Raabe, Wilhelm

Raabe, Wilhelm

Raabe, Wilhelm (vĭlˈhĕlm räˈbə), 1831–1910, German novelist, whose pseudonym was Jakob Corvinus. At 23 he began to write novels and tales of village life; the charming idyll Die Chronik der Sperlingsgasse (1857) first brought him acclaim. Raabe's humor often serves to cover a more bitter irony. He later turned to the historical past and wrote such tales as the tragic “Des Reiches Krone” [the imperial crown] (1870). His novels include Der Hungerpastor (1864, tr. 1885) and Abu Telfan (1867; tr. Abu Telfan's Return from the Mountains of the Moon, 1881).


See studies by B. Fairley (1961), and I. S. Di Maio (1981).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Raabe, Wilhelm


Born Sept. 8, 1831, in Escherhausen; died Nov. 15, 1910, in Braunschweig. German writer.

Raabe’s novella The Chronicle of Sparrow Lane (1856) dealt with the poor residents of the Berlin outskirts, who, despite conditions, still retained their sense of humor. His chief work is the trilogy consisting of the novels The Hungry Parson (1864), Abu Telfan (1867), and The Plague Cart (1870). The trilogy’s growing pessimism results from the eternal dissatisfaction that motivates people and from hunger, poverty, and the obtuseness and cynicism of the capitalist order. The tragically lonely hero of the novel The Chronicle of the Birds’ Song (1895) cannot resolve the conflict between lofty but illusory dreams and philistine reality. Raabe’s historical novellas lack originality. Despising capitalism, Raabe dreamed of a utopia of free cities in a patriarchal Germany.


Ausgewählte Werke, vols. 1–6. Berlin-Weimar, 1964–65.
In Russian translation:
Povesti i novelly. Moscow, 1959.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1968.
Hagemann, L. W. Raabe Katalog, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1927.
Fehse, W. W. Raabe. Berlin, 1937.


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