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Gerhart Hauptmann
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Playwright
    (November 15, 1862-June 6, 1946)
    Born in Obersalzbrunn, Prussia (now Szczawno-Zdroj, Poland)
    Dramatist and novelist
    Wrote the plays ‘Before Sunrise’ (1889), ‘The Weavers’ (1892), ‘The Assumption of Hannele’ (1893), ‘Drayman Herschel’ (1898), ‘The Conflagration’ (1901), ‘The Rats’ (1911), ‘The Bow of Odysseus’ (1914), ‘Hamlet in Wittenberg’ (1935), and the Atreus tetralogy (1944): ‘Iphigenia in Delphi,’ ‘Iphigenia in Aulis,’ ‘Agamemnon's Death,’ and ‘Electra’
    Wrote the novels ‘The Fool in Christ, Emanuel Quint’ (1910), ‘Atlantis’ (1911), and ‘The Heretic of Soana’ (1918)
    Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1912)
    He was temporarily expelled from the Royal Art and Vocational School in Breslau for ‘poor behavior and insufficient diligence.’
    He was unsuccessful at being a sculptor before turning to literature.
    His first marriage broke up over his affair with a violinist, Margarete Marschalk (who became his second wife).
    In his early 40s, he conducted an affair with a 16 year old actress, Ida Orloff.
    He was a founding member of the eugenics organization the German Society for Racial Hygiene (1905).
    William L. Shirer noted, ‘He, like so many other eminent Germans, had made his peace with Hitler, and Goebbels, a shrewd man, had made much effective propaganda out of it.’
    He was one of the pioneers of naturalism in German literature.
    His play ‘Before Sunrise’ was considered scandalous in its day for its frank depictions of sexuality and alcoholism.
    During the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, his plays were often banned because of his socialist leanings.
    Encyclopedia Britannica described him as ‘politically naïve.’
    He survived the firebombing of Dresden.
    After World War II, the city he lived in was annexed by Poland; he died shortly after being informed that he would not be exempted from the decree ordering all Germans to leave the city.

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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