1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Spielhagen, Friedrich von
SPIELHAGEN, FRIEDRICH VON (1829- ), German novelist, was born at Magdeburg on the 24th of February 1829. He was brought up at Stralsund, where his father was in 1835 appointed government architect; he attended the gymnasium there, and studied law, and subsequently literature and philosophy, at the universities of Berlin, Bonn and Greifswald. On leaving the university he became a master in a gymnasium at Leipzig, but upon his father's death in 1854 devoted himself entirely to writing. After publishing Klara Vere (1857) and Auf der Düne (1858), he obtained a striking success with Problematische Naturen (1860-1861), one of the best novels of its time; it was followed by Die von Hohenstein (1863), In Reih' und Glied (1866), Hammer und Amboss (1869), Deutsche Pioniere (1870), Allzeit voran! (1872), Sturmflut (1876), Plattland (1878), Quisisana (1880) , Angela (1881) , Uhlenhans (1884), Ein neuer Pharao (1889), Faustulus (1897) and Freigeboren (1900). Spielhagen's best work was produced between the years 1860 and 1876; he wrote nothing after Sturmflut which can be compared with that powerful romance. His novels combine two elements of especial power, the masculine assertion of liberty which renders him the favourite of the intelligent and progressive citizen, and the ruthless war he wages against the self-indulgence of the age. His love of the sea, derived from an early residence at Stralsund, introduces an element of poetry into his novels which is somewhat rare in German fiction. Spielhagen's dramatic productions, Hans und Grete (1868) and Liebe für Liebe (1875), and others, cannot compare with his novels. From 1878-1884 he was editor of Westermann's Monatshefte.
Spielhagen's Sämtliche Werke were published in 1871 in sixteen volumes, in 1878 in fourteen volumes; his Sämtliche Romane in 1898 (22 vols.), and these were followed by a new series in 1902. See his autobiography, Finder und Erfinder (2 vols., 1890); also G. Karpeles, F. Spielhagen (1889), and H. and J. Hart, Kritische Waffengange (1886).