Karl Gutzkow

Karl Ferdinand Gutzkow (17 March 1811 in Berlin – 16 December 1878 in Sachsenhausen) was a German writer notable in the Young Germany movement of the mid-19th century.

Karl Gutzkow
Karl Gutzkow


Gutzkow was born of an extremely poor family, not proletarian, but of the lowest and most menial branch of state employees.[1] His father held a clerkship in the war office in Berlin,[2] and was pietistic and puritanical in his outlook and demands. Jacob Wittmer Hartmann speculates that Gutzkow's later agnosticism was probably a reaction against the excessive religiosity of his early surroundings.[1] After completing his basic studies, beginning in 1829 Gutzkow studied theology and philosophy at the University of Berlin,[2] where his teachers included Hegel and Schleiermacher.[3]

While still a student, he began his literary career by the publication in 1831 of a periodical entitled Forum der Journalliteratur. This brought him to the notice of Wolfgang Menzel, who invited him to Stuttgart to assist in the editorship of the Literaturblatt. At the same time he continued his university studies at Jena, Heidelberg and Munich. In 1832 he published Briefe eines Narren an eine Närrin anonymously in Hamburg; and in 1833 his novel Maha-Guru, Geschichte eines Gottes, a fantastic and satirical romance set in Tibet, was issued in Stuttgart by the well known Cotta publishing house. In 1835 he went to Frankfurt, where he founded the Deutsche Revue.[2] While Gutzkow started out as a collaborator of Wolfgang Menzel, he ended up his adversary.

Also in 1835, his novel Wally die Zweiflerin appeared. News of the 1830 July Revolution at Paris had moved him deeply, and the general atmosphere of radicalism pervading Europe at that time, and perhaps more specifically a reading of the Life of Jesus by David Friedrich Strauss, influenced Gutzkow in the composition of this first novel, which exalts the agnosticism and emancipated views of the heroine, Wally.[1] The work was directed specially against the institution of marriage and the belief in revelation.[2] The book incorporates many ideas that Gutzkow had recently absorbed from French writers, notably Henri de Saint-Simon, particularly the latter's theory of the emancipation of the flesh.[1]

Immediately after its publication, the writings of Gutzkow, together with those of Heinrich Heine, Heinrich Laube, Ludolf Wienbarg and Theodor Mundt, were banned by the German Federal Assembly in December 1835. This is usually taken as the starting point of the school known as Young Germany, literary reformers heralding the democratic upheaval of 1848.[4] Whatever interest Gutzkow's novel might have attracted from its own merits was enhanced by the action of the German federal diet, which condemned Gutzkow to three months' imprisonment, decreed the suppression of all he had written or might yet write, and prohibited him from exercising the functions of editor within the German confederation.[2]

During his term of imprisonment at Mannheim, Gutzkow wrote his treatise Zur Philosophie der Geschichte (1836). On obtaining his freedom he returned to Frankfurt, whence he went in 1837 to Hamburg. Here he inaugurated a new epoch of his literary activity by bringing out his tragedy Richard Savage (1839), which immediately made the round of all the German theatres. Of his numerous other plays, the majority by c. 1910 were neglected; but a few had obtained an established place in the repertory of the German theatre, especially the comedies Zopf und Schwert (1844), Das Urbild des Tartüffe (1847), Der Königsleutnant (1849) and the blank verse tragedy, Uriel Acosta (1847). In 1847, Gutzkow went to Dresden, where he succeeded Tieck as literary adviser to the court theatre. Meanwhile, he had not neglected the novel. Seraphine (1838) was followed by Blasedow und seine Söhne, a satire on the educational theories of the time. Between 1850 and 1852 appeared Die Ritter vom Geiste, which may be regarded as the starting point for the modern German social novel. Der Zauberer von Rom is a powerful study of Roman Catholic life in southern Germany.[2]

Still unknown photographer famous people serial number 1170 Karl Gutzkow about 1860 Bildseite
About 1860: “Carte de visite” of Gutzkow, No. "1170" probably made by an anonymous copyist

After the success of Die Ritter vom Geiste, Gutzkow founded a journal on the model of Dickens' Household Words, entitled Unterhaltungen am häuslichen Herd, which first appeared in 1852 and continued till 1862. In 1864 he had an epileptic fit, and his theatrical powers began to diminish. To this period belong the historical novels Hohenschwangau (1868) and Fritz Ellrodt (1872), Lebensbilder (1870–1872), consisting of autobiographic sketches, and Die Söhne Pestalozzis (1870), with a plot founded on the story of Kaspar Hauser. After another epileptic episode Gutzkow journeyed to Italy in 1873, taking up residence in the country near Heidelberg on his return before moving again to Frankfurt, where he died on 16 December 1878.[2]

With his play Uriel Acosta, and other works, Gutzkow stood up for the emancipation of the Jews; this play would later become the first classic play to be translated into Yiddish, and become a longtime standard of Yiddish theater. Gutzkow was never a revolutionary, and he became more conservative with age. He was one of the first Germans who tried to make a living by writing.[3] His strong controversial purpose obscured his artistic genius, but his work profoundly influenced the popular thought of c. 1910 Germany, and gives one of the best pictures we have of the intellectual life and the social struggle of his generation and nation.[4]


His comedy in 5 acts Zopf und Schwert (1844) received two adaptations; in 1926 Aafa-Film made the movie Sword and Shield, and Edmund Nick used it for his operetta Über alles siegt die Liebe (Love Conquers Everything, 1940), libretto by Bruno Hardt-Warden.


