The New International Encyclopædia/Gutzkow, Karl

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The New International Encyclopædia
Gutzkow, Karl
Edition of 1905. See also Karl Gutzkow on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

GUTZKOW, gōōts'kṓ, Karl (1811-78). A distinguished German novelist and dramatist, born in Berlin. He studied theology and philosophy in Berlin and early contributed to literary journals. He subsequently studied law and political sciences at Heidelberg and Munich, but devoted himself exclusively to literature. His early fiction is satirically skeptical, as is implied in the title of his first significant novel, Wally, die Zweiflerin (1835), for which he was imprisoned and all his writings forbidden, with the usual result of making them and him widely popular. This work is usually taken as the starting-point of the school known as Young Germany, literary reformers heralding the democratic upheaval of 1848. After his release from prison Gutzkow went to Hamburg, and wrote four powerful dramas: Richard Savage (1839); Zopf und Schwert (1844); Das Urbild des Tartüffe (l847); Uriel Acosta (1848), and others of less merit. In 1847 he went to Dresden as director of the Court Theatre (till 1850), and wrote two remarkable novels, Die Ritter vom Geiste (9 vols., 1850-52), and Der Zauberer von Rom (9 vols.. 1859-61). From 1852 to 1862 he edited the family weekly Unterhaltungen am häuslichen Herd. In 1864 he had an attack of insanity, and though after his recovery he continued to write voluminously, he never regained his power. Gutzkow's strong controversial purpose obscured his artistic genius, but his work has profoundly influenced the popular thought of modern Germany, and gives one of the best pictures we have of the intellectual life and the social struggle of his generation and nation. Consult: Prölss, Das junge Deutschland (Stuttgart, 1892); Frenzel, Erinnerungen und Stromungen (Leipzig, 1890); Houben, Studien über die Dramen Gutzkows (Jena, 1899); Caselmann, Karl Gutzkows Stellung zu den religiös-ethischen Problemen seiner Zeit (Augsburg, 1900).