Christian Morgenstern Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

Christian Morgenstern was an active translator of Scandinavian literature. Among his translations are August Strindberg’s Inferno (1897) in 1898; a large number of plays and poems for the German edition of Henrik Ibsen’s work; and Knut Hamsun’s Aftenrøde (1898) in 1904 as Abendröte, and his Livets spil (1896) in 1910 as Spiel des Lebens. Morgenstern also translated the works of Frederick the Great. There are two editions of his letters, Ein Leben in Briefen (1952) and Alles um des Menschen willen (1962). Otherwise, Morgenstern is known chiefly for his poems.


(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

Christian Morgenstern began to write serious and humorous verse while still in school. By 1894, he was contributing to various magazines, and in the following years he began to travel extensively. In 1903, he became a reader for publisher Bruno Cassirer and edited Das Theater. The serious side of his nature was stimulated by the lectures of Rudolf Steiner, and in 1909, he became a member of the Anthroposophical Society. The German Schiller Society made him the recipient of an honorary stipend in 1912, and in November, 1913, he was honored at a Morgenstern festival in Stuttgart.


(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

Bauer, Michael. Christian Morgensterns Leben und Werk. Munich: R. Piper, 1941. The standard biography, illustrated. In German.

Forster, Leonard. Poetry of Significant Nonsense. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1962. A brief treatment of Morgenstern in the context of Dada and nonsense verse.

Hofacker, Erich P. Christian Morgenstern, 1978. Boston: Twayne. A good English-language introduction to Morgenstern’s life and works.

Knight, Max, trans. Introduction to The Daynight Lamp and Other Poems, by Christian Morgenstern. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973. The translator’s introduction to this slim collection casts light on Morgenstern’s poetics.

Mazur, Ronald. The Late Lyric Poetry of Christian Morgenstern, 1975. A rare treatment in English.