time thy Bahti, and Marilyn Sibley Fries for their invitation. Page references in the text relate to the German editions cited in the notes.

'In Wans im Gliick," in contrast to the En- glish translation "Lucky Hans," luck does not simply function as an attribute, but dso desig- nates a place of dwelling.

zWinfried Menninghaus draws indeed Heinrich Heine's poem Ein Wintermiirchen into the discussion of the different versions of Wans im Gliick," but in a different context. See his afterword to Henrik Pontoppidan's Lykke-Per

11: 817-74; esp. 845.

3Subsequent reprints of the novel, as well as its translations, are based on this concen- trated version.

*Alf?ed Jolivet points at the importance of Nathan as Georg Brandes (77, 79) and calls Pontoppidan's novel 'un tableau des milieux divers quiexistaient auDanemark"(85). But note also Ernst Bloch's essay itself (87).

5Pontoppidan died in 1943. Bloch leaves his essay inLiterarische Aufsatze without date. 6Bloch, letter to Georg Lacs, 20 February 1913 (Briefe I: 101).

7See the correspondence between Bloch and LukAcs, Briefe I: 27-208. A card, dated 10 June 1912 (?) is signed "Dein Mitbruder Enlst," for example; a letter sent on 10 September 1915 is dated "rosch-ha-schana." Luk5cs converted to Protestantism in 1907. Most of his letters to Bloch did not survive.

sBloch, letter to Lacs, 6 May 1913 (Briefe

I: 111). gBloch, letter to Lacs, 14 May 1913 (Brie- fe I: 114).

1°Bloch, letter to Lacs, 17 May 1915 (Briefe I: 151).

llBloch, letter to Lacs, May or September 1915, undated (Briefe I: 165).

12LukAcs's Theorie des Romans was first published in Zeitschrift firhthetik undAllgemine Kunstwissenschaft 2 (1916): 225-71, 390-431. In his letters, but also in his curricu- lum vitae for his attemptedHabilitation in Hei- delberg in 1918, LukAcs describes his Theorie des Romans as "Einleitungskapitel eines @Re ren Werkes." See Benseler 5-7; here 7.

13In his English translation, T. M. Knox translates Roman as "romance," not 'novel" (11: 1093).

14LukAcs's concept of form and his dis- tinction between form and life and soul are, of course, indebted to Georg Simmers work.

15LukBcs will later see his insistence on temporality as the truly important discovery of the Theorie des Romans. See his preface of 1962, 14.

l@l'he English translation, The Theory of the Novel, keeps the German translation oflyk- ke-Per as Hans im Gliick.

17L&cs, letter to Martin Buber, Novem- ber 1911. See Lacs, Correspondence 173.

18See Buber, letter to Lacs, 3 December 1911, Correspondence 176-77; and Lacs's response, 20 December 1911, Correspondence

180. It is interesting at this point to compare Buber's remarks with Bloch's own concept of narration; see my essay "Philosophy and the Fairy Tale."

lgFor a discussion of Bloch's reading of the Hasidic tales, see my aforementioned essay.

20Blo~h'scomplaint about LukAcs is actual- ly printed in the second edition of Geist der Uto- pie (1923) and will be answered by LukAcs in his essay on Bloch in Geschichte und KZassen- bewubtsein (1923). For a discussion, see S6ndor Radnbti, "Bloch und LukAcs: Zweiradikale Kritiker der 'gottverlassenen Welt'," in Die Seele und das Leben 177-91.

211n his essay "L&cs's Concept of Dialec- tic," IstvBn MBszhos finds it still necessary to insist that it is a mere issue of deception: "The appearance of systematizationin The Theory of the Novel should not deceive us: the real struc- ture-the fundamental compositional prin- ciple-is essayistic, in the spirit of the early es- say form" (Parkinson 34-85; here 55).

22Mary Gluck echoes this description when she insists on Lacs's 'unmatched" Yyrical pathos" (185).

23Following Mathilde Mann's translation and her reference to the fairy tale, Bloch calls Per Sidenius Wans."

241 am taking the description of Bloch's Pnmip Hoffnung as a Thanomenologie des Wunsches" fkom Hanna GeMe, Wunsch und Wirklichkeit.

EBloch develops his concept of Mxxism as 'konkrete Utopie" in Das Prinzip Hoffnung; he locates the origin of this concept, however, al- ready in Geist der Utopie. See '"Geist der Utopie': Interview in Tiihingen am 1.September 1974,"in Miinster 162-71; esp. 171.

Z6Bloch, Tendenz-Latenz-Utopie 372. See the discussion in Zudeick 3949; esp. 43.

Z7Die Theorie des Romans, preface of 1962, 16; see also: "'Die Theorie des Romans' ist, sc- weit ich diesen Fragenkomplex zu ubersehen im Stande bin, das erste deutsche Buch, in welchem eine linke, auf radikale Revolution aus- gerichtete Ethik mit einer traditionsvoll kon- ventionellen Wirklichkeitsauslegung gepaart erscheint" (15). LukAcs's formulation turns specifically against Bloch's philosophy and politi- cal stance which remained, according to Lu- Ucs, unchanged by time.

28"Marchenvortr5ge in den Schulen" (15 April 1919); Taktik und Ethik 274. The English edition, 7bctic.s and Ethics, does not include this piece.

2?I'he Essay is entitled "Die moralische Sendung der kommunistischen Park?' (8 May 1920; Taktik und Ethik 219-27). The distinc- tion between genres should only serve toclaie my argument; it does not argue for an irrecon- cilable difference between the works of the'ear- ly" and the 'late" L&cs. An excellent discus- sion of LukAcs's common concerns and the development of his aesthetic theory can be found in J.M. Bernstein's study.

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