Sudermann, Hermann

Sudermann, Hermann

(hĕr`män zo͞o`dərmän), 1857–1928, German dramatist and novelist. His play Die Ehre (1889; tr. Honor, 1906) was one of the first successes of the burgeoning German naturalist movement. Sudermann's works became immensely popular, particularly the psychological novel Frau Sorge (1887; tr. Dame Care, 1891) and the play Heimat (1893; tr. Magda, 1896), a vehicle for Sarah Bernhardt and for Mrs. Patrick Campbell. His finest drama is probably Fritzchen, one of the three one-act plays published in Morituri (1897); it portrays the harshness of the Prussian officer code. Many of Sudermann's plays and such novels as Es war (1894) and Das hohe Lied (1908; tr. The Song of Songs, 1909) effectively bare the crudity and immorality of the Prussian aristocracy and the corruption of Berlin society.

Sudermann, Hermann

 

Born Sept. 30, 1857, in the small town of Matziken, in East Prussia; died Nov. 21, 1928, in Berlin. German writer.

Sudermann is one of the leading representatives of the naturalist school of German literature. His dramas Honor (1889), The Man and His Picture (1891), and The Fatherland (1893) show the moral decay of fashionable society, the disintegration of the bourgeois family, and the fate of the artist under capitalism. In his later dramas Happiness in the Corner (1896) and The Joy of Living (1902) the socially critical motifs disappear.

Sudermann’s historical and symbolist plays include Morituri (1897), the tragedy John the Baptist (1898), and the drama Children of the Shore (1910). His novels Dame Care (1887) and The Undying Past (1894), erotic story lolanthe’s Wedding (1892), and short stories were no better than bourgeois fiction.

WORKS

Dramatische Werke, vols. 1–6. Stuttgart, 1923.
Romane and Novellen, vols. 1–2. Stuttgart-Berlin, 1930.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–7. St. Petersburg, 1906.
Sobr. dramatiticheskikh soch., 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1928.

REFERENCES

Brandes, G. Literaturnye portrety. St. Petersburg, 1896.
Plekhanov, G. V. “Otryvok kriticheskoi stat’i o drame Zudermana Sredi tsvetov.” In G. V. Plekhanov—literaturnyi kritik. Moscow, 1933.
Mering, F. Literaturno-kriticheskie stat’i, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Hermann Sudermann: Ein Dichter an der Grenzscheide zweier Welten (1857–1928). Edited by T. Duglor. Dusseldorf, 1958.

N. B. VESELOVSKAIA

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