Gerhart Hauptmann


Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1912

Born: 15 November 1862, Bad Salzbrunn, Prussia (now Poland)

Died: 6 June 1946, Agnetendorf, Germany (now Jagniatków, Poland)

Residence at the time of the award: Germany

Prize motivation: “primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art”

Language: German

Prize share: 1/1


Gerhardt Hauptmann was born in present-day Szczawno-Zdrój, Poland. Hauptmann studied sculpture and philosophy in the 1880s before attempting a career as a sculptor in Rome. After further studies in Berlin, he decided to dedicate himself to writing. The stark performance of his drama Before Dawn in 1889 made Hauptmann well-known overnight. His later works were written partly in Germany and partly in Italy.


Gerhart Hauptmann gained fame as one of the founders of German Naturalism. In naturalism, observation and determinism are prominent attributes. He rose to fame with the play Before Dawn (1889), which created a scandal and at the same time was hailed by critics. Encouraged by the controversy, Hauptmann wrote in rapid succession a number of dramas on naturalistic themes. In 1910, Hauptmann published his first novel, The Fool in Christ, Emanuel Quint.

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