LITTLE SUPERMAN by Heinrich Mann


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Written in 1911 (Der Untertan), in the light of current history this is an ominous portrait of Nazi character in embryo, since it foreshadows the coming Nazi superman in the study of Diedrich Hessling, an average man of Germany of the late 19th and early 20th century. His totally unreal response to life, either as student, business man, husband or politician, his hiding weakness behind hysteria, lies, brutality, his fawning subservience when necessity demanded, his pursuit of vengeance and his unintelligent sentimentality all seem contemptibly familiar. It does not help to realize that this small instrument reflecting the character of the Germany of 1911 parallels so closely the hated Nazi today, -- with insistence on severity and repression, devotion to the Emperor, noisiness and vanity, manic response to defeat; it is not comforting to this early prototype so clearly drawn. Not a good novel though of immediate interest in its depicting of the sustained similarity in German character.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1945
Publisher: Creative Age