Spielhagen, Friedrich Von

Spielhagen, Friedrich Von


Born Feb. 24, 1829, in Magdeburg; died Feb. 25, 1911, in Berlin. German writer.

Spielhagen studied first at the law faculty of the University of Berlin and then at the philosophy faculties of the universities of Bonn and Greifswald. His most famous novel, In Formation (1866; Russian translation under the title One Not a Soldier in the Field, 1867–68), shows that an exceptional personality cannot successfully transform society without the support of the masses. Spielhagen’s works are noted for their veracity of portrayal, their wealth of ideas, and their declamatory spirit. After 1870 his novels became predominantly sentimental, moralizing, and melodramatic; some of them, however, such as Storm Flood (1876), have marked denunciatory elements.

Spielhagen’s topical political novels were popular in Russia during the second half of the 19th century, especially among the Narodniki (Populists).


Ausgewählte Romane [vols. 1–10]. Leipzig, 1907–10.
Meisterromane, vols. 1–3. Leipzig [1929].
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–23. St. Petersburg, 1896–99.
Sobr. soch., vol. 1, books 1–5. Leningrad, 1929–30.
Otkrytoepis’mo kgrafu L’vu Tolstomu. St. Petersburg, 1896.


Mehring, F. “F. Spil’gagen.” In his book Literaturno-krilicheskie stat’i, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Kuczynski, J. “Fr. Spielhagen.” In his book Gestalten und Werke, vol. 1. Berlin-Weimar, 1969.