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Born Nov. 5, 1494, in Nuremberg; died there Jan. 19, 1576. German poet and composer.
Sachs attended a Latin school. In 1520 he became a master cobbler. He was an actor and the director of an amateur troupe. Expanding the poetic horizons of the meistergesang, he culled his subjects from life, from classical, medieval, and Renaissance literary sources, from popular books, and from anecdotes of the marketplace. Sachs wrote more than 6,000 works and was the author of the words and music for many songs. In his charming Fastnachtsspiele (Shrovetide plays), with their touching naïveté characteristic of popular literature, and in his Schwanken (short narrative songs), he depicted with humor the simple-mindedness of peasants, family quarrels, the profligacy of Catholic clerics, the riotous conduct of the lansquenets, and the amusing pranks of clever tramps. Best known are his farces The Schoolboy in Paradise and The Peddler’s Basket. Sachs condemned the growth of self-interest and the dissension among the princes, but his moralizing is not without philistine features. Sachs was the inspiration for the main character in operas by A. Jirovec, A. Lortzing (Hans Sachs, 1834) and R. Wagner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, 1868).
WORKSWerke, vols. 1–2. Edited by K. M. Schiller. Weimar, 1960.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
REFERENCESIstoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962.
Genée, R. Hans Sachs undseine Zeit, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1902.
Geiger, E. Der Meistergesang des Hans Sachs. Bern, 1956.
B. I. PURISHEV