Stefan Andres and "Die Ordnung der Welt"
Cahill, Robert Joseph
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This study, devoted to an intensive analysis of the life and works of Stefan Andres, and based upon a broad, critical investigation of his novels, short stories, dramas, poems and essays, commences with the salient features of the author's life and traces his personal transition and that of his fictional characters towards a well-coordinated concept of man's tripartite relationship to himself, to the world, and to God, which in essence is "Die Ordnung der Welt." I have analyzed his youthful impetuosity, the trying period of monastic life, and his lengthy separation in Italy from his beloved homeland as rays which are reflected so dynamically in his literary figures. Andres' innate appreciation of nature, his Christian heritage, and his deep love for antiquity are shown as the added media through which as a modern writer, he attacks realistically and fearlessly the burning issues of the day. It is through his minor works and their world of little people, depicted under the mantle of humor, fantasy, and guile, that I have shown the early echoes of the stark realism, the microscopic character delineation, and depth of thought so synonymous with the name Andres. Under the motif "Justice tempered by love," the study pursues the author's development from the individual to the metaphysical order. In the temporarily distorted lives of the painter el Greco; the "frozen" sculptor of Positano; and the so-called Knights of Justice, Andres' faith in mankind's potential ability to align the scales of attrition and retribution is evaluated in detail. The diabolical effects of real and imagined guilt complexes, found in so many of his narratives, is considered then as the core around which Andres broadens his literary scope far beyond the purely individual and metaphysical problems, moving fully into the social order, where families and entire nations are spotlighted. The study treats the theme of loneliness and its labyrinth of despair as characteristically encompassing a true cross-section of humanity, struggling to find the way back to order and harmony, and aided immeasurably in the search for higher, more elusive goals by the unseen hand of Providence and the intrinsic Christian way of life, in which the author's characters are so firmly rooted. As the underlying theme of all his works, I have constantly stressed Andres' primary concern to be with the inner man, and specifically with the questions of religion and mankind's eternal salvation mirrored in the symbolic and universal personages of his expansive literary realm. It is the note of hope and optimism that is shown in retrospect to be their further common denominator. Andres' avowed mission, namely to reveal the hidden entities of life and the world within mankind, is proven to be perfectly consummated in the purely symbolic and epic breadth of his Tanz durchs Labyrinth and Sintflut trilogy, which together constitute a panorama of existence and reflect a maturity of artistic accomplishment. Finally, I interpret the full crystallization of Andres' ideas of man, of nature, of God, and the universe-the epitomy of the Divine Plan--as most succinctly radiated in the provocative figure of the heroic, excommunicated priest of Wir sind Utopia. Impelled by love alone--Andres' panacea for ills of the world--Padre Gonsalves sacrifices the lives of his fellow-prisoners to uphold his God-given Christian principles. And thus, with Andres, I concur: Though weak and easily misled, we are God's Utopia, aa long as we strive valiantly to perfect our own human dignity and nobility of soul.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University