Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 900 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
BERTHOLD AUERBACH (1812-1882), German novelist, was born on the 28th of February 1812 at Nordstetten in the Wiirttemberg Black Forest. His parents were Jews, and he was intended for the ministry; but after studying philosophy at Tubingen, Munich and Heidelberg, and becoming estranged from Jewish orthodoxy by the study of Spinoza, he devoted himself to literature. He made a fortunate beginning in a romance on the life of Spinoza (1837), so interesting in itself, and so close in its adherence to fact, that it may be read with equal advantage as a novel or as a biography. Dichter and Kaufmann followed in 1839, and a translation of Spinoza's works in 1841, when Auerbach turned to the class of fiction which has made him famous, the Schwarzwitlder Dorfgeschichten (1843), stories of peasant life in the Black Forest. In these, as well as in Barfussele (1856), Edelweiss (1861), and other novels of greater compass, he depicts the life of the south German peasant as " Jeremias Gotthelf " (Albrecht Bitzius) had painted the peasantry of Switzerland, but in a less realistic spirit. When this vein was exhausted Auerbach returned to his first phase as a philosophical novelist, producing Auf der Hohe (1865), Das Landhaus am Rhein (1869), and other romances of profound speculative tendencies, turning on plots invented by himself. With the exception of Auf der Hohe, these works did not enjoy much popularity, and suffer from lack of form and concentration. Auerbach's fame continues to rest upon his Dorfgeschichten, although the celebrity of even these has been impaired by the growing demand for a more uncompromising realism. Auerbach died at Cannes on the 8th of February 1882. The first collected edition of Auerbach's Schriften appeared in 22 vols. in 1863–1864; the best edition is in 18 vols. (1892–1895). Auerbach's Briefe an seinen Freund J. Auerbach (with a preface by F. Spielhagen) were published in 2 vols. (1884). See E. Zabel, B. Auerbach (1882); and E. Lasker, B. Auerbach, ein Gedenkblatt (1882).
End of Article: BERTHOLD AUERBACH (1812-1882)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.