Der Reichstagsbrand: Die Karriere eines Kriminalfalls by Sven Felix Kellerhoff

By Sven Felix Kellerhoff

Den model des Reichstages am 27. Februar 1933 nutzten die Nazis virtuos, um ihre Diktatur zu errichten. Aber haben sie ihn deshalb auch selbst angesteckt? Darüber wird seit seventy five Jahren erbittert gestritten. Wer in dem Holländer Marinus van der Lubbe den alleinigen Täter sieht, wird von jenen, die an eine Verschwörung der Nazis glauben, als "Anhänger der Gestapo-Theorie" geschmäht. Unter Einbeziehung des nach der Wiedervereinigung zugänglichen Archivmaterials schildert Kellerhoff unvoreingenommen die historischen Ereignisse und die Hintergründe der späteren Debatten.

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One is the apparent, but deceptive stylistic simplicity of conversational sounding language that includes complex, self-reflexive, even self-reversing formulations. The other is the style’s allusive tendency, which sends us to other poems or to other parts of this poem for possible elucidation. 253–54). This would be a complete simplicity that is also its own opposite, a total complexity and perplexity, for it is the sign of everything having been paid out or given up. It is the sign of death and indifference rather than either attachment or detachment.

This renunciation, this vanishing point, cannot, however, for Eliot, be allowed to collapse into poetic or intellectual abdication, or into denial of that difference against which alone it has significance. There must be simplicity, but not oversimplification, ease but not laxity, repose but not a false peace. Eliot’s solution to this problem in the last stanza of Little Gidding is a lesson in mastery of craft; it involves a highly studied combination of great levelness and decorum of diction, extreme syntactic and grammatical complexity, and a use of imagery as remarkable for its economy as for its power.

There is, however, a certain problem when this celebration of devotional reading is brought into relation with a modern sensibility, whether we think of the modern as an aesthetic or a religious category. In the first place, as Eliot clearly points out, the ultimate proof of a devotional text lies in its reading not its writing. This reception is, however, in the final analysis outside the writer’s control. Issues of craft and technique in the text itself, issues so foregrounded in the modern tradition, will then have only a proximate relevance.

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