Jahnn selected the stories, originally appearing as exempla in his novels, for separate publication (13 nicht geheure Ge- schichten. Suhrkamp, 1967). They reflect his Weltanschauung of the harmonious universe in which man is part of an endless chain, connected on the one hand to his ancestors who pass their deeds on through their works, and on the other to the future by means of the everlasting repetition of the process of nature. To Jahnn the meaning of life was that there are no answers and that man is an unknown quantity. The tragic seriousness of life is not without hope, however, for man is a responsible being, and in this world in need of love and mercy he is the only one to provide uncondi- tional love. Jahnn's work has been considered to be a repetition, in modern dress, of certain aspects of the Gilgamesh epic; his motifs are drawn from it, his characters are archetypes.
For the first time in English. With an introduction.