Leonhard Frank


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(Würzburg, 1882–1961, Munich), of working-class origin, took a number of jobs, such as cycle mechanic, chauffeur, house painter, and hospital porter. A talent for drawing and painting led to six years' study and practice of art in Munich (1904–10). He was in Berlin from 1910 and, being an ardent pacifist, took refuge in Switzerland in 1915. His first novel, Die Räuberbande, appeared in 1914. Most of his work is directed against the shortcomings of society, seen from a socialistic and humane standpoint. Die Ursache (1916), a Novelle, is an attack on capital punishment. Frank dramatized it in 1929. The collection of Novellen Der Mensch ist gut appeared in 1919. These stories reject existing society, and look forward to a humane fraternal future. In 1918 Frank returned to Germany. He