Erich kaestner

Erich Kästner . Writer German , was born in Dresden , on 23 February as as 1899 and died in Munich , on 29 July as as 1974 . In Germany , he is especially known for his satirical poetry and for his children’s books.


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  • 1 Biography
    • 1 Childhood and adolescence
    • 2 The university
    • 3 Take off as an intellectual
    • 4 Your political position
    • 5 His work after the war
  • 2 His death
  • 3 Awards and recognitions
  • 4 Main works
  • 5 Sources


Childhood and adolescence

Kästner was born in Dresden , Germany . He grew up on Königsbrücker Strasse, a street on the outskirts of the new part of Dresden. Nearby is the Erich Kästner Museum , located on the ground floor of the old house of his uncle Franz Augustin.

Emil, Kästner’s father, was a leather tanner. Her mother Ida worked as a maid and housewife, and also trained as a hairdresser to supplement her husband’s income. Kästner had a particularly close relationship with his mother; When he lived in Leipzig and Berlin, he wrote very affectionate postcards and letters daily. Also in his novels the figure of authoritarian mothers was common. Kästner wrote about his childhood in his autobiography published in 1957 , claiming that he never suffered from being an only child, had many friends, and never felt alone or excessively pampered.

In 1913 , Kästner entered a Dresden Teaching School, but left it in 1916 shortly before completing his degree. The situation in Germany was tense, and in 1914 , when he was 15 years old, the First World War had broken out . Later he would write about this event stating that “it ended my childhood”. Kästner was called up in 1917 and became part of an artillery detachment.heavy. The brutality of the training he had to face as a soldier impressed him strongly; this, and the war massacre in general, had a decisive influence on his anti-militarist views. In addition, the ruthless maneuvers of Sergeant Waurich, assigned to Kästner, caused him chronic heart problems. Kästner criticizes the character of the sergeant in his poem “Sergeant Waurich”. At the end of the war, Kästner returned to school and graduated from Abitur (Baccalaureate) with honors, earning him an honorary scholarship from the city of Dresden.


In the fall of 1919 , Kästner entered the University of Leipzig to study German History , Philosophy , Language and Literature , and Theater . His studies led him to Rostock and Berlin , and in 1925 he obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Frederick the Great.

Kästner paid for his studies by working as a journalist and theater critic for the prestigious newspaper Neue Leipziger Zeitung, although his increasingly critical articles and the “frivolous” publication of his erotic poem “Abendlied des Kammervirtuosen” (illustrated by Erich Ohser ) led to his dismissal in 1927 . The same year Kästner moved to Berlin. In fact, he continued to write for the Neue Leipziger Zeitung as a freelance correspondent, under the pseudonym “Berthold Bürger” (citizen Berthold). Kästner would later use some other pseudonyms, such as “Melchior Kurtz”, “Peter Flint” and “Robert Neuner”.

Take off as an intellectual

The years Kästner spent in Berlin from 1927 to the end of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 were his most productive years. In just a few years, Kästner became one of the most important intellectual figures in the German capital. He published poems, columns, and newspaper articles in many of Berlin’s leading newspapers. He was a regular contributor to newspapers such as the “Berliner Tageblatt” and the “Vossische Zeitung”, as well as the theater magazine “Die Weltbühne”.until 1933 , but the real number may be much higher, since most lost when the floor of Kästner in Berlin burned during a bombing raid of World War II in February of 1944 . In 1928 Kästner published his first book, Herz auf Taille, a collection of poems he wrote in Leipzig.. Kästner would publish three more compilations of poetry around 1933. His Gebrauchslyrik (“Lyric for Daily Use”) made him the leading figure in the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) movement that focused on a sober, distant, and objective style aimed at satirizing society. contemporary. Other important writers of that movement were Joseph Roth, Hermann Hesse, Carl Zuckmayer, Erich Maria Remarque, Thomas Mann and Heinrich Mann.

