Andreas Gryphius

Andreas Gryphius (2 October 1616 – 16 July 1664) was a German lyric poet and dramatist.

Andreas Gryphius
Andreas Gryphius
Born2 October 1616
Großglogau (Głogów), Silesia
Died16 July 1664 (aged 47)
Großglogau, Silesia
OccupationLyric poet

Early life and education

Gryphius was born in Großglogau (Polish: Głogów), in Silesia, the son of Paul Gryphius (1560–1621), Lutheran archdeacon of Glogau, and Paul's third wife, Anna (née Erhard), who was 32 years younger than her husband.[1] The family name was originally "Greif", and had been Latinized to "Gryphius" by Andreas's paternal great-grandfather (Peter Greif of Heringen).[2] Left early an orphan and driven from his native town by the troubles of the Thirty Years' War, he received his schooling in various places, but notably at Freistadt (Polish: Wschowa), where he enjoyed an excellent classical education.[3]

Career in poetry

In 1634 he went to Danzig (Polish:Gdańsk) where he met professors Peter Crüger and Johann Mochinger at the Danzig Gymnasium, who introduced Gryphius to the new German language poetry. Crüger had for years close contacts to Martin Opitz, who became known as 'father of German poetry'. Greatly influenced by Crüger, he is the only one Gryphius dedicated poems to. Gryphius wrote Latin language poetry as well as German poems and a number of Sonetten.

The same year that Gryphius arrived, the printer Andreas Hünefeld published Martin Opitz's Buch von der deutschen Poeterey (Book of German Poetry). The same publisher printed Opitz's translation Tetrastichen des Pibrac and Antigone. Among Gryphius' benefactors was the city's secretary Michael Borck, who wrote a German version of the life of Jesus Christ. Borck's illustrated book is still at the Gdańsk library. Coming from war riddled Silesia, taking refuge at the big international harbor and a Polish city, greatly stimulated Gryphius. In 1635 he published his second epos of Herodes Dei Vindicis Impetus et Herodis Interitus. He dedicated this to the city state council.

In 1636, while still in Danzig, he published the Parnassus renovatus in praise of his mentor and patron, the eminent jurist Georg Schönborner (1579–1637).[4] Later the same year Gryphius became the tutor of Schönborner's two sons, on Schönborner's estate near Freystadt, in Silesia (today, Kożuchów, Poland).[5] A highly educated scholar, Schönborner held various government administrative posts and by that time had been honored by Emperor Ferdinand II with the title of Imperial Count Palatine (Hofpfalzgraf).[6] On 30 November 1637, Schönborner recognized Gryphius's poetic talent by bestowing upon him the title of poeta laureatus and master of philosophy, as well as a patent of nobility (of which Gryphius, however, never made use).[6][7] Schönborner died less than a month later, on 23 December 1637.[8]

While staying with Schönborner, Gryphius completed his first collection of poems, Sonnete ("Sonnets"), which was published in 1637 by Wigand Funck in Lissa (today Leszno, Poland), and is also known as the Lissaer Sonettbuch, after the town.[9] The collection of 31 sonnets includes some of his best known poems, such as "Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas", later titled "Es ist alles eitel" (All is vanity), about the effects of war and the transitoriness of human life; "Menschliches Elende" (Human misery); and "Trawrklage des verwüsteten Deutschlandes" (Lament of devastated Germany).[9]

In 1632, he had witnessed the pillaging and burning of the Silesian town of Freystadt by Swedish troops, and immortalized the event in his poem Fewrige Freystadt. Also in 1637 he went to continue his studies at Leiden, where he remained for six years, both hearing and delivering lectures. Here he fell under the influence of the great Dutch dramatists, Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft and Joost van den Vondel, who largely determined the character of his later dramatic works.[3]

In 1635 with the Prager Frieden (Peace of Prague), the Habsburgs took control over in Silesia again and persecuted Protestants and closed their churches. In 1638 Paul Gryphius, the brother of Andreas, received a position as Superindendant at Crossen an der Oder (Krosno Odrzańskie) in Brandenburg from the Elector Georg Wilhelm of Brandenburg. Paul was for several years banned from Silesia for of being a Protestant, and Andreas dedicated and sent him several poems for the start of his new position.

