The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Auerbach, Berthold

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AUERBACH, ow'ėr-baH, Berthold, German novelist: b. Nordstetten, Würtemberg, 28 Feb. 1812; d. Cannes, France, 8 Feb. 1882. He began to write while a student in Heidelberg and under the pseudonym “Theobald Chauber” produced a ‘Biography of Frederick the Great’ (1834-36). He was the founder of the modern German “tendency novel,” in which fiction is used to influence public opinion on social, political and religious questions. Auerbach was an admirer of Spinoza, and the latter's philosophy is evident in his novels. A series of novels from the history of Judaism, under the collective title ‘The Ghetto,’ of which ‘Spinoza’ (1837) and ‘Poet and Merchant’ (1839) were printed in separate editions, was followed by a translation of Spinoza, with a critical biography (1841). ‘Black Forest Village Stories’ (1843), was received with universal favor, translated into nearly all European languages and established his fame. To this class of tales belong also ‘The Professor's Lady’ (1847); ‘Little Barefoot’ (1856); ‘Joseph in the Snow’ (1860); ‘Edelweiss’ (1861); ‘After Thirty Years’ (1876). His first effort in the field of the novel, ‘New Life’ (1851), met with little favor; but ‘On the Heights’ (1865) constituted the crowning success of his literary career. It was followed by ‘The Villa on the Rhine’ (1868); ‘Waldfried, a Family History’ (1874); and ‘The Head Forester’ (1879). His last years were embittered by the growth of anti-Semitism in Germany. His ‘On the Heights’ is still popular. His works appeared in 18 volumes in 1892-95. See Auf der Höhe. Consult Bettelheim, A., ‘B. Auerbach, der Mann, sein Werk’ (1907); Lasker, E., ‘Berthold Auerbach, ein Gedenkblatt’ (1882), and Zabel, ‘Berthold Auerbach’ (Berlin 1882).