Else Lasker-Schüler shortly after her first marriage
|Born||February 11, 1869|
Elberfeld, North German Confederation (today Wuppertal, Germany)
|Died||January 22, 1945 75) (aged|
Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine
Else Lasker-Schüler (February 11, 1869 – January 22, 1945) was a German poet and playwright famous for her bohemian lifestyle in Berlin. She was one of the few women affiliated with the Expressionist movement. Lasker-Schüler fled Nazi Germany and lived out the rest of her life in Jerusalem.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perform their art to an audience.
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may or may not be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.
Schüler was born in Elberfeld, now a district of Wuppertal. Her mother, Jeannette Schüler (née Kissing) was a central figure in her poetry, and the main character of her play Die Wupper was inspired by her father, Aaron Schüler, a Jewish banker.
Elberfeld is a municipal subdivision of the German city of Wuppertal; it was an independent town until 1929.
Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in and around the Wupper valley, east of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land. Wuppertal is known for its steep slopes, its woods and parks, and its suspension railway, the Wuppertal Schwebebahn. It is the greenest city of Germany, with two-thirds green space of the total municipal area. From any part of the city, it is only a ten-minute walk to one of the public parks or woodland paths.
In 1894, Else married the physician and occasional chess player Jonathan Berthold Lasker (the older brother of Emanuel Lasker, a World Chess Champion) and moved with him to Berlin, where she trained as an artist. On August 24, 1899 her son Paul was born and her first poems were published. She published her first full volume of poetry, Styx, three years later, in 1902. On April 11, 1903, she and Berthold Lasker divorced and on November 30, she married Georg Lewin. His pseudonym, Herwarth Walden, was her invention.
A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients, and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines, such as anatomy and physiology, underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.
Berthold Lasker (also Berthold, per birth registry Jonathan Berthold Barnett) was a German physician, writer and chess master.
Emanuel Lasker was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years, from 1894 to 1921, the longest reign of any officially recognised World Chess Champion in history. In his prime, Lasker was one of the most dominant champions, and he is still generally regarded as one of the strongest players ever.
Lasker-Schüler's first prose work, Das Peter-Hille-Buch, was published in 1906, after the death of Hille, one of her closest friends. In 1907, she published the prose collection Die Nächte der Tino von Bagdad, followed by the play "Die Wupper" in 1909, which was not performed until later. A volume of poetry called Meine Wunder, published in 1911, established Lasker-Schüler as the leading female representative of German expressionism.
Prose is a form of language that exhibits a natural flow of speech and grammatical structure rather than a regular rhythmic structure as in traditional poetry, where the common unit of verse is based on metre or rhyme. Though, as T. S. Eliot noted, while "the distinction between verse and prose is clear, the distinction between poetry and prose is obscure". Developments in modern literature, including free verse and prose poetry have tended to blur any differences.
Expressionism is a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists have sought to express the meaning of emotional experience rather than physical reality.
After separating from Herwarth Walden in 1910 and divorcing him in 1912, she found herself penniless and dependent on the financial support of her friends, in particular Karl Kraus. That year, she met Gottfried Benn. An intense friendship developed between them which found its literary outlet in a large number of love poems dedicated to him.
Karl Kraus was an Austrian writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet. He directed his satire at the press, German culture, and German and Austrian politics. The Austrian author Stefan Zweig once called Kraus "the master of venomous ridicule". He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature three times.
Gottfried Benn was a German poet, essayist, and physician. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature five times.
In May 1922 he attended the International Congress of Progressive Artists and signed the "Founding Proclamation of the Union of Progressive International Artists".
International Congress of Progressive Artists was organised by Young Rhineland, with help from the November Group, the Darmstadt Secession and the Dresden Secession in Düsseldorf, 29-31 May 1922. The aim of creating an international organisation of radical artists led to differing conceptions of how this should be done. Theo van Doesburg wrote "A short review of the proceedings" which included a proclamation calling for a permanent, universal, international exhibition of art from everywhere in the world and an annual universal, international music festival. With the slogan Artists of all nationalities unite’ they declared that "Art must become international or it will perish". According to van Doesburg, when those who refused to sign this proclamation were threatened with exclusion, this led to uproar.
In 1927 the death of her son sent her into a deep depression.
Despite winning the Kleist Prize in 1932, as a Jew she was physically harassed and threatened by the Nazis. She emigrated to Zürich but there, too, she could not work. She traveled to Palestine in 1934 and finally settled in Jerusalem in 1937. In 1938 she was stripped of her German citizenship and the outbreak of World War II prevented any return to Europe. Her Bohemian lifestyle and eccentric fashion made life in Jerusalem difficult. She tended to spend whatever money she had all at once which made her go for days without food or shelter. Heinz Gerling and the poet Manfred Schturmann came to her aid. Gerling opened a bank account for her and arranged for regular payments to cover her expenses whereas Schturmann edited her work and helped with her dealings with publishers. After her death Schturmann became the trustee of her legacy and during the 1950s and '60s dealt extensively with publishers in East and West Germany, Switzerland and Austria who wished to publish her works.
In 1944 Lasker-Schüler's health deteriorated. She suffered a heart attack on January 16, and died in Jerusalem on January 22, 1945. She was buried on the Mount of Olives.
Lasker-Schüler left behind several volumes of poetry and three plays, as well as many short stories, essays and letters. During her lifetime, her poems were published in various magazines, among them the journal Der Sturm edited by her second husband, and Karl Kraus' literary journal Die Fackel. She also published many anthologies of poetry, some of which she illustrated herself. Examples are:
Lasker-Schüler wrote her first and most important play, Die Wupper, in 1908. It was published in 1909 and the first performance took place on April 27, 1919 at the Deutsche Theater in Berlin.
