Correspondence with Gottfried Benn (Briefwechsel mit Gottfried Benn)


Dear Herr Dr. Gottfried Benn,

you received a letter from an exiled writer, from ‘near Marseilles’, and replied to it in the newspapers and radio. You quote, above all, and repeatedly, from the letter, that for its author you, Herr Dr. Benn, are the very epitome of the highest standards, and a no less than fanatical purity. Now, letters to artists sometimes contain somewhat exaggerated compliments, of which no tasteful recipient would boast, but you needed such praise to legitimate yourself to a new audience and defend yourself against your old one. However, even your repeated reproduction of the declaration of your fanatical purity does not conceal the fact that you quote another sentence of the letter, according to which your admirer told you that the emigrants are living in the minor resorts in the French Mediterranean coast and in the hotels of Zurich, Prague and Paris, incorrectly.

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Bull-Fight in Bayonne (Stierkampf in Bayonne)


He roams the open fields of the stud, the lord of the herd. He doesn’t know that he cost six thousand francs, but he does know that he is the absolute sovereign, the ruler over the calves and all the cows. He never sees a human being. When he feels like it, he runs through the juicy grass, or dry, brown stubble. He rolls in soft hay. He grazes, gazes… That’s how he spends his youth. The one who will kill him one day lives far away, in a town. He inhales the tangy air which blows down from the mountains, and roars

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