Gustav Freytag

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Freytag, Gustav


Born July 13, 1816, in Kreuzburg, Silesia; died Apr. 30, 1895, in Wiesbaden. German writer.

Freytag studied philology at the universities of Breslau and Berlin between 1835 and 1838. Although initially sympathetic to the ideas of Junges Deutschland, he gradually adopted the national liberal ideas of the preimperialist period. In his comedy The Journalists (1854; Russian translation, 1896), Freytag exposed the corruption and unscrupulous character of the periodical press. His historical novel of manners Debit and Credit (1855; Russian translation, 1858), which is marked by a philistine moral outlook and nationalistic bias, unfolds a program for the development of German agriculture along capitalist lines and for the strengthening of national commerce. Freytag’s extensive studies in cultural history resulted in Pictures of German Life (1859) and a series of historical novels, The Ancestors (1872–80), that describes the fortunes of many generations of a German family.


Gesammelte Werke, 2nd ed., vols. 1–22. Leipzig, 1896–98.
In Russian translation:
Kartiny srednevekovoi zhizni. Moscow, 1868.
Kartiny iz proshlogo Germanii. St. Petersburg, 1913.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1968.
Mehring, F. Literaturno-kriticheskie stat’i. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934. (Translated from German.)