Wassermann, Jakob

Wassermann, Jakob

(yä`kôp väs`ərmän), 1873–1934, Austrian novelist, b. Bavaria. He won international fame with Christian Wahnschaffe (1919; tr. The World's Illusion, 1920), a novel whose moral intensity and characterization have suggested comparison to Dostoyevsky. Other works popular in his lifetime include the novels Casper Hauser (1908, tr. 1928) and Ulrike Woytich (1923; tr. Gold, 1924). He also wrote an autobiography, Mein Weg als Deutscher und Jude (1921; tr. My Life as German and Jew, 1933), plays, biographies, and essays.


See study by J. C. Blankenagel (1942).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wassermann, Jakob


Born Mar. 10, 1873, in Fürth, Bavaria; died Jan. 1, 1934, in Alt-Aussee, Austria. German writer. Born into a bourgeois Jewish family.

Wassermann was the author of the novels The Jews of Zirndorf (1897; Russian translation, 1909), Story of the Young Renata Fuchs (1900; Russian translation, 1908), Caspar Hauser (1908; Russian translation, 1926), The Goose Man (1915; Russian translation, 1925), Christian Wahnschaffe (1919), and others in which social and ethical themes are combined. In the trilogy from the life of German youth—the novels The Maurizius Case (1928; Russian translation, 1929), Etzel Andergast (1931), and Kerkhoven’s Third Existence (1934)—the dissolution of the bourgeois family and the inhuman character of bourgeois relations are portrayed; however, Wassermann did not go beyond the ideals of bogoiskateVstvo (god-seeking). He wrote the satirical play Comedy of Lies (1898) and the book Pilgrim’s Spirit (1923; Russian translation—excerpts under the title Kakhamarka s Gold—1956).


Gesammelte Werke, vols. 1-7. Zürich, 1944-48.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-5. Moscow, 1912-13.


Istoriia nemetskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1968. Chapter 33.
Lennartz, F. Dichter und Schriftsteller unserer Zeit, 7th ed. Stuttgart [1957].
Voegeli, W. Jakob Wasserman und die Trägheit des Herzens. Winterthur, 1956.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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