Thoma, Ludwig

   Playwright. Thoma was a Munich lawyer who—both as a playwright and as an editor of the weekly satirical magazine Simplicissimusdrew the ire of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Prussian establishment throughout his career. He wrote novels and short stories and was particularly gifted as a writer of comedies during the first decade of the 20th century. His most popular comedy was Moral (Morality), which was an enormous hit from the evening of its premiere; it ran more than 300 times at the venue where it opened, the Kleines Theater of Berlin, under Viktor Barnowsky's direction, and it subsequently was performed thousands of times throughout Germany and Austria. Thoma was well known in Berlin by 1908, with several satirical comedies already to his credit. His work as editor of Simplicissimus, however, was what made him well known among the public at large. Simplicissimus had debuted in 1896, aggressively pillorying the Wilhelmine establishment and Kaiser Wilhelm II in particular. Simplicissimus also attacked all manner of religious practice, cultural comfort, and what it considered excessive self-satisfaction. Thoma, along with his publisher Albert Langen and many of his contributors, were frequently targeted in lawsuits and prosecutions. In 1906 Thoma spent six weeks in prison for Majestätsbeleidigung, "insulting a person of majesty."

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

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