German literature

German authors
  • Angelus Silesius
  • Heinrich Böll
  • Bertolt Brecht
  • Karl Georg Büchner
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Günter Grass
  • Brothers Grimm
  • Hans von Grimmelshausen
  • Peter Handke
  • Gerhart Hauptmann
  • Heinrich Heine
  • Heinrich der Glïchezäre
  • Johann Gottfried von Herder
  • Hermann Hesse
  • Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann
  • Friedrich Hölderlin
  • Uwe Johnson
  • Siegfried Lenz
  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
  • Thomas Mann
  • Robert Musil
  • Novalis
  • Jean Paul Richter
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling
  • Friedrich von Schiller
  • Arthur Schnitzler
  • Georg Trakl
  • Frank Wedekind
  • Christa Wolf

Gerhart Hauptmann, 1862 -1946

German playwright, novelist and poet who came to be the main representative of the Naturalist movement in German literature, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1912.

He was born on November 15, 1862 in Obersalzbrunn; after a short time studying sculpture at Breslau and Jena, he decided to turn to literature. He was heavily influenced by realist works created by Henrik Ibsen and, after experimenting with different literary forms, he chose the theater as his principal channel of expression.

In his first writing, Before Sunrise (1889), Hauptmann shares Ibsen's concern over social problems, painting a realist portrait of the working class struggle. With his concern over surrounding factors and the inheritance which conditions an individual's life, the play is the first example of Naturalist drama in Germany.

Hauptmann continued to show deep concern for life of the less fortunate classes. The destiny of a group of weavers (a story inspired in the memory of his grandfather, who had been a weaver in Silesia) forms the nucleus of his most important writing, The Weavers (1892). In this drama containing social protest a new viewpoint is introduced, where the main character of the conflict is the peasant social class, and not an individual.

Hauptmann soon left Naturalist theatre behind; in Hannele (1893) he combines elements of naturalism with a more romantic and symbolic versification. This tendency to drift toward a more Romantic style is plainly seen in his play The Sunken Bell (1896).

That same year he returned to realist drama, however, instead of showing concern only over social problems, he describes the effects of moral corruption in the individual. In Drayman Henschel (1898) and in Rose Bernd (1903) he develops the tragic theme of individuals destined to destruction by their own innate deficiencies. Hauptmann also wrote comedy The Beaver Coat (1893); the novel The Heretic of Soana (1918) and a few epic poems.

Hauptmann died on June 6, 1946 in Agnetendorf.