Biography of Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann (1862-1946)

Dramatist, novelist, and German poet, born in Obersalzbrunn (now Szczawno Zdrój, Poland), on November 15, 1862, and died in Agnetendorf on June 6, 1946. Considered, along with the novelist Thomas Mann, the largest and most prolific German writer of the first half of the century, Hauptmann evolved from naturalism to symbolism, though, above artistic currents that had to live, was superimposed always her strong personality centered around the cosmic conception of the world, the primary form and the bond of man and of all human with real and metaphysical ties. He/She was the son of a hotelier and in his youth had different hobbies. He/She first studied at the school of Arts and crafts, then wanted to be a sculptor and studied in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) and Jena, and later studied natural sciences. He/She decided to devote himself to writing and, after experimenting with other genres, as in the narrative the gatekeepers of Theil (1888), chose the dramatic write. In 1889 rose to prominence with the premiere of his first play, before the dawn (or before dawn), whose representation was a theatrical scandal comparable only to the tumults of the premiere of Hernani, Victor Hugo, or the Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner. This work, which meant the real accession of Hauptmann to naturalism, is a family of Silesian peasants who have become rich overnight the discovery of coal on their land, which leads to their moral disintegration. In it he/she applied his theories about the influence of the environment and the determinism of hereditary. In it greatly influenced the realistic works of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.

In 1892 he/she wrote the weavers from Silesia, part that Hauptmann between revolutionary writers and resulting in the emergence of social drama in his country. In this drama of social protest, introduces a new literary approach: to present the conflict protagonist of the work made to the class of peasants and not to an individual: the mass of Silesia weavers who rebelled in 1844. Hauptmann naturalistic stage production was premiered by Otto Brahm, with whom he/she collaborated in the Freie Bühne, famous German theatre company. This series of naturalistic dramas lasted until the first world war, although since 1891, with solitary beings, a fusion of naturalistic and mistico-simbolistas tones will appear in their parts. Other tragedies, comedies and Symbolist works are: the coat of castor (1893), a comedy that satirized the Prussian officers of the imperial Germany; Hanneles ascension to Heaven (1893), in which he/she combines naturalistic elements with a symbolic versification; and Florian Geyer (1895). With the submerged Bell (1896), perhaps his most famous work, leaves completely naturalism to immerse yourself in a magical world of romantic stories, taking the themes for its lyrical dramas of ancient and medieval legends. This evolution continues in Elga (1896), and in works such as the Coachman Henschel (1898) and Rose Berndt (1903). In the latter it is the issue of individuals unable to overcome their own innate deficiencies. Other works in which continues its evolution are: and Pippa dances! (1906); Griselidas (1909); The bow of Odysseus; The rats (1911); Ballad of winter (1917); The sons of Atreus (tetralogy comprised Iphigenia at Delphi, Iphigénie en Aulide, the death of Agamemnon, Electra, 1941-1944), which deals with the subject of fate and free will; Darkness (1943); and Herbert Engelmann (1950). He/She is also author of works Mr Cramptor, the flight of Gabriel Schilling, Minna von Barnhelm, the broken jug, black mask and prodigious ladies island. He/She also wrote a novel, the heretic of Soana (1918), and some epic poems. In 1912 he/she won the Nobel Prize for literature.


ACOSTA, Luis A. (ed.): German literature through their texts. Madrid: Cátedra, 1997.

NICOLL, a., history of the theatre world, Madrid, Aguilar, 1964.