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

Friedrich Hölderlin, 1770-1843

This German lyric poet, was perhaps one of the greatest ever in German literature. Hölderlin was born in Lauffen-am-Neckar, into a lower class family, and despite being a theology student at Tübingen University - where he met and made friends with Hegel -, he never aspired to a career in the Church.

His first publications appeared in the magazines directed by Friedrich von Schiller. Soon afterwards, he moved to Frankfurt to work tutoring the sons of the Gontard banker family and fell in love his employer's wife, Susette, who was his muse for the figure of Diotima in his poems and in the epistolary novel Hyperion (1797- 1799).

After living in Hamburg, where he polished his unique lyric style in free verse, and in Jena, where he tried unsuccessfully to obtain a position as professor at the University, he traveled to Bordeaux, France to work as a tutor for another wealthy family, being attracted by the revolutionary that country was going through at the time.

In 1802 he left France and traveled back to Germany on foot, where he heard of the death of his muse, Susette. That same year he suffered his first of several attacks of schizophrenia, an affliction that would stay with him until the end of his days. His work, ignored for the greater part of the 19th Century, was rediscovered in the early 20th Century by writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Thomas Mann.