Travel and dramatic work

After travelling in France, Italy and South Germany, Gryphius settled in 1647 at Fraustadt, where he began his dramatic work, and in 1650 was appointed syndic of Glogau, a post he held until his death. A short time previously he had been admitted under the title of The Immortal into the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft ("Fruitbearing Society"), a literary society, founded in 1617 by Ludwig, prince of Anhalt-Köthen on the model of the Italian academies.[3]

Gryphius grew up during the Thirty Years' War and witnessed the destruction of large parts of Germany, which had lasting effects for centuries. Not yet an adult himself, he saw the child of a benefactor (Crüger) die, and prepared another (Schönborner) for his approaching death. It is therefore not surprising that some morbid disposition, and his melancholy temperament, fostered by the misfortunes of his childhood is largely reflected in his lyrics, of which the most famous are the Kirchhofsgedanken ("Cemetery thoughts", 1656). His best works are his comedies, one of which, Absurda Comica, oder Herr Peter Squentz (1663), is evidently based on the comic episode of Pyramus and Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Die geliebte Dornrose (1660), written in a Silesian dialect, contains many touches of natural simplicity and grace, and ranks high among the comparatively small number of German dramas of the 17th century. Horribilicribrifax (1663), founded on the Miles Gloriosus of Plautus, is a rather labored attack on pedantry. Besides these three comedies, Gryphius wrote five tragedies. In all of them the tendency is to become wild and bombastic, but he had the merit of at least attempting to work out artistically conceived plans, and there are occasional flashes both of passion and of imagination. His models seem to have been Seneca and Vondel. In Carolus Stuardus (1657) he dramatised events of his own day, namely the death of King Charles I of England; his other tragedies are Leo Armenius (1650); Catharina von Georgien (1657), Cardenio und Celinde (1657) and Papinianus (1659). No German dramatic writer before him had risen to so high a level, nor had he worthy successors until about the middle of the 18th century.[3]

Other honours

Asteroid 496 Gryphia is named in his honour.


Gryphius, Andreas – Lyrische Gedichte, 1880 – BEIC 2833897
Lyrische Gedichte (1880)
  • Auserlesene Gedichte von Andreas Gryphius. Herausgegeben von Wilhelm Muller. Leipzig: F. M. Brockhaus. 1822.
  • Lyrische Gedichte. Leipzig: F. M. Brockhaus. 1880.



  1. ^ Spahr, Blake Lee (1996). "Andreas Gryphius (2 October 1616 – 16 July 1664)." In James N. Hardin (Ed.), German Baroque Writers, 1580-1660. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 164. Detroit, Mich.: Gale. pp. 131-144; here: p. 134. Retrieved via Dictionary of Literary Biography Complete Online, 2017-05-28.
  2. ^ Monath, Wolfgang (1966). "Gryphius, Andreas" (in German), in: Neue Deutsche Biographie. Vol. 7. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot. p. 242-246; here: p. 242. Online version retrieved 2017-05-28. The entry begins with information about Gryphius's family in abbreviated form: "V[ater] Paul (1560–1621) ... (E[nkel] d[es] Pastors Peter in Heringen, der seinen Namen Greif latinisierte)" [English translation: "father Paul (1560–1621) ... (grandson of Pastor Peter in Heringen, who Latinized his name, which was 'Greif')"].
  3. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gryphius, Andreas" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 642–643.
  4. ^ Bach, Oliver (2014). Zwischen Heilsgeschichte und säkularer Jurisprudenz: Politische Theologie in den Trauerspielen des Andreas Gryphius (in German). Berlin: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-035916-9. p. 148.
  5. ^ Monath (1966), p. 242.
  6. ^ a b Palm, Hermann (1879). "Gryphius, Andreas" (in German), in: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Vol. 10. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot. p. 73-82; here: pp. 74-75. Online version retrieved 2017-05-28.
  7. ^ Monath (1966), pp. 242-243.
  8. ^ Palm (1879), p. 75.
  9. ^ a b Spahr (1996), pp. 131, 135-136.


