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Debit and Credit

book and german

DEBIT AND CREDIT ('Soil and Haben'). Out of the hunger for a national life, for a character that should be nationally German, for traditions upon which to build them and hopes wherewith to feed them grew such novels as Gustav Freytag's 'Debit and Credit) (1855), called by the Germans a Zeitro man, or novel of the times, to distinguish it from the historical romance or novel of other days. The book was a direct product of the revolution of 1848. and Credit) is the apotheosis of the great middle class, the mer chant class, to which Germany owes so much of her growth, her success and her constructive national spirit. As such it has made a unique dace for itself in German literature, and was in its day as widely and read as any book in the language. In spite of Freytag's consciousness, however, that in painting Such an imaginative picture of the people he loves an author must use exceeding care to avoid °dis tortion in the outline of his picture, because not love alone, but hatred too, flows freely and readily from the pen," the book has, in a marked degree, the defects of its qualities. The

glorified pictures of Anton, Schroter, Sabine and the other middle class men and women, the likenesses of the slowly decaying .landed aristocracy, of the rapacious Jews to whom they become a prey, of the Poles — a romantic and incapable nobility, a debased peasantry who give way before the intelligent, eager, idealistic German colonists — all bear the stamp of that untruth which comes not of a purpose to be false but of prejudice. The book has been well translated into English, with an enlighten ing preface by the Chevalier Bunsen.