Chamberlain Houston Stewart - The ravings of a renegade


Author : Chamberlain Houston Stewart
Title : The ravings of a renegade The War Essays
Year : 1915

Link download : Chamberlain_Houston_Stewart_-_The_ravings_of_a_renegade.zip

It is with much pleasure that I write a few lines to introduce Dr. Clarke's translation of Mr. Houston Stewart Chamberlain's " Kriegsaufsatze " (''War Essays"). Dr. Clarke, who has spent many years in Germany, has a very wide knowledge of the language, the people, and the life of that country, and the reader may rest assured that the translation conveys the spirit of the original. Mr. Houston Stewart Chamberlain, who was bom in 1855, was intended for the British army—a circumstance which it is now amusing to remember—but being of delicate health and unable to endure the vagaries of the English climate, he went abroad, and has spent most of his days, first in Austria, and since 1900 in Germany. He married the daughter of Richard Wagner, and has written several books on German literature and music. In this country his best known work is " Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts," a translation of which appeared under the title of "The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century." When the war broke out, Mr. Chamberlain was invited by his friends to address himself to England and point out the wrong which that country had done in taking up arms against Germany; but, as he tells us, though he desired to do so, his pen absolutely declined to indite a word. He then bethought himself of telling Germany what he thought of England, and, lo ! the sentences rolled over each other in their anxiety to be enrolled in that noble cause. These essays appeared in various periodicals ; two of them, "England" and "Germany," were re-issued and circulated as a pamphlet ; and all of them were collected and published in volume form. The book was accorded a very hearty welcome throughout Germany, and the copy in front of me bears the imprint, " seventh edition." It may, of course, be held by some that no good purpose is served by presenting these essays in an English dress. I venture, however, to contend that the book is of great interest to British readers. I do not propose to discuss the taste of an Englishman who at such a time as this can abuse his country in the vitriolic style employed by Mr, Chamberlain : I merely assert that the " Kriegsaufsatze " are valuable as giving a clear insight into the Pan-German mind, in its most wild moments. Like all renegades, Mr. Chamberlain is plus royaliste que le roi. In his eyes everything in Germany is good, everything in England vile ; virtue is German, culture is German, large-heartedness is German, literature and art are German, decadence and incompetence and vice and stupidity are English. In fact, he echoes the refrain of Herr Lissauer's infamous (but to British folk amusing) " Hymn of Hate": "We have only one enemy - England." " As I believe in God, so do I believe in the holy German language," is the text of one of Mr. Chamberlain's essays. In another article he writes in all seriousness, " My conviction is that in all Germany during the last forty years there has not lived a single German who has wished for war—not one. Who puts forward the contrary view, lies either deliberately or unintentionally." In a third paper he asks, " Why do all nations hate Germany and the Germans ? " Mr. Chamberlain argues that this is due partly to envy, partly to misconception. The correct explanation is, however, to be found in another direction. Germany is hated because it can produce writers who are so fatuous as to put forward such opinions as are contained in this book, for it must be remembered that while the words are Mr. Chamberlain's, the sentiments he voices are those of almost the entire educated and " cultured " classes in the unhappy country which has adopted him. LEWIS MELVILLE. London, November 29th, 1915. ...

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