Gerhart Hauptmann


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Hauptmann, Gerhart

(gĕr`härt houpt`män), 1862–1946, German dramatist, novelist, and poet. He showed the influence of the theories of Zola and the plays of Ibsen in his play Before Dawn (1889, tr. 1909), which inaugurated the naturalistic movement in the German theater and won overnight fame. His other realistic plays include the famous tragedy of the working class, The Weavers (1892, tr. 1899), the comedy The Beaver Coat (1893, tr. 1905), and the tragedies Drayman Henschel (1899, tr. 1913) and Rose Bernd (1903, tr. 1913). Responsive to changing moods in literature, Hauptmann reflected the trend away from naturalism with the dream play Hannele (1893, tr. 1894) and the popular romantic play The Sunken Bell (1897, tr. 1898). His prose works include the novel of a modern mystic, The Fool in Christ, Emanuel Quint (1910, tr. 1911) and The Heretic of Soana (1918, tr. 1923). Till Eulenspiegel (1928) is an epic of postwar Germany. A leading figure in German literature for three generations, Hauptmann received many honors, notably the 1912 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Bibliography

See study by P. Mellen (1983).

Hauptmann, Gerhart

 

Born Nov. 15, 1862, in Obersalzbrunn; died June 6, 1946, in Agnetendorf. German writer. Son of an innkeeper.

Hauptmann attended an art school and the University of Jena. His first literary work was written in the 1880’s. He became famous with the appearance of the drama Before Sunrise (1889; Russian translation, 1901), which portrays the decline of a bourgeois family. Soon after that Hauptmann became the leading figure of German naturalism. In the dramas Drayman Henschel (1898), Rose Bernd (1903), and The Rats (1911), Hauptmann criticized the mores of Germany under the kaiser and sympathized with the unfortunate. Hauptmann’s works, however, revealed the limitations of naturalism—the absolute determinism of biological laws and the passivity of the heroes. The theme of the drama The Weavers (1892) is the Silesian weavers’ uprising of 1844. In this drama, which is innovative in theme and style, the working mass serves as a collective hero. This play was very successful in Russia and other countries. The comedy The Beaver Coat (1893) is a satiric exposé of William II’s Germany. Besides the dramas of everyday life, Hauptmann wrote verse plays and tales, which were influenced by symbolism (The Sunken Bell, 1896; Poor Heinrich, 1902). His play Florian Geyser (1896) is based on a historical event, a 16th-century peasant uprising.

Hauptmann’s dramas Winter Ballad (1917), White Savior (1920), and Indipohdi (1920) and the novels The Fool in Christ, Emanuel Quint (1910) and The Island of the Great Mother (1924) lean toward the irrational. Hauptmann’s prose, except for the novel The Heretic of Soana (1918; Russian translation, 1920), which is an exposé of bigoted, hypocritical morality, does not measure up artistically to his plays. Of his later works, the most notable is the drama Before Sunset (1932), a work containing social criticism. During the fascist rule in Germany, Hauptmann stopped writing on contemporary themes. He wrote the autobiographical novel Adventure of My Youth (1937) and a drama tetralogy based on the Greek legend of the house of Atreus (1941-44). The narrative poem The Great Dream testifies to Hauptmann’s hostility toward Nazism. After the downfall of the Hitler regime, Hauptmann was elected honorary chairman of the Kulturbund, an organization of the democratic intelligentsia. He received the Nobel Prize in 1912.

WORKS

Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1-6. Berlin, 1906.
Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1-17. Berlin, 1943.
Ausgewählte Dramen, vols. 1-4. Berlin, 1956.
Ausgewählte Werke, vols. 1-8. Berlin, 1962.
In Russian translation:
Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1-14. Moscow, 1910-12.
Izbr. dramy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1930.
P’esy, vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1959.

REFERENCES

Lunacharskii, A. V. Sobr. soch., vol. 4. Moscow, 1964. Pages 346-48, 376.
Lunacharskii, A. V. “Pered voskhodom i zakhodom solntsa.” Ibid., vol. 6. Moscow, 1965.
Mehring, F. Literaturno-kriticheskie stat’i, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Sil’man, T. G. Gauptman. Leningrad-Moscow, 1958.
Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1968.
Likhachev, B. P. [compiler]. Gerkhart Gauptman: Biobibliografich. ukazatel’. Moscow, 1956.
Guthke, K. S. G. Hauptmann: Weltbild im Werk. Göttingen, 1961.
Heuser, F. W. G. Hauptmann. Tübingen, 1961.
Lukács, G. Deutsche Literatur im Zeitalter des Imperialismus, 6th ed. Berlin, 1950.
G. Hauptmann—ein Meister realistischer Menschengestaltung. Berlin, 1962.
J. R. Becher über Literatur und Kunst. Berlin, 1962. Pages 861-62.

I. A. BERNSHTEIN

References in periodicals archive ?
Mann called Whitman the "lover of mankind across the ocean," "the herald of athletic democracy and of free states holding each other embraced" and "the hectic dreamer of perpetual bridal night." He praised Whitman's "dithyrambic Americanism" and the "erotic, all-embracing democratism" of his "raging and reverent song-sequence." In a rare burst of lyrical enthusiasm, a notable contrast to his formal and conventional eulogy of Gerhart Hauptmann, Mann extolled the "social eroticism," "the pure, sweet-smelling primitive healthiness of the singer of Manhattan .
Gerhart Hauptmann's popular drama Einsame Menschen premiered at the Residenztheater in Berlin in January 1891 and played ten times in that city until 1918 (Cowen 49-54).(11) The protagonist Johannes Vockerat is a young, married academic who has to choose between two women, his wife and a charming stranger, and two belief systems, the religious tradition he was raised in and the new individualism of the 1890s.
(3) Gerhart Hauptmann: Samtliche Werke Centenar-Ausgabe zum hundertsten Geburtstag des Dichters 15.
Following in the footsteps of Gerhart Hauptmann, whose Bogen des Odysseus (1914) gave a German rendering of the traditional story earlier in this century, Botho Strauss has written a classical-style play focusing on the arrival home of one of antiquity's most famous sojourners, Odysseus.
Woyzeck, however, was well in advance of its time, since domestic tragedy set in the milieu of the lower classes did not come to the fore until the turn of the 20th century with such works as Gerhart Hauptmann's Die Weber (1892; The Weavers) and Rose Bernd (1903).
The Child by Jules Valles (1879) was the original novelized cry of protest from a battered child whose father was, as he put it, "master of me as of a dog."(13) A touching unsentimentalized successor to Valles's self-styled little rebel was the child heroine of Gerhart Hauptmann's Hannele's Ascension (1893), who flees her brutal stepfather into suicide accompanied by naive visions of paradise.
Longfellow's The Golden Legend (1851), and the tale is retold in Gerhart Hauptmann's drama Der arme Heinrich (1902).
The physical appearance of the leading characters are based on real people: Gustav von Aschenbach on the composer Gustav Mahler, who died in 1911 as Mann was writing the story; Leo Naptha on the Hungarian critic Georg Lukacs and Pieter Peeperkorn on the German playwright Gerhart Hauptmann.
The fact that in 1928 he saw to it that the sum of one thousand Reichsmarks was transmitted to Pannwitz by the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Stiftung to enable him to resume his life' im Siden' throws telling light on the links which existed between Hauptmann, the 1912 Nobel Prize winner, and Pannwitz, an interesting if minor writer who survived his most important work, Die Krisis der europaischen Kultur (1917), by over half a century and Gerhart Hauptmann by twenty-three years.