In the fall of 1928 Kästner published his best-known children’s book: Emil und die Detective ( Emilio y los Detectives ). The owner of the Weltbühnen-Verlag publishing house, Edith Jacobsen, was the one who suggested the detective story to the author. The book sold two million copies in Germany and has been translated into 59 languages. The most remarkable aspect of the novel in its time was that it was realistically set in the suburbs of Berlin , and not in some magical land.

Emilio’s books played an important role in popularizing the subgenre of child detectives, which would later be exploited by other writers such as Enid Blyton.

Kästner continued his success with Pünktchen und Anton 1931 and Das fliegende Klassenzimmer The Flying Classroom, 1933 . Walter Traer’s illustrations helped make the books as popular as they still are today.

The film version of Emilio and the detectives by Gerhard Lamprecht in 1931 was a great success, although Kästner was not very happy with the adaptation, which led him to work as a screenwriter in the Babelsberg film studios located just outside Potsdam.

His only outstanding adult novel is Fabian 1931 . Kästner wrote the novel in an almost cinematic style: quick shots and montages are fundamental stylistic elements. The novel is set in Berlin at the time, and in it Kästner lets the unemployed German literature expert Fabian relate the chaotic transition between two epochs and the crisis of the Weimar Republic.

Between 1927 and 1929 Kästner lived on Prager Strasse 6, Berlin-Wilmersdorf. From 1929 to 1944 he lived on Rocherstrasse 16, Berlin’s Charlottenburg district.

His political position

Kästner was a pacifist and wrote for children because he believed in the regenerative powers of youth. He opposed the regime Nazi would begin in Germany the 30 of January of 1933 , but in contrast to many of his colleagues critics with the dictatorship, he did not emigrate. He did travel to Meran , Switzerland shortly after the Nazis seized power, and met fellow exiles there, but returned to Berlin arguing that from there he could do better chronicles of the times.

Kästner probably also wanted to avoid abandoning his mother. In his epigram “Notwendige Antwort auf überflüssige Fragen” (“necessary answer to superfluous questions”) contained in Kurz und Bündig, Kästner explains his position: I am a German from Dresden, Saxony
My land does not let me go
I am like a tree that, grown in Germany,
when it has to be, in Germany it will dry up.

The Gestapo questioned Kästner on several occasions. Groups of fans burned his books as “contrary to the German spirit” during the 1933 Nazi book burning, Kästner was one of the few German authors to witness these events in person. He was banned from entering the new Nazi-controlled national guild of writers, the Reichsschrifttumskammer, because of what officials considered the “Bolshevik cultural attitude present in his writings before 1933. ”

The pressures increased until reaching a censorship order during the Third Reich. He published light apolitical novels such as Drei Männer im Schnee (Three Men in the Snow, 1934 ) in Switzerland. Kästner received an exemption in 1942 to publish a highly acclaimed play, Münchhausen under his former pseudonym Berthold Bürger.

The bombs destroyed Kästner’s Berlin house in 1944 . In early 1945 , he and others pretended to have a date to shoot at remote Mayrhofen in Tyrol to escape the Soviet assault on Berlin. Kästner remained in Mayrhofen until the end of the war. During this time he made several notes in a newspaper that he published as Notabene 45 in 1961 .

In a passage of this newspaper Kästner describes his shock at arriving at Dresden , his hometown, shortly after the bombing in February of 1945 and meet it turned into a heap of ruins, to such an extent that could not recognize any of the streets or places where he had spent his childhood and youth. His autobiographical work When I was Little begins with a lament for Dresden: I was born in the most beautiful city in the world.
But, little boy, even if your father was the richest man in the world, he couldn’t take you to see her, because he no longer exists. […]
In a thousand years its beauty was built, in one night it was horribly destroyed. The translations that were made of this book had the effect of informing children about the Dresden bombing in countries where this aspect of World War II was not addressed in the study plans.

