Wilhelm Raabe

Wilhelm Raabe

Raabe, Wilhelm, 1831-1910, German novelist, whose pseudonym was Jakob Corvinus. At 23 he began to write novels and tales of village life; the charming idyll Die Chronik der Sperlingsgasse (1857) first brought him acclaim. Raabe's humor often serves to cover a more bitter irony. He later turned to the historical past and wrote such tales as the tragic "Des Reiches Krone" [the imperial crown] (1870). His novels include Der Hungerpastor (1864, tr. 1885) and Abu Telfan (1867; tr. Abu Telfan's Return from the Mountains of the Moon, 1881).

See studies by B. Fairley (1961), and I. S. Di Maio (1981).

Wilhelm Raabe (September 8, 1831November 15, 1910), German novelist, whose early works were published under the pseudonym of Jakob Corvinus, was born at Eschershausen (then in the Duchy of Brunswick, now in the Holzminden District).

He served apprenticeship at a bookseller's in Magdeburg for four years (1849-1854); but tiring of the routine of business, studied philosophy at Berlin (1855-1857). While a student at that university he published his first work, Die Chronik der Sperlingsgasse (1857), which at once attained to great popularity.

Raabe next returned to Wolfenbüttel, and then lived (1862-1870) at Stuttgart, where he devoted himself entirely to authorship and wrote a number of novels and short stories; notably Unseres Herrgotts Kanzlei (1862); Der Hungerpastor (1864); Abu Telfan (1867) and Der Schüdderump (1870).

In 1870 Raabe removed to Brunswick and published the narratives Horacker (1876); Das Odfeld (1889); Stopfkuchen (1891) — perhaps his masterpiece, Kloster Lugau (1894) and numerous other stories.

The distinguishing characteristic of Raabe's work is a genial humour reminiscent of Dickens; but often combined with realistic pessimism. His works, many of which double as fairy tales, have a recurrent theme of homecoming to the place of birth.

Raabe's 40th anniversary as a writer in 1894 was a matter of national celebration.

The critical edition of Raabe's complete works was published as Sämtliche Werke (Braunschweiger Ausgabe) Im Auftrage der Braunschweigischen Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft hrsg. von Karl Hoppe, beginning in 1965.

Wilhelm Raabe the painter

In addition to writing, Wihelm Raabe also had a less known talent for painting. Approximately 600 of his drawings exist, partially in private ownership of his descendants and with the Braunschweig Museum.

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