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Tucholsky, Kurt

(391 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Jan 9, 1890, Berlin – Dec 21, 1935, Hindås, near Göteborg), German writer and journalist, whose many publications made him the critical chronicler of the Weimar Republic. Born to an upper-class Jewish family – his father, Alex Tucholsky, was a bank manager –, after his Abitur in 1909 he studied law in Berlin; in 1915 he received his doctorate from the University of Jena and was then drafted into military service. In 1907 he had already begun publishing art and theater criticism, especially in Die Schaubühne (after 1918 Die Weltbühne), which soon became an important o…

Classicism, German,

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] also known as “Weimar Classicism,” refers to a period in the history of literature which is primarily represented by the mature works of J.W. v. Goethe and F. v. Schiller, and is thus generally dated from 1786 (the beginning of Goethe's first journey to Italy) to 1805 (Schiller's death). In a wider sense, the literary classics also include authors such as H. v. Kleist, Jean Paul, and F. Hölderlin; however, the poetic and aesthetic-philosophical writings of the “Dioscurian pair” Goethe and Schiller undoubtedly epitomized the style, essence, and thought of what ¶ would lat…

Werner, Zacharias

(277 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Nov 18, 1768, Königsberg [Kaliningrad] – Jan 17, 1823, Vienna), German writer and Catholic priest. His father, professor of history at Königsberg, died early; the enthusiastic Pietism of his mother exercised a powerful influence on him. He began to study law and finance in 1784; in 1793, without concluding his studies, he entered Prussian government service. He led an unsteady life, fluctuating between an idealistic image of the artist, motivated by Christianity, and the unrestra…

Taube, Otto von (Baron)

(290 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Jun 21, 1879, Reval [Tallinn] – Jun 20, 1973, Gauting), German writer whose work was increasingly informed by a Christian perspective. After earning a degree in law in Leipzig and doing an internship, from 1906 to 1910 Taube studied art history in Leipzig, Berlin, and Halle. From 1918 on, he lived in Gauting, near Munich, as a freelance writer. In 1936 he joined the Confessing Church; after 1945 he held the office of reader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria. With his …

Weiß, Konrad

(397 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (May 1, 1880, Rauenbretzingen, near Schwäbisch Hall – Jan 4, 1940, Munich), German writer and art critic, whose literary works and meditations on the philosophy of history reflected a conservative Catholic stance. The oldest of ten children of a peasant family, he attended the Catholic boarding school in Ehingen. After passing his Abitur, he studied theology in Tübingen as well as Germanic philology and art history in Munich and Freiburg im Breisgau. From 1904 to 1920, he was on the editorial staff of the Catholic cultural journal Hochland; in 1920 he became the art…

Schaper, Edzard

(94 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Sep 20, 1908, Ostrowo, Posen [Ostrów Wielkopolski] – Jan 29, 1984, Bern), German author. His novels, for example Die sterbende Kirche(1936) and Die Freiheit des Gefangenen (1950), informed by his Christian faith, deal with the testing of individuals in a morally indifferent world, in which borderline situations are understood as opportunities for inner transformation and spiritual renewal. His works, popular in the postwar period, are today largely forgotten. Matthias Hurst Bibliography I. Sonderegger-Kummer, Transparenz und Wirklichkeit. Edzard Schap…

Seghers, Anna

(183 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (orig. Netty Reiling, married Radványi; Nov 19, 1900, Mainz – Jun 1, 1983, East Berlin), German writer of Jewish background. In her novels and short stories, she focused on the fate of ordinary workers and social outcasts against the background of political developments in Germany during the Weimar Repub-¶ lic, National Socialism, and the postwar period. She combined an austere, episodic narrative style with mythical and Christian motifs to great effect. In 1928 she joined the German Communist Party; in 1933 she emigrated to Fra…

Klopstock, Friedrich Gottlieb

(837 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Jul 2, 1724, Quedlinburg – Mar 14, 1803, Hamburg), epic poet, lyricist and dramatist with significant influence on 18th-century German literature, obtained a comprehensive humanist education at the Princes' School in Pforta, which he attended from 1739 to 1745. In 1745, he took up the study of theology and philosophy at the University of Jena, and transferred in 1746 to Leipzig. With the publication of the first three songs of the verse epic Der Messias in 1748, Klopstock immediately attained widespread fame and popularity. In 1750, he traveled to Züri…

Trakl, Georg

(553 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Feb 3, 1887, Salzburg – Nov 3, 1914, Krakow), Austrian poet, whose work, under a pall of pessimism and pervaded by enigmatic symbolism, left a permanent mark on German-language lyric poetry (Lyricism). Trakl, the fourth of seven children of Tobias Trakl, an ironmonger, and his wife Maria Catharina, grew up in Salzburg. He matriculated at the Staatsgymnasium there in 1897 but left without graduating in 1905 on account of poor grades. In the same year he began to work as a pharmaci…

Timmermans, Felix

(171 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] ( Jul 5, 1886, Lier, Belgium – Jan 24, 1947, Lier), Flemish writer, painter, and illustrator. Between the wars, Timmermans was one of the most popular authors of Flemish literature; he was esteemed as a regional writer, who vividly depicted the bond between human beings and nature in simple but expressive language, refining it into a simple philosophy of life. In his novels Pallieter (1916; ET: Pallieter, 1924) and Boerenpsalm (1935), love of nature, in whose beauty God reveals himself to us, combines with sensuous delight, conviviality, and relig…