His work after the war

After the end of World War II Kästner moved to Munich . There he worked as an editor in the cultural section of the Neue Zeitung newspaper and published a magazine called Pinguen aimed at children and adolescents. Kästner also continued to cultivate the genre of literary cabaret; He worked in different productions at Schaubude (between 1945 – 1948 ) and Die kleine Freiheit (after 1951 ). Simultaneously, he worked for different radio stations. During this time, Kästner wrote a number of poems, talks, and essays on Nazism , World War II, and the stark realities of shattered post-war Germany. These works include: Marschlied 1945, Deutsches Ringelspiel and the children’s book Die Konferenz der Tiere (The Conference of Animals), the latter of which was brought to animated films by Curt Linda. Kästner also returned to collaborate with Edmund Nick , whom he had met in Leipzig in 1929 . Nick, who was then director of the Radio Silesia music section, had written the music for the hit radio play Leben in dieser Zeit. In this new stage Nick would put music to more than 60 Kästner poems.

The optimism Kästner displayed in the immediate post-war years gave way to resignation as West German citizens attempted to normalize their lives after the economic reforms of the early 1950s and the subsequent boom called the “Economic Miracle”. When Chancellor Konrad Adenauer called on his realpolitik’s allies to remilitarize West Germany so that it could take part in defending the democracies of Western Europe and NATO against the countries of the Warsaw Pact (including East Germany), Kästner reacted by maintaining his pacifist stance, participating in the demonstrations against the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the RFA . Years later he would take a side against the Vietnam War .

Kästner began publishing less and less, in part due to increasing alcoholism. He was not integrated into any of the literary movements that emerged in the post-war RFA, and in the 1950s and 1960s his fame only lasted as an author of children’s books. Until the 1970s his work as a serious writer would not be rediscovered. His novel Fabian, in addition to his other children’s books, would be taken to the cinema in 1980 .

Despite everything, Kästner was very successful. Her children’s books always sold well and were translated into many languages. Several of his novels and children’s books were taken to the cinema.

Although Kästner never married, she dedicated her last two children’s books Der kleine Mann and Der kleine Mann und die kleine Miss to her son Thomas Kästner, born in 1957 .

Kästner recited his own works frequently. Already in the 1920s he recorded his collection of social critic poems. In films based on his books, he often gave the narrator a voice, for example in the first audio-production of “Pünktchen und Anton”. Other recordings made for the Deutsche Grammophon include poems, epigrams, and his version of the traditional tale Till Eulenspiegel. Kästner was also a narrator in theaters such as the Cuvelliés-Theater in Munich , and for the radio , as in Als ich ein kleiner Junge war (When I was little).

His death

Kästner died at the Neuperlach hospital in Munich on July 29 , 1974 . He was buried in the St. George cemetery in the Bogenhausen district of Munich.

Awards and honours

  • In 1951 hereceived the Filmband in Gold for the best adaptation of the film Das doppelte Lottchen (A story of twins, based on his book).
  • In 1956the Munich City Literature Prize .
  • In 1957the Georg Büchner Prize .
  • In 1959the German government honored Kästner with its honorary award, the Bundesverdienstkreuz .
  • In 1960Kästner would receive the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Prize .
  • In 1968the Literature Prize of the German Freemasonry Order .

Main works

  • Herz auf Taille ( 1928)
  • Emil und die Detektive ( 1929)
  • Lärm im Spiegel ( 1929)
  • Ein Mann gibt Auskunft ( 1930)
  • Pünktchen und Anton ( 1931)
  • Der 35. Mai ( 1931)
  • Die Geschichte eines Moralisten ( 1932 )
  • Gesang zwischen den Stühlen ( 1932)
  • Emil und die Drei Zwillinge ( 1933)
  • Das fliegende Klassenzimmer ( 1933)
  • Drei Männer im Schnee ( 1934)
  • Die verschwundene Miniatur ( 1935)
  • Georg und die Zwischenfälle, also known as Der kleine Grenzverkehr ( 1938)
  • Das doppelte Lottchen ( 1949)
  • Die Konferenz der Tiere ( 1949)
  • Die dreizehn Monate ( 1955)
  • Als Ich Ein Kleiner Junge War ( 1957)
  • Der kleine Mann ( 1963)
  • Der Kleine Mann und die Kleine Miss ( 1967)


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