15 results in English
A Dream Play
August Strindberg (1849–1912) was one of Sweden’s most important writers. From the 1870s until his death, he was a dominant figure in Swedish literary circles. Internationally, he is known for his plays. Strindberg grew up in Stockholm and studied at Uppsala University. From 1874 to 1882 he worked at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. It was there that he acquired much of his considerable knowledge of cultural history and literature. His breakthrough came in 1879 with publication of the novel The Red Room. Strindberg traveled extensively ...
Selma Lagerlöf
This photograph by Henry B. Goodwin depicts the Swedish author Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf (1858–1940), the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Goodwin was born the son of a Bavarian landscape painter and originally named Heinrich Buergel. He was a scholar of Old Icelandic and one of the pioneers of portrait photography in Scandinavia. He adopted a new homeland and a new name and contributed to the visual image of contemporary Swedes by becoming the most-renowned society photographer in Sweden in his era. An advocate of ...
The Occult Diary
Ockulta dagboken (The occult diary) is a diary kept intermittently for 12 years by the Swedish author and playwright August Strindberg (1849−1912). It comprises more than 300 folio leaves, from the first written in Paris in 1896 to the last entry from Stockholm in 1908. When Strindberg began the diary, his intention was to record characters and incidents that, although seemingly trivial, appeared to him to be significant, as well as strange coincidences, dreams, clairvoyant experiences, Bible quotations, and extracts from other books, usually without any comment. He gradually ...
The Saga of Gösta Berling
Selma Lagerlöf (1858−1940) was one of Sweden’s most important writers. In 1909 she became the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in 1914 the first woman elected to the Swedish Academy. Her writings were placed in a local setting, but she used them and her national and international prominence to champion much larger issues, including women's suffrage in Sweden and international peace initiatives. In 1890 Lagerlöf entered a novel competition, sponsored by the magazine Idun, by submitting five chapters of Gösta Berlings ...
Stories from Hans Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75) is perhaps Denmark’s best known author. A prolific writer of plays, novels, travel books, and an autobiography, he is mainly remembered for his 156 fairy tales and stories, among them “The Little Mermaid,” “The Ugly Duckling,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Andersen was born and raised in Odense, the only child of a poor washerwoman and shoemaker. He received little formal education, but drew upon his early experiences and observations in his literary work. He once wrote: “Most of what I have written is ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Parzival
Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his medieval German epic poem Parzival, which consists of more than 24,000 lines, in the first decade of the 13th century. It tells the story of the juvenile fool Parzival who, having grown up in the seclusion of the forest, is ignorant of the world and causes much grief as he ventures out to become a knight. He arrives at the Castle of the Grail, but fails to pose the question to the sick King Fisher Anfortas about the source of his suffering—a question ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Parzival
Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his medieval German epic poem Parzival, which consists of more than 24,000 lines, in the first decade of the 13th century. It tells the story of the juvenile fool Parzival who, having grown up in the seclusion of the forest, is ignorant of the world and causes much grief as he ventures out to become a knight. He arrives at the Castle of the Grail, but fails to pose the question to the sick King Fisher Anfortas about the source of his suffering—a question ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Indian Summer
Adalbert Stifter (1805–1866) was one of the greatest stylists of German literature. He began his career in the spirit of Austrian Biedermeier by writing stories for the bourgeois reading public. The theme of these stories, which first appeared in popular journals and almanacs, was often the humanization of the elemental. Stifter later thoroughly revised these works, which led to their publication in his Studien of 1844–50 and Bunte Steine of 1853. After the revolutionary upheavals of 1848, Stifter distanced himself from contemporary trends. Der Nachsommer (Indian summer), the ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Heliand
The Heliand is an epic poem in Old Saxon that was first written down in around 830–840. The poem, whose title means “savior,” recounts the life of Jesus in the alliterative verse style of a Germanic saga. At about 6,000 lines, the Heliand is the largest known work written in Old Saxon, the precursor of modern Low German. The name of the poet is unknown, but some information about him and the origins of the poem can be gleaned from a Latin preface printed by Matthias Flacius Illyricus ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
The Song of the Nibelungs (Codex A)
The Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs) is the most famous heroic poem in Middle High German. It tells the story of the dragon-slayer Siegfried from his childhood and his marriage to Kriemhild to his murder by the evil Hagen and Kriemhild's subsequent revenge, culminating in the annihilation of the Burgundians or Nibelungs at the court of the Huns. Originally based upon an older oral tradition, the poem was written down about or shortly after the year 1200, probably at the court of Wolfger von Erla, Bishop of Passau ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
A Doll's House
Few plays have had as much influence globally on social norms and conditions as A Doll’s House by the Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906). Considered one of the great figures of world literature, Ibsen gave theatrical art a new vitality by bringing into European bourgeois drama an ethical gravity, psychological depth, and social significance that the theater had lacked since the days of William Shakespeare. His plays portray people from the middle class of his day, whose routines are suddenly upset as they confront a deep crisis in ...
Max and Moritz: A Story of Naughty Boys in Seven Pranks
Max and Moritz, a picture story about two mischievous little boys, is one of the most popular German children’s books. The first edition came out in late October 1865 in a print run of 4,000 copies. The author, Wilhelm Busch (1832–1908), had intended to have his tale published in Fliegende Blätter, then a successful satirical weekly paper, but publisher Kaspar Braun included the title in the children’s books catalog of the firm of Braun & Schneider. The comic story is told in rhyming verse, and divided into ...
Ship of Fools
Das Narrenschiff (Ship of fools) by the Basel lawyer Sebastian Brant (1458–1521) was one of the first lavishly illustrated works to be printed in the German language in the 15th century and one of the most popular. Following the first edition, which was printed in 1494 by Brant’s old university friend Johann Bergmann, Brant’s satire on human foolishness became a European bestseller. By 1574, more than 40 editions of the text had appeared, including translations into Latin, French, English, Dutch, and Low German. The text describes a ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
Book of Animals
The artist, engraver, xylographer, publisher, and entrepreneur Jost Amman (1539–91) was involved in a huge number of printing projects, several of them together with the Frankfurt-based publisher Sigmund Feyerabend. One such project was the Thierbuch (Book of animals). Printed for the first time in 1569, it comprises nearly 100 woodcuts executed by Amman, based on designs by the Augsburg painter Hans Bocksberger the Younger. The illustrations feature 70 different kinds of animals, including domestic animals (such as horse, ox, and pig), wild animals (such as bear, fox, and eagle ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
The Magician
This little Yiddish book, with its illustrations by Marc Chagall, is the product of several converging trends in East European Jewry during the late-19th and early 20th centuries. It was written by Y. L. Peretz (1852–1915), a towering figure of the Jewish Enlightenment revered for his stories, plays, and poems in both Hebrew and Yiddish. Like many of Peretz’s works, Der Kuntsenmakher (variously translated as The Magician or The Trickster) draws its inspiration from the folktales of Hassidic Jewry, in this case the legends surrounding the wonder-working figure ...