Lacan, Jacques (1901–1981)
Lasker-Schüler, Else (1869–1945)
After the failure of her first marriage, Lasker-Schüler embarked on a bohemian lifestyle and literary career, publishing Styx in 1902. In this first volume of poetry she transposes her moods onto a universal scale, for example in “Mein Tanzlied” (“My Dancing Song”), where the poetic persona describes herself dancing exuberantly for “thousands of years, / since my first eternities.” As in all of her later poetry, she uses language to free herself from the material world, and to locate her identity in distant realms as a woman, Jew, and artist.
From 1901 to 1911 she was married to Herwarth Walden who edited expressionist poetry in his periodical Der Sturm. She became a central personality among the circle of expressionists in Berlin, addressing poems to Gottfried Benn,Franz Werfel, Georg Grosz, Georg Trakl, and Franz Marc. With or without their influence, her images in Meine Wunder (1912, My Wonder) became bolder in their detachment from material reality. She tried to identify herself with Biblical mythology in “Die Stimme Edens” (“The Voices of Eden”), and with nature in her love poetry, as in “Behind Trees I take Shelter” where her “eyes rain,” and her arms grow into her lover like ivy.
In Hebräische Balladen (1913, Hebrew Ballads), Lasker-Schüler acted as the poetic voice of her race by writing on Biblical themes; she attempts to overcome her temporal remoteness in “Mein Volk” (“My People”), by listening to the “echo” within herself of her fellow Jews crying out to God. Emigrating from Germany during the rise of Nazism, she settled in Palestine in 1940, where she lived in poverty. In her last collection, Mein blaues Klavier (1943, My Blue Piano), she transcends her dispossessed state in her own homeland through poetry, maintaining in “An meine Freunde” (“To my Friends”), that she was “Still cradling the moon / Between my lips.”
Lasker-Schüler’s works are available in Kösel Verlag, Munich, Jewish Publications Society, New York.
Cohn, Hans W. Else Lasker-Schüler: The Broken World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1974.
Grunfeld, Frederic V. Prophets Without Honour. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979.
Lawrence, D. H. (David Herbert) (1885–1930)
D. H. Lawrence, novelist, short-story writer, poet, travel writer, translator, essay-