External links

1616 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

1656 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1656.

1664 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry and literature (for instance, Irish or France).

Andreas Gryphius Prize

The Andreas-Gryphius Prize is a prestigious literary prize in Germany.

Bourgeois tragedy

Bourgeois tragedy (German: Bürgerliches Trauerspiel) is a form of tragedy that developed in 18th-century Europe. It is a fruit of the enlightenment and the emergence of the bourgeois class and its ideals. It is characterized by the fact that its protagonists are ordinary citizens.

Christian Hoffmann von Hoffmannswaldau

Christian Hoffmann von Hoffmannswaldau (baptised December 25, 1616 – April 4, 1679) was a German poet of the Baroque era.

He was born and died in Breslau (Wrocław) in Silesia. During his education in Danzig (Gdańsk) and Leiden, he befriended Martin Opitz and Andreas Gryphius, both leading figures in 17th-century German poetry. In his later years, Hofmannswaldau involved himself in the city politics of Breslau, rising to the position of Bürgermeister.

During his lifetime, Hofmannswaldau's poems circulated mostly in manuscript. It was the posthumous publication of Deutsche Übersetzungen und Gedichte in 1679 that assured his reputation as the most influential poet of his era, followed by Benjamin Neukirch's even more extensive collection, Herrn von Hoffmannswaldau und anderer Deutschen auserlesener und bißher ungedruckter Gedichte, the first volume of which appeared in 1695. Hofmannswaldau's style of poetry came to be known as Galant and is marked by extravagant metaphors, skillful use of rhetoric and unashamed eroticism. It shows the influence of the Italian poet Giambattista Marino. Hofmannswaldau's verse enjoyed great popularity until it was attacked for bad taste by Johann Christoph Gottsched in the mid-18th century.

Gerhard Dünnhaupt

Gerhard Dünnhaupt, FRSC (born August 15, 1927 in Bernburg (Saale)) is a German bibliographer, literary historian, emeritus professor of the University of Michigan, an honorary life member of the Modern Language Association of America, and a Life Member of the Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada. In September 1983, he chaired the international "Martin Luther Quincentennial Conference" in Ann Arbor, MI. He is the author of the only annotated bibliography of German Baroque literature.

Gerlind Reinshagen

Gerlind Reinshagen (born 4 May 1926) is a German writer.The daughter of Ekkehard and Friedel Technau, she was born in Königsberg and studied pharmacy and art. She wrote children's books, novels, poetry and radio plays before writing her first play for the theatre Doppelkopf in 1967. Her plays Himmel und Erde (Heaven and Earth) (1974) and Sonntagskinder (Sunday's children) (1976) were also produced as films. Most of her plays were directed by the influential director Claus Peymann.She received a Schiller Memorial Prize in 1974, the Mülheimer Dramatikerpreis in 1977, the Andreas Gryphius Prize in 1982, the Roswitha Prize in 1988, the Ludwig Mülheims Preis in 1993 and the Niedersächsischer Staatspreis in 1999.


Gryphius (Latin for griffin) may be

Andreas Gryphius (1616–1664), German lyric poet and dramatist

Christian Gryphius, son of Andreas

Sebastian Gryphius/Sébastien Gryphe (1492–1556), German printer in France

Hans-Jürgen Heise

Hans-Jürgen Heise (6 July 1930 - 13 November 2013) was a German author and poet.

Johannes Edfelt

Bo Johannes Edfelt (December 21, 1904 – August 27, 1997), was a Swedish writer, poet, translator and literary critic.

A native of Tibro, Edfelt was elected to be a member of the Swedish Academy in 1969, occupying seat No. 17. He succeeded Erik Lindegren and, following his death, was succeeded by Horace Engdahl.

Amongst other writings, Edfelt translated works by Nelly Sachs, Georg Trakl, Novalis, Andreas Gryphius, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.

