One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wilhelm Raabe (1831 - 1910)

Wilhelm Raabe (September 8, 1831 – November 15, 1910), German novelist, whose early works were published under the pseudonym of Jakob Corvinus, was born in Eschershausen (then in the Duchy of Brunswick, now in the Holzminden District).

He served an apprenticeship at a bookseller's in Magdeburg for four years (1849–1854); but tiring of the routine of business, studied philosophy at Berlin (1855–1857). While a student at that university he published his first work, Die Chronik der Sperlingsgasse (1857), which at once attained to great popularity.

Raabe next returned to Wolfenbüttel, and then lived (1862–1870) in Stuttgart, where he devoted himself entirely to authorship and wrote a number of novels and short stories; notably Unseres Herrgotts Kanzlei (1862); Der Hungerpastor (1864); Abu Telfan (1867) and Der Schüdderump (1870).

In 1870 Raabe removed to Brunswick and published the narratives Horacker (1876); Pfisters Mühle (1884) Das Odfeld (1889); Stopfkuchen (1891) – perhaps his masterpiece, Kloster Lugau (1894) and numerous other stories. Moving away from the idealized depictions of faith and family in his earlier, fairly typical Biedermeier period works to sometimes gritty social realism, his later works were much less popular than the earlier ones, which Raabe now came to regard as cheesy nonsense.

The distinguishing characteristic of Raabe's work is a genial humour reminiscent of Dickens; but often combined with realistic pessimism. His works, many of which double as fairy tales, have a recurrent theme of homecoming to the place of birth.

Raabe's 40th anniversary as a writer in 1894 was a matter of national celebration.
The critical edition of Raabe's complete works was published as Sämtliche Werke (Braunschweiger Ausgabe) Im Auftrage der Braunschweigischen Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft hrsg. von Karl Hoppe, beginning in 1965.

[From Wikipedia: ]
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