The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Schaffner, Jakob

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SCHAFFNER, Jakob, German novelist: b. Basle, Switzerland, 15 Nov. 1875. He carried on his university studies in his native city, and there he wrote most of his works until he changed the scene of his studies to Charlottenburg, near Berlin, in 1912. His best novels are ‘Irrfahrten’ (Berlin 1905; title later changed to ‘Irrfahrten des Jonathan Bregger’ 1912), and ‘Die Erlhöferin’ (Berlin 1908, 15,000 sold in two years). His early poverty is reflected in most of his works, ‘Irrfahrten’ (“Wanderings”), for instance, has convincing pictures from the life of working people in their daily toil, while ‘Konrad Pilater’ is a story of a rather whimsical journeyman shoemaker (embodying scenes of Schaffner's boyhood as a shoemaker). Later novels are ‘Konrad Pilater’ (Berlin 1910); ‘Der Bote Gottes’ (1911). and ‘Die goldene Fratze’ (Berlin 1912). A translation of ‘The Iron Idol’ appears in ‘German Classics’ (Vol. XIX, New York 1914).