  1. ^ a b c d Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Gutzkow, Karl" . Encyclopedia Americana.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Gutzkow, Karl Ferdinand" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ a b Sagarra, Eda (2000). "Karl Gutzkow, 1811-1878." Encyclopedia of German Literature. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 391-392.
  4. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Gutzkow, Karl" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.

External links

1835 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1835.

Alexander Ostuzhev

Alexander Alexeyevich Pozharov (Russian: Александр Алексеевич Пожаров; April 28 [O.S. April 16] 1874 in Voronezh – March 1, 1953 in Moscow), better known by the stage name Alexander Ostuzhev (Russian: Александр Остужев), PAU, was a Russian and Soviet drama actor. Ostuzhev became the lead actor of the Maly Theatre company in Moscow in 1898.

He completely lost hearing by 1910 yet managed to stay on stage and play leading roles at Maly until 1952, including critically acclaimed productions of Othello (1935) and Uriel da Costa (1940).

Alexander von Ungern-Sternberg

Peter Alexander Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg (22 April 1806 – 24 August 1869) also known as Alexander von Sternberg, was a Baltic German novelist, poet and painter who worked under the pseudonym Sylvan.

He was born on 22 April 1806 in Gut Noistfer (Purdi), Governorate of Estonia, Russian Empire, into the Ungern-Sternberg German-Hungarian-Swedish-Russian noble family and he was the author of historical and biographical novels, novellas and ironic tales.

He lived until 1854 in Berlin where he worked among other things as an author for the Kreuzzeitung. Occasionally, he was also active as a draftsman. Ungern-Sternberg studied law, philosophy and literature at the University of Dorpat until 1830.

Following this he had a brief stay in St. Petersburg and then Dresden, where he made the acquaintance of Ludwig Tieck. In 1841 he settled in Berlin where he associated with Karl Gutzkow, Willibald Alexis, Fanny Lewald, Tieck and other artists of the Berlin salons. In the revolutionary year of 1848 Ungern-Sternberg was on the side of the conservatives and was an employee of the royalist Kreuzzeitung.

He later he went on behalf of the Russian Embassy in Berlin as rapporteur to the Frankfurt Parliament.

He married after 1850 in Dresden, to Karoline Luise von Waldow. The last years of his life he spent with his wife on his estate Gramzow in Mecklenburg Fürstenberger Werder owned by his brother the prussian chamberlain Franz von Waldow. He died aged 62 years old his wife preceding him hm by one year in August 1868 during a visit to his brother on his estate in Dannenwalde, Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.


A Burschenschaft (German: [ˈbʊʁʃn̩ʃaft]; abbreviated B! in German; plural: B!B!) is one of the traditional Studentenverbindungen (student fraternities) of Germany, Austria and Chile.

Burschenschaften were founded in the 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and nationalistic ideas.

They were significantly involved in the March Revolution and the unification of Germany.

After the formation of the German Empire in 1871, they faced a crisis, as their main political objective had been realized. So-called Reformburschenschaften were established, but these were dissolved by the National Socialist regime in 1935/6. In West Germany, the Burschenschaften were re-established in the 1950s, but they faced a renewed crisis in the 1960s and 1970s, as the mainstream political outlook of the German student movement of that period swerved to the radical left. Roughly 160 Burschenschaften exist today in Germany, Austria and Chile.

Danton's Death

Danton's Death (Dantons Tod) was the first play written by Georg Büchner, set during the French Revolution.

Die Gartenlaube

Die Gartenlaube – Illustriertes Familienblatt (German: [diː ˈɡaʁtn̩ˌlaʊbə], The Garden Arbor – Illustrated Family Journal) was the first successful mass-circulation German newspaper and a forerunner of all modern magazines. It was founded by publisher Ernst Keil and editor Ferdinand Stolle in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony in 1853. Their objective was to reach and enlighten the whole family, especially in the German middle classes, with a mixture of current events, essays on the natural sciences, biographical sketches, short stories, poetry, and full-page illustrations.At the height of its popularity Die Gartenlaube was widely read across the German speaking world. It could be found in all German states, the German colonies in Africa and among the significant German-speaking minorities of Latin America, such as Brazil. Austrian composer Johann Strauss II even published a waltz dedicated to its readers, with the English title "Gartenlaube Waltz", in 1895.During its 91-year history the journal changed owners several times. By the turn of the century it had become more focused on entertainment, and in the buildup to World War I it came under the control of right-wing nationalists. These changes corresponded to a decline in its readership. It was finally purchased outright by the Nazi publishing house Eher Verlag in 1938, who renamed it Die neue Gartenlaube, and ceased publication in 1944. Despite this, today Die Gartenlaube remains important for comprehensive historical analysis in many fields and is regarded as an essential source for the understanding of German cultural history.