Johannes Plavius

Johannes Plavius (born c. 1600) was a German poet that most likely was born in Central German Thuringia, in Neuhausen (as he calls himself "M. Johannes Plavius Nehusâ Thüringus" in some works) or Plauen (Latinized to Plavia), from which his surname was derived.

At the end of 1624, he was part of a Dichterkreis (circle of poets [1]) in Danzig (Gdańsk) in Poland and called himself Magister (Master of Arts) for the first time in 1626. Danzig at the time had no university, so Plavius must have obtained his degree somewhere else, most likely Frankfurt/Oder since a Johannes Plavius Tyrigotanus ("Johannes Plavius Thuringian") is listed in the registers of the winter semester of 1621.

The pastor and poet Michael Albinus in Danzig (Gdańsk), who was born in nearby Pröbbenauin in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

, later wrote that Plavius was active as a private teacher, providing basic instruction in the Latin language. He may have operated one of the small, semi-official Latin schools in Danzig; one assumes that he had received the necessary educational license, because he had written his Praecepta logicalia in 1628. He was certainly close to scholars and students in the city, and he served as an influence to Andreas Gryphius. Plavius maintained relationshops with other poets, such as Martin Opitz, Johann George Moeresius, and Peter Crüger. Plavius mentions Crüger in the opening letter to his Institutio Poetica. Crüger dedicated an extremely laudatory poem to Plavius, which appears in the preface to the Praecepta logicalia.

Plavius dedicated several poems to Susanne Nuber, the daughter of a Danzig minister. Moeresius was her brother-in-law, and Plavius dedicates some of his poems to him. These contacts were successful as Plavius may have wed Nuber by 1630.

Plavius dedicated his Lehrsonnete [2] to the councilmen of Danzig: Denen ehrenvesten und vorachtbarn herren schöpffen-herren in der rechten Stat Dantzig, Hn Arnold Dilbert, Hn. Johann Roggauen, Hn. Valentin Rögelern, Hn. Michael Bachmann. [3]

Plavius also maintained a relationship with a wealthy brewer from Danzig named Abraham Hoewelcke (1576–1649). Plavius would later mention Hoewelcke's son in the dedication to his Praecepta logicalia as Johannes Hoeffelius – better known as Johannes Hevelius, the astronomer.

The place and year of Plavius' death are unknown. The year of his death must have occurred after 1630.

Karin Struck

Karin Struck (14 May 1947, Groß Kiesow – 6 February 2006) was a German author. She won the "Rauriser Literature Prize" and the "Andreas Gryphius Prize." She had generally been seen as a writer of women's literature and to the Left. However, in 1991 and 1992 she expressed her opposition to abortion and regret at having had one. She has been described by one feminist source as "one of the most outspoken female writers who openly opposes abortion." In 1996 she converted to the Roman Catholic Church.

Katharina von Georgien

Katharina von Georgien is a drama written by baroque writer Andreas Gryphius. It was published in 1657.

Leonie Ossowski

Jolanthe von Brandenstein (15 August 1925 – 4 February 2019), known by her pen name Leonie Ossowski, was a German writer. She also wrote under the name Jo Tiedemann. She wrote novels, including the novel for young adults Die große Flatter which was filmed as an award-winning TV play, screenplays such as for Zwei Mütter, stories and non-fiction books. Notable awards include the Hermann Kesten Medal of the Pen Centre and the Adolf-Grimme-Preis.

List of German-language poets

This list contains the names of individuals (of any ethnicity or nationality) who wrote poetry in the German language. Most are identified as "German poets", but some are not German.

Marvin Schindler

Marvin Samuel Schindler (2 January 1932 – 11 June 2003) was an emeritus professor of German and Slavic Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Neue Deutsche Todeskunst

Neue Deutsche Todeskunst (NDT, translated as "New German Death Art") is a musical genre that developed in Germany in the late 1980s. It is credited with establishing the German language in the dark wave movement, although there were already such German bands as Xmal Deutschland, Geisterfahrer and Malaria!.

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