What Antonia Susan Byatt writes on Monte Verità and its people:

" ... German earth is different, though Germans at this time, in a largely landlocked country, under its Kaiser with maritime ambitions, also felt the huge pull of earthly nostalgia. Germans, until the twentieth century, had lived in small walled cities, between which extended their Wald—not Robin Hood’s hiding-place in the greenwood, but miles and miles of Black Forest, sombre forest, alien forest, haunted by creatures and presences altogether more dangerous and threatening than Pucks, boggarts and that squat nasty fairy, Yallery Brown, stuck in the Lincolnshire mud. Germans went back to the earth. They went hiking and singing up mountains, into the Wood. They were Wandervögel, going back to Nature (an ambivalent goddess). They too, camped by lakes and plunged naked into their depths. They became vegetarians, and wandered the streets of Munich and Berlin in earthy garments, wholesomely constructed by killing only vegetables. They worshipped the Sun, and the earth mothers who had preceded patriarchy.

The inhabitants of Schwabing retreated, or progressed, to the community of saints, artists, and nature-lovers on the Mountain of Truth, the Monte Verita, in Anconà (Webmaster's note: should read Ascona), beside a Swiss lake. Here in 1900 came Gusto Gräser, a poet who played with his name, which meant grasses, and said he was in search of roots, the roots of plants, roots to eat, the roots of words, the roots of civilisations and mountains. He eschewed not only meat, but metal, which he believed should be left inside the earth, in its place, inside rocks. He lived in caves and slept in wayside chapels. His brother, also believing that the use of metal implied mines, miners, foundries, armaments, guns and bombs, made a house of wood, using its natural sproutings and forkings as forms. He lived there with Jenny Hoffman, who wore date stones, for buttons, on her clothes. They danced there. Rudolf Laban later led his chain of naked maenads celebrating sunrise by the lake, in the meadows. Lawrence and Frieda came there, Hermann Hesse and Isadora Duncan. The anarchist Eric Mühsam came and the psychoanalyst Otto Gross, whose father, a criminologist, wanted him locked up for lewdness and drugs. Everyone wore sandals, like pilgrims, like apostles, like ancient Greeks. ..."

Share "The Children's Book":

Download for iPad/iPhone (788 KB)
Download for NOOKcolor (788 KB)
Download for Literati/Kobo (788 KB)