Jahnn, Hans Henny

Jahnn, Hans Henny

Jahnn, Hans Henny, 1894-1959, German novelist, dramatist, music publisher, and organ builder. Jahnn's early dramas, including Pastor Ephraim Magnus (1919) and Medea (1926), were laden with sexual-pathological images. Among his later novels, of greater substance, are Thomas Chatterhorn (1955) and a trilogy, Fluss ohne Ufer [shoreless river] (1949-50; tr. Vol. I, The Ship, 1961), which explores the dangers of delving into the secrets of creation. Jahnn also published 17th-century organ music and gained an international reputation as a builder and renovator of organs.
Hans Henny Jahnn (17 December 1894, Stellingen29 November 1959, Hamburg) was a German playwright, novelist and organ-builder.

As a playwright, he wrote: Pastor Ephraim Magnus (1917), which The Cambridge Guide to Theatre describes as a nihilistic, expressionist play "stuffed with perversities and sado-masochistic motifs"; Coronation of Richard III (1922; "equally lurid"); and a version of Medea (1926). Later works include the novel The Shoreless River (Fluss ohne Ufer, trilogy) and the drama Thomas Chatterton (1955; staged by Gustaf Gründgens in 1956). Erwin Piscator staged Jahnn's The Dusty Rainbow (Der staubige Regenbogen) in 1961.

Jahnns was also a music publisher, focusing on 17th-century organ music. He was a contemporary of organ-builder Rudolf von Beckerath.

He met Gottlieb Friedrich Harms at school (St. Pauli's Realschule) which he united in a "mystical wedding" in 1913, and they lived together between 1914 and 1918. They met Ellinor Philips in 1918. In 1919, Jahnn founded the community of Ugrino with a sculptor, Franz Buse. In 1926, Jahnn married Ellinor, and Harms married Sybille Philips, Ellinor's sister, in 1928.


Works cited

  • Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. "Jahnn, Hans Henny." In The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521434378. p.553.

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