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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in German literature, a short satirical story written at first in verse and later in prose. The Schwank was widely popular from the 13th to 17th centuries. It was similar to the French fabliau and the Italian novella of the Early Renaissance, and from time to time it was directly influenced by these genres. Reflecting the views of the townspeople, the Schwank was devoid of the idealization typical of courtly literature. It depicted the life of the various social estates, mainly the comic side. Its favorite heroes were cunning, clever commoners.

The masters of the Schwank were Der Strieker (mid-13th century) and the Austrian poet P. Frankfurter (late 14th or early 15th century). The genre was widely exploited in the popular book about Til Eulenspiegel (1515). Hans Sachs wrote Schwänke in verse form.


Deutsche Schwänke in einem Band, 4th ed. Berlin-Weimar, 1969. Selected and translated by G. Albrecht.
In Russian translation:
In Khrestomatiia po zarub. lit-re: Epokha Vozrozhdeniia, vol. 2. Moscow, 1962. Compiled by B. I. Purishev.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1962.
Kindermann, H. Die deutschen Schwankbücher des 16. Jahrhunderts. Danzig, 1929.


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