On the occasion of the 200th birthday of Gustav Freytag on 13 July 2016.
During his lifetime, Gustav Freytag (1816 –1895) was the most widely read author in the German Empire. His novel »Soll und Haben« (Debit and Credit) and his cultural histories in several volumes reached millions of readers, in multiple new editions. Under his editorship, the newspaper »Die Grenzboten« became the leading voice of the German National Liberals.
Bernt Ture von zur Mühlen carries out an extensive critical assessment of Freytag’s traditional image. Due to the negative picture he painted of Jews in »Soll und Haben«, the popular author and publicist gained the reputation of being an anti-Semite; he also made vociferous anti-Polish comments. On the other hand, however, he created differentiated characters, and in essays and flyers he protested against all forms of anti-Semitism.
This first comprehensive biography traces the life of the native Silesian and Prussian patriot: private lecturer in Breslau, early success as a dramatist, purchase of the »Grenzboten«, sensational rise to become the leading German novelist, failed career as a member of the Reichstag, advisor to the Prussian Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm. The 200th birthday of Gustav Freytag presents an opportunity to take a closer look at the life and work of this controversial man.
Bernt Ture von zur Mühlen, born in 1939 in Gdansk, studied literary and theatre studies, political science, history and ethnology. He was a high school teacher and lecturer in the history of literature and publishing at the German Booksellers’ School in Frankfurt am Main. Publications include: Hoffmann von Fallersleben. Biographie (2010).