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

Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, 1763-1825

Johann Paul Friedrich Richter was a German Romantic writer, best known for his humorous novels and stories. His extraordinarily fertile imagination and his truly poetic spirit gave him the surprising power of suggesting great thoughts by means of the simplest incidents and relations.

Richter was born at Wunsiedel in Bavaria. After the death of his father, his family lived in great poverty. He studied theology and literature at the University of Leipzig before finanical difficulties forced him to return to his mother and work as a tutor.

Some of Richter's early works include "Greenland Lawsuits" and "Selections from the Devil's Papers", which remained practically unnoticed. It was only after a spiritual crisis in 1790 that Johann Paul Friedrich Richter adopted the pen-name Jean Paul and published the romance "The Invisible Lodge", that attracted the attention of the critics and was soon to make him famous. The sharply satirical works of his youth evolved into more imaginative and sentimental texts as time passed.

He obtained his greatest success with his romantic novel Hesperus (1795). After the death of his mother in 1797, Richter started working on his most ambitious novel, "Titan" (1800-1803). In what is considered to be his master piece, this novel includes autobiographic elements, opinions and discussions on revolutionary ideas of the time. Richter also published essays, critical reviews and several theoretical plays, such as School for Aesthetics (1804), on poetry, and Levana (1807), a short treatise on education.

Jean Paul's remarkable conversational powers and his genial manners made him a favorite in general society. In Weimar he also became friends with Herder. and during the last years of his life he started supporting the younger writer E. T. A. Hoffmann, who long counted Richter among his influences.