Hauptmann, Gerhart

(1862-1946)
   Playwright. Hauptmann studied painting and sculpture, but acting lessons in Berlin—along with marriage in 1885 to a wealthy young woman—convinced him to try playwriting. His first successful play was Vor Sonnenaufgang (Before Sunrise), which the Freie Bühne organization produced in 1889, though he had written several Naturalistic plays before then, among them Die Weber(The Weavers, about a weavers' uprising in his native Silesia) and the comedy Der Biberpelz (The Beaver Coat, a "thieves' comedy" set in a Berlin shantytown). Adolph L'Arronge premiered The Beaver Coat in 1883 at his Deutsches Theater, but it failed.
   In Munich, a student theater had staged one-night, invited-audi-ence-only productions of The Weavers, but few professional managers wanted to battle the police censors in an attempt to stage it. Hauptmann himself filed a complaint against the Berlin police and petitioned a court to lift the ban. Finally in 1893 a sympathetic judge overruled the police, but declared that it could appear only at the Deutsches Theater. He reasoned that theater's ticket prices were so high that the clientele were unlikely to riot afterward (H. H. Houben, Verbotene Literatur Vol. I [Dessau: Karl Rauch, 1925], 1:353). L'Arronge, however, declined to present it. With director Otto Brahm, Hauptmann renegotiated with the police over the summer of 1894 and regained permission to do The Weavers. When The Weavers did open at the Deutsches to a ticket-buying public on 25 September 1894, it was an enormous hit and ran for the rest of the season. Kaiser Wilhelm II publicly denounced the play, however, and forbade all officers of the imperial armed forces to attend any performances. He also arranged the dismissal of the judge who had overruled the Berlin police. Wilhelm then began a pattern of public utterances against modernist art after the Weavers debacle, realizing he could no longer rely on the Prussian judicial system to enforce his personal tastes in theatrical offerings. He twice (in 1896 and 1899) vetoed Hauptmann as winner of the prestigious Schiller Prize, after he had been selected by the awards committee whose members Wilhelm himself had appointed.
   By 1894, Hauptmann had completely mastered the art of creating convincing characters speaking effective dialogue (often in dialect form) within a Naturalistic setting. Brahm's direction of nearly all Hauptmann's plays after 1894 was crucial to the playwright's success. The director had an extraordinary ear for "authenticity" in dialogue, along with substantial editorial boldness, cutting relentlessly when required. Playwright and director shared a remarkable artistic relationship, along with similar leftist political convictions, and plays such as Fuhrmann Henschel (Teamster Henschel, 1896) and Rose Bernd (1903) provided further testimony to their beliefs. Their relationship ended in 1912 with Brahm's death, though a year earlier they had completed one of their best collaborations, Die Ratten (The Rats).
   Hauptmann also wrote several nonrealistic plays, the most successful of them being Und Pippa tanzt! (And Pippa Dances!, 1906). Its premiere production featured the waif-like Ida Orloff in the title role, joining several other performers who, under Brahm's direction, made names for themselves in the many distinctive roles Hauptmann created for them. Other nonrealistic plays were Hanneies Himmelfahrt (The Assumption of Hannele, 1893) and Die versunkene Glocke (The Sunken Bell, 1896).
   After 1912, the year he won the Nobel Prize for literature, Haupt-mann's work went into a precipitous decline, and he never recovered his former gifts. Hauptmann continued writing at his estate in Silesia until his death, completing 16 stage works. His plays found dubious favor with the Third Reich, when the Nazi government claimed him as a favored artist.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hauptmann, Gerhart — ▪ German writer in full  Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann  born Nov. 15, 1862, Bad Salzbrunn, Silesia, Prussia [Germany] died June 6, 1946, Agnetendorf, Ger. [now Jagniątków, Pol.]  German playwright, poet, and novelist who was a recipient of the… …   Universalium

  • Hauptmann, Gerhart — (1862 1946)    writer; among Wilhelmine Ger many s premier playwrights. Born in the Lower Silesian town of Obersalzbrunn, he did poorly in Gymnasium and seriously considered a career in farming. How ever, abandoning agriculture in 1880, he spent… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Hauptmann,Gerhart — Haupt·mann (houptʹmän , houpʹ ), Gerhart. 1862 1946. German writer. Known primarily for his naturalistic plays, such as The Weavers (1892), he also wrote novels and poetry. He won the 1912 Nobel Prize for literature. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hauptmann, Gerhart — ► (1862 1946) Literato alemán. Fue premio Nobel de Literatura en 1912. Obras: Antes que salga el sol (1899) y Los tejedores (1892), entre otras …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hauptmann, Gerhart (Johann Robert) — born Nov. 15, 1862, Bad Salzbrunn, Silesia, Prussia died June 6, 1946, Agnetendorf, Ger. German playwright and poet. He studied sculpture before turning to literature in his early 20s. His first play, the starkly realistic social drama Before… …   Universalium

  • Hauptmann, Gerhart (Johann Robert) — (15 nov. 1862, Bad Salzbrunn, Silesia, Prusia–6 jun. 1946, Agnetendorf, Alemania). Dramaturgo y poeta alemán. Estudió escultura antes de dedicarse a la literatura cuando ya tenía un poco más de 20 años de edad. Su primera obra, el severo drama… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hauptmann — Hauptmann, Gerhart …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gerhart Hauptmann — Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann (* 15. November 1862 in Ober Salzbrunn in Schlesien; † 6. Juni 1946 in Agnetendorf/Agnieszków in Schlesien) war ein deutscher Dramatiker und Schriftsteller. Er gilt als der bedeutendste deutsche Vertreter des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule — in Heilbronn Die Gerhart Hauptmann Schule ist eine Hauptschule mit Werkrealschule an der Karlstraße 104 in Heilbronn. Die Schule ist sowohl in der Schulsozialarbeit als auch in der Architektur bemerkenswert. Das Gebäude ist der erste sogenannte… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule (Heilbronn) — Gerhart Hauptmann Schule in Heilbronn Die Gerhart Hauptmann Schule ist eine Hauptschule mit Werkrealschule an der Karlstraße 104 in Heilbronn. Die Schule ist sowohl in der Schulsozialarbeit als auch in der Architektur bemerkenswert. Das Gebäude… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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