Franziska von Reitzenstein

Franziska Freifrau von Reitzenstein, née von Nyss, alias "Franz von Nemmersdorf" (September 19, 1834 – June 4, 1896) was a German novelist.

German literature

German literature comprises those literary texts written in the German language. This includes literature written in Germany, Austria, the German parts of Switzerland and Belgium, Liechtenstein, South Tyrol in Italy and to a lesser extent works of the German diaspora. German literature of the modern period is mostly in Standard German, but there are some currents of literature influenced to a greater or lesser degree by dialects (e.g. Alemannic).

Medieval German literature is literature written in Germany, stretching from the Carolingian dynasty; various dates have been given for the end of the German literary Middle Ages, the Reformation (1517) being the last possible cut-off point. The Old High German period is reckoned to run until about the mid-11th century; the most famous works are the Hildebrandslied and a heroic epic known as the Heliand. Middle High German starts in the 12th century; the key works include The Ring (ca. 1410) and the poems of Oswald von Wolkenstein and Johannes von Tepl. The Baroque period (1600 to 1720) was one of the most fertile times in German literature. Modern literature in German begins with the authors of the Enlightenment (such as Herder). The Sensibility movement of the 1750s–1770s ended with Goethe's best-selling Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774). The Sturm und Drang and Weimar Classicism movements were led by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. German Romanticism was the dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Biedermeier refers to the literature, music, the visual arts and interior design in the period between the years 1815 (Vienna Congress), the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and 1848, the year of the European revolutions. Under the Nazi regime, some authors went into exile (Exilliteratur) and others submitted to censorship ("internal emigration", Innere Emigration). The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to German language authors thirteen times (as of 2009), or the third most often after English and French language authors (with 27 and 14 laureates, respectively), with winners including Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, and Günter Grass.

Gustav Höcker

Gustav Höcker (28 September 1832 - 11 October 1911) was a German author and translator of popular historical novels.

Heinrich Laube

Heinrich Laube (September 18, 1806 – August 1, 1884), German dramatist, novelist and theatre-director, was born at Sprottau in Prussian Silesia.

Johanna Goldschmidt

Johanna Goldschmidt (born Johanna Schwabe on 11 December 1807 in Bremerlehe, died 10 October 1884 in Hamburg) was a German social activist, writer and philanthropist. She played an important role in supporting Friedrich Fröbel and in spreading the concept of the "kindergarten".

Josef Jiří Kolár

Josef Jiří Kolár (9 February 1812 – 31 January 1896) was a Czech theatrical actor, director, translator, and writer.

List of German-language authors

This list contains the names of persons (of any ethnicity or nationality) who wrote fiction, essays, or plays in the German language. It includes both living and deceased writers.

Most of the medieval authors are alphabetized by their first name, not by their sobriquet.

Ludmilla Assing

Rosa Ludmilla Assing (22 February 1821 in Hamburg – 25 March 1880 in Florence) was a German writer, who also wrote under the pseudonyms Achim Lothar and Talora.

Ludolf Wienbarg

Christian Ludolf Wienbarg (25 December 1802 – 2 January 1872) was a German journalist and literary critic, one of the founders of the Young Germany movement during the Vormärz period.

Sword and Shield (film)

Sword and Shield (German: Zopf und Schwert - Eine tolle Prinzessin) is a 1926 German silent historical romance film directed by Victor Janson and Rudolf Dworsky and starring Mady Christians, William Dieterle and Albert Steinrück. It is in the Prussian films tradition.

The film's sets were designed by Ernst Stern.

Thomas Medwin

Thomas Medwin (1788–1869) was an early 19th-century English poet and translator. He was known chiefly for his biography of his cousin, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and for recollections of a close friend, Lord Byron.

Walter Boehlich

Walter Boehlich (16 September 1921 – 6 April 2006) was a German journalist, literary critic, literary editor and translator.

Young Germany

Young Germany (German: Junges Deutschland) was a group of German writers which existed from about 1830 to 1850. It was essentially a youth ideology (similar to those that had swept France, Ireland, United States of America and Italy). Its main proponents were Karl Gutzkow, Heinrich Laube, Theodor Mundt and Ludolf Wienbarg; Heinrich Heine, Ludwig Börne and Georg Büchner were also considered part of the movement. The wider group included Willibald Alexis, Adolf Glassbrenner, Gustav Kühne, Max Waldau and Georg Herwegh.

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