Wassermann, Jakob

(1873-1934)
   writer; Thomas Mann* called him "a world-star" of the novel. Born in Fürth to the Jewish owner of a small general store, he graduated from Realschule and served one year of a business apprenticeship. However, attracted since childhood to writing, he abandoned both his family and his heritage to be a "good German." Thereafter he struggled to account for his decision. Meanwhile, as an editor for Simplizissimus,he gained entry to influential literary circles in Berlin* and Munich. After marrying the daughter of a Viennese entrepreneur, he settled in Austria* and formed friendships with Arthur Schnitzler and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
   Wassermann's first novel, Die Juden von Zirndorf (Jews of Zirndorf), ap-peared in 1897. It was followed by copious work that culminated in a pathos-filled trilogy completed just before his death: Der Fall Maurizius (The Maurizius case, 1928), Etzel Andergast (1931), and Joseph Kerkhovens dritte Existenz (Jo-seph Kerkhoven s third existence, 1934; banned in Germany). Preoccupied with injustice and the darker side of human nature, he was quite popular during the Weimar era. His 1908 novel Caspar Hauser depicts an innocent youth perse-cuted by people unable to tolerate his beautiful character; the widely celebrated Gansemannchen (Gooseman, 1915) treats both the perpetual conflict of German and Jew* and a world verging on insanity. Both works engaged the sense of cultural crisis representative of turn-of-the-century Germany.
   Wassermann was incapable of escaping his ethnic heritage. Yearning to be a German, he distanced himself from Ostjuden,* condemned Zionism, and boasted of six hundred years of Franconian forebears. Yet he despised rootless Jews (he called them Kulturjuden), of which he was one, because they lacked solidarity with fellow Jews. He became increasingly pessimistic; his most interesting work is the 1921 autobiography Mein Weg als Deutscher und Jude (My Life as German and Jew), in which he eloquently assailed German hatred of Jews while clinging to his own birthright as German and Jew. But by accenting the pre-sumed existence of several "Jewish traits —cunning, instability, and materi-alism—Mein Weg reinforced stereotypes. Wassermann associated these characteristics with Jews involved in the revolutionary turmoil of 1918-1919— the "outsiders" who could not find comfort in middle-class German life.
   Although Wassermann is now largely forgotten, many Germans (both Jews and non-Jews) believed him Thomas Mann s equal in the 1920s. Tragically, he lived to see his books burned. Current neglect of his work is due to a cliche-ridden, introspective style that did not endure World War II.
   REFERENCES:Peter Gay, Freud, Jews, and Other Germans; Liptzin, Germany's Step-children; George Mosse, German Jews beyond Judaism; Wassermann, My Life.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • WASSERMANN, JAKOB — (1873–1933), German novelist and essayist. In his autobiography, Mein Weg als Deutscher und Jude (1921; My Life as German and as Jew, 1933), Wassermann reviews his life from his birth in Fuerth, an industrial center of Franconia and the seat of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Wassermann, Jakob — born March 10, 1873, Fürth, Bavaria died Jan. 1, 1934, Altaussee, Austria German novelist. After an unsettled youth he achieved success with such works as Die Juden von Zirndorf (1897), Caspar Hauser (1908), and Christian Wahnschaffe (1919). His… …   Universalium

  • Wassermann, Jakob — ► (1873 1934) Escritor alemán. Su obra destaca por la penetración psicológica y la intención moral. Entre sus novelas figuran El hombrecillo de los gansos (1915) y El caso Maurizius (1928). * * * (10 mar. 1873, Fürth, Baviera–1 ene. 1934,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jakob Wassermann — (* 10. März 1873 in Fürth; † 1. Januar 1934 in Altaussee) war ein deutsch jüdischer Schriftsteller. Er zählte zu den produktivsten und populärsten Erzählern seiner Zeit. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wassermann — Wassermann, August von Wassermann, Jakob …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Wassermann [2] — Wassermann, Jakob, Schriftsteller, geb. 10. März 1873 in Fürth, machte nach Absolvierung der Realschule notreiche Wanderjahre durch und lebt jetzt in Wien, dem Kreise Schnitzlers und Hofmannsthals nahestehend. Er schrieb die Romane: »Melusine«… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Jakob-Wassermann-Preis — Der Jakob Wassermann Literaturpreis ist ein Literaturpreis, der von der Geburtsstadt von Jakob Wassermann, der Stadt Fürth, in Erinnerung an Jakob Wassermann 1993 gestiftet wurde und seit 1996 verliehen wird. Er ist mit 10.000 Euro dotiert. Dem… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jakob — (as used in expressions) Johann Jakob Astor Böhme Jakob Creutzfeldt Jakob disease Mendelssohn Bartholdy Jakob Ludwig Felix Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer Obrecht Jakob Raskob John Jakob Wassermann Jakob Wolf Hugo Filipp Jakob * * * …   Universalium

  • Jakob — (as used in expressions) Johann Jakob Astor Böhme, Jakob Creutzfeldt Jakob, enfermedad de Mendelssohn (Bartholdy), (Jakob Ludwig) Felix Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer Raskob, John Jakob Wassermann, Jakob Wolf, Hugo (Filipp Jakob) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jakob Wassermann — Jakob Wassermann, né à Fürth (Allemagne) en 1873 et mort à Altaussee (Autriche) en 1934, est un écrivain allemand du XXe siècle. Ami de Rainer Maria Rilke et de Thomas Mann, souvent comparé à Balzac ou Dostoïevski, il fut victime, comme son œuvre …   Wikipédia en Français

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