A large part of her work is composed of love poetry, but there are also deeply religious poems and prayers. Transitions between the two are often quite fluid. Her later work is particularly rich in biblical and oriental motifs. Lasker-Schüler was very free with regard to the external rules of poetic form, however her works thereby achieve a greater inner concentration. She was also not averse to linguistic neologisms.
A good example of her poetic art is her 1910 poem "Ein alter Tibetteppich"(lit. "An old Tibetan rug"), which was reprinted many times after its first publication in Sturm , the first of these being in Fackel.
"Ein alter Tibetteppich"
"An old Tibetan rug"
The 20th-century Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid included a translation of an extract from Lasker-Schüler's work in his long poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle , 1926. (Lines 401–410.)
There is a memorial plaque to Else Lasker-Schüler at Motzstraße 7, Berlin-Schöneberg, where she lived from 1924 to 1933. Part of this street was renamed Else-Lasker-Schüler-Straße in 1996. In Elberfeld in Wuppertal there is now a school named after her (The "School without Racism"), and a memorial stele was erected on Herzogstraße, Wuppertal.
The Else-Lasker-Schüler-Society was founded 1990 in Wuppertal by journalist Hajo Jahn. In more than 20 international symposias from Breslau to Tel Aviv, the works of the poet were introduced and discussed in relation to the relevance for the presence and future.
In Jerusalem, there is a small street named for Else Lasker-Schüler in the neighborhood of Nayot - Rehov Else. Perched on a ridge in the Jerusalem Forest, very close to the Kennedy Memorial (Yad Kennedy), was a sculpture in her honor resembling a slender tree trunk with wings. It was placed there in 1997, and was stolen, probably by metal thieves, in July 2007.
In 2007, her final days in Jerusalem were commemorated in the BBC radio play My Blue Piano by the Scottish playwright Marty Ross (Radio 4 2007) which combined the facts of her dying days with the fantasies of her inner life.
Nelly Sachs was a German-Swedish poet and playwright. Her experiences resulting from the rise of the Nazis in World War II Europe transformed her into a poignant spokesperson for the grief and yearnings of her fellow Jewish people. Her best-known play is Eli: Ein Mysterienspiel vom Leiden Israels (1950); other works include the poems "Zeichen im Sand" (1962), "Verzauberung" (1970), and the collections of poetry In den Wohnungen des Todes (1947), Flucht und Verwandlung (1959), Fahrt ins Staublose (1961), and Suche nach Lebenden (1971). She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966.
Emmy Hennings was a performer and poet. She was also the wife of celebrated Dadaist Hugo Ball. Despite her own achievements, it is difficult to come by information in English about Hennings that is not directly related to her relationship with Hugo Ball. Several biographies of Hennings have been published in German.
Mascha Kaléko was a Jewish German language poet.
Forrest Gander is an American poet, essayist, novelist, critic, and translator.
Herwarth Walden was a German Expressionist artist and art expert in many disciplines. He is broadly acknowledged as one of the most important discoverers and promoters of German avant-garde art in the early twentieth century.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
Friederike Mayröcker is an Austrian poet.
Lene Schneider-Kainer, born Lene Schneider, was a Jewish-Austrian painter, daughter of the painter Sigmund Schneider, noted for her illustration of "Lukian:Hetärengespräche. Mit Illustrationen von Lene Schneider-Kainer und einem Nachwort von Sabine Dahmen".
Modern Hebrew poetry is poetry written in the Hebrew language. It was pioneered by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, and it was developed by the Haskalah movements, that saw poetry as the most quality genre for Hebrew writing. The first Haskalah poet, who heavily influenced the later poets, was Naphtali Hirz Wessely, at the end of the 18th Century, and after him came Shalom HaCohen, Max Letteris, Abraham Dob Bär Lebensohn, his son Micah Joseph, Judah Leib Gordon and others. Haskalah poetry was greatly influenced by the contemporary European poetry, as well as the poetry of the previous ages, especially Biblical poetry and pastoralism. It was mostly a didactic form of poetry, and dealt with the world, the public, and contemporary trends, but not the individual. A secular Galician Jew, Naftali Herz Imber, wrote the lyrics to HaTikva in 1878; this later became the national anthem of Israel.
Rajzel Żychlińsky was a Polish-born writer of poetry in Yiddish. She published seven collections over six decades. Her first two collections were published in Warsaw in 1936 and 1939, just prior to World War II. She survived the war by fleeing eastward to the Soviet Union, but most of her family was murdered in the Holocaust. Her postwar poetry, mostly written in the United States, was strongly influenced by these events. Barnett Zumoff writes that "she was the most authentic and original of the female Yiddish poets." Karina von Tippelskirch writes "Rajzel Zychlinsky (1910–2001) is considered one of the greatest Yiddish poets of the 20th century and a master of the small poetic form."
Janine Canan is an American poet, essayist, story writer, translator, and editor. She is also a practicing psychiatrist in northern California.
My Heart Is Mine Alone is a 1997 German experimental drama film directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms. A 1997 issue of Jewish Currents wrote that the film is "a kind of German movie that usually requires more than one screening to decipher and is made for avant-garde devotees."
HamdaKhamis is a poet and a freelance columnist from Bahrain.
Putting Things Straight is a 1979 film directed and written by Georg Brintrup. The director's first TV-release, it was shot in 16 mm film. The filmscript is based on a polemic printed in 1925 by the Jewish German poet Else Lasker-Schüler, the principal woman representative of German Expressionism.
"Sozusagen grundlos vergnügt" is a poem by Mascha Kaléko. It begins with the line "Ich freu mich, daß am Himmel Wolken ziehen". It was published in 1977, after her death, and was set to music by Herbert Baumann.