The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Lichtenstein
LICHTENSTEIN, one of the most popular of German historical novels (1826) and the masterpiece of Wilhelm Hauff, a Suabian novelist and poet who died full of promise at the age of 29, was a romantic and patriotic German's tribute to the work of Sir Walter Scott. No foreign author was more popular than Scott in the Germany of the early 19th century. His novels, translated in full, were so generally read that it was said that the soil of old Scotland was more familiar to Germans than their native land. Yet the hills of Scotland, Hauff said, were not of a richer green than the German Harz, the waves of the Tweed were no bluer than those of the Donau, Scotch men were no braver, Scotch women no lovelier than the old Suabians and Saxons. Lichtenstein, modeled after the Waverly novels, was a direct protest against the novel with a foreign historical background and was an attempt to recreate the romance of a bit of Suabian history (the reign of Ulrich of Württemberg in the 16th century) as Scott had done for the country of Ivanhoe and Waverly. But Hauff lacked the genius and scholarship of Scott, although he was a brilliant story-teller, full of the enthusiasm and the romance of youth, full of his own love-story which he permitted to add a glow to his pen-portraits, and with a rare sense of humor. And Lichtenstein, failing of historical value, has succeeded in making its own place as one of the picturesque love stories of German literature.