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Gerhart Hauptmann was a versatile and prolific author who wrote in every genre. In addition to his plays, on which his reputation is chiefly based, he wrote novels and stories, epic and lyric poetry, and essays.

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 155

Gerhart Hauptmann became immediately famous when his first play, Before Dawn, was produced in Berlin in 1889. In his later years, he became a national figure, as the celebrations organized for his later birthdays demonstrate. He was praised as the greatest German writer, reaching his peak during the Weimar Republic. His plays were not only popular with the intelligentsia but also had a wide appeal.

Outside Germany, Hauptmann is known primarily for his realistic plays. He was awarded the Grillparzer Prize three times, in 1896, 1899, and 1905, and he was nominated for the Schiller Prize (Kaiser Wilhelm II refused to grant it to him because of what he perceived to be the revolutionary nature of Hauptmann’s plays). Among the honorary doctorates that Hauptmann received were ones from Oxford in 1905, Leipzig in 1909, and Columbia University in 1932. In 1912, Hauptmann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, followed in 1932 by the Goethe Prize—a sign of his solid international reputation.


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Marshall, Alan. The German Naturalists and Gerhart Hauptmann: Reception and Influence. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang, 1982. A look at naturalism in Germany and the influence it had on Hauptmann’s works. Bibliography.

Maurer, Warren R. Gerhart Hauptmann. Boston: Twayne, 1982. A basic biography of Hauptmann that provides information on his life and analysis of his works. Bibliography and index.

Maurer, Warren R. Understanding Gerhart Hauptmann. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1992. This biographical study of Hauptmann describes the German dramatist’s life and provides insights into his works. Bibliography and index.

Mellen, Philip A. Gerhart Hauptmann: Religious Syncretism and Eastern Religions. New York: Peter Lang, 1984. An examination of the role of religion in the works of Hauptmann. Bibliography and index.

Osborne, John. Gerhart Hauptmann and the Naturalist Drama. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic, 1998. A look at the naturalist theater in Germany and Hauptmann’s place within it. Bibliography and index.

Skrine, Peter N. Hauptmann, Wedekind, and Schnitzler. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. A look at twentieth century German drama, with emphasis on Hauptmann, Frank Wedekind, and Arthur Schnitzler. Bibliography.

Sprengel, Peter, and Philip Mellen, eds. Hauptmann Research: New Directions. New York: Peter Lang, 1986. A study providing critical analysis of the literary works of Hauptmann. Bibliography.

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