Stifter, Adalbert

(548 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Oct 23, 1805, Oberplan, Bohemia [now Horní Planá, Czech Republic] – Jan 28, 1868, Linz), Austrian writer and landscape painter. With a humanistic cultural ideal and anthropology rooted in the Enlightenment, he overcame Romanticism and designed a blissful utopian existence whose harmonizing tendencies contained an implicit criticism of the social reality of the 19th century. He discovered his interest in literature, painting, and natural science during his school years at the Bene…

Hesse, Hermann

(565 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Jul 2, 1877, Calw – Aug 9, 1962, Montagnola, Switzerland), one of the best-known 20th-century German authors. Hesse's life and work were decisively impacted by the dynamic combination of the two cultural spheres that influenced him while he was still living with his parents: the strict faith of Swabian Pietism, which became, for him, a paradigmatic model of a repressive upbringing and an unworldly devoutness, and the influence of Far Eastern culture and philosophy he received thr…

Wackenroder, Wilhelm Heinrich

(411 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Jul 13, 1773, Berlin – Feb 13, 1798, Berlin), German art theorist and writer, whose conception of art made him the forerunner of German Romanticism. At the Gymnasium he attended from 1786 to 1792, he formed a friendship with Ludwig Tieck (1773–1853); while studying law at Erlangen and Göttingen, he regularly attended lectures on art history and cultural history, immersing himself in the aesthetics of antiquity as mediated by Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the painting of the Italian…

Seidel, Ina

(270 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Sep 15, 1885, Halle – Oct 2, 1974, Ebenhausen, near Munich), German writer. Seidel was the niece of Heinrich Seidel ( Leberect Hünchen, 1882–1890; ET: Leberecht Hünchen, 1913), an author noted for his middle-class (Biedermeier) idylls, whose son Heinrich Wolfgang, a pastor and writer, she married in 1907. She lived in Munich, Berlin, Eberswalde, and after 1934 in Starnberg. Her works, characterized by a predilection for neo-Romanticism and nature mysticism, are written in a conventionally appealing style. Her early poetry ( Gedichte, 1914) is full of euphoria…

Wiechert, Ernst

(396 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (May 18, 1887, Kleinort, a forester’s lodge near Sensburg [Mrągowo, Poland] – Aug 24, 1950, Uerikon), German writer, whose fundamental humanistic and ethical position made him a moral authority during the Third Reich and the early postwar period. Wiechert, the son of a forester, studied at Königsberg (Kaliningrad). In 1911 he became a high school teacher, and in 1914 he volunteered for military service. After the war, he worked as a Gymnasium teacher in Königsberg and Berlin-Charl…

Kaiser, Georg

(264 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Nov 25, 1878, Magdeburg – Jun 4, 1945, Ascona), wrote more than 70 dramas and is considered one of the most prolific playwrights of the 20th century. He was one of the most staged authors of the 1920s and an important representative of Berlin's literary intellectualism, but sank into oblivion after 1933. From a thematic and formal point of view, Kaiser's dramas are strongly influenced by Expressionism. In his two-part drama Gas (1918/1920), he denounces the exploitation and functionalization forced upon the human being by modernism and industrializa…

Storm, Theodor

(424 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[German Version] (Sep 14, 1817, Husum [then under Danish rule] – Jul 4, 1888, Hademarschen), German poet and novelist, whose North Frisian background left an enduring mark on his work. His upbringing was vague on all issues of religion; as a consequence, he turned his back on Christianity and developed instead a humanistic commitment to life in this world, which nevertheless had melancholic and sometimes pessimistic elements occasioned by its denial of transcendental hopes. After studying law at K…


(333 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[English Version] Wiechert, Ernst (18.5.1887 Forsthaus Kleinort bei Sensburg – 24.8.1950 Uerikon), dt. Schriftsteller, dessen ethisch-humanistische Grundhaltung ihn zu einer moralischen Instanz während des Dritten Reichs und der frühen Nachkriegszeit werden ließ. W., Sohn eines Försters, studierte in Königsberg, war seit 1911 Oberrealschullehrer, meldete sich 1914 freiwillig zum Kriegsdienst und unterrichtete nach Ende des 1. Weltkriegs an Gymnasien in Königsberg und Berlin-Charlottenburg. Aus Gesu…


(250 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[English Version] Taube, Otto Frhr. v. (21.6.1879 Reval – 30.6.1973 Gauting), dt. Schriftsteller, dessen Werk zunehmend von einer christl. Haltung bestimmt wurde. Nach Jurastudium, Promotion und Referendariat in Leipzig studierte T. von 1906 bis 1910 Kunstgesch. in Leipzig, Berlin und Halle. Als freier Schriftsteller lebte er von 1918 an in Gauting bei München. 1936 trat er der Bekennenden Kirche bei und übernahm nach 1945 das Amt eines Lektors der Ev. Landeskirche in Bayern. Aus dem Baltikum stammen…


(342 words)

Author(s): Hurst, Matthias
[English Version] Storm, Theodor (14.9.1817 Husum – 4.7.1888 Hademarschen), dt. Lyriker und Novellist, dessen nordfriesische Abstammung sein lit. Werk thematisch nachhaltig prägte. Seine allen rel. Belangen gegenüber unspezifische Erziehung führte dazu, daß S. sich grundlegend von der christl. Rel. abwandte und statt dessen eine dem diesseitigen Leben verpflichtete humanistische Haltung entwickelte, die gleichwohl in ihrer Verleugnung transzendenter Hoffnungen melancholische und zuweilen pessimisti…
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