Grabbe, Christian Dietrich

Grabbe, Christian Dietrich

(krĭs`tēän dē`trĭkh gräb`ə), 1801–36, German dramatist and journalist. Critical of "Shakespearomania," Grabbe strove for a national German drama and wrote original, poetic historical tragedies. Hannibal (1835) and Hermannsschlacht [Hermann's battle] (1838) depict the genial individual shattered by others' lack of understanding. Napoleon (1831), Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung (1822; tr. Comedy, Satire, Irony and Deeper Meaning, 1955), and Don Juan und Faust (1829) are among his other notable works.


See studies by R. A. Nicholl (1969) and C. D. Grabbe (1972).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grabbe, Christian Dietrich


Born Dec. 11, 1801, in Detmold; died there Sept. 12, 1836. German writer.

Grabbe was the son of a prison warden. He studied law at the Universities of Leipzig and Berlin. His first works were the tragedy Duke Theodor von Gothland (written in 1822 and published in 1827), the comedy Farces, Satire, Irony, and Deeper Meaning (published in 1827), and the tragedy Don Juan and Faust (1829). In his tragedies from the unfinished Hohenstaufen cycle, Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa (1829) and Emperor Heinrich VI (1830), and also in his drama Napoleon, or the Hundred Days (1831), Grabbe showed the influence exerted by the masses of people on the fate of his protagonist. His last dramas, Hannibal (1835) and The Herman Battle (1836), portray the ordinary people’s love of freedom in a heroic light, but the conflicts in these dramas always remain tragically undecided. The realistic elements in his work are combined with romantic conventionality.


Sämtliche Werke, vols. 1–6. Berlin, 1912.
Werke und Briefe, vols. 1. 3. Darmstadt, 1960–61. (Uncompleted edition.)
Dramatische Dichtungen, vols. 1–3. Berlin. 1944.


Mehring. F. Literaturno-kriticheskie stat’i, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934. Pages 24–32.
Lundberg, E. “Khristian Grabbe.” Internatsional’naia literatura, 1936. no. 12.
Reiman.P. Osnovnye techeniia v nemetskoi literature, 1750–1848. Moscow, 1959.
Bergmann, A. Chr. D. Grabbe. Detmold, 1954.
Böttger, F. Grabbe. Berlin, 1963.
Steffens, W. Chr. D. Grabbe [Hannover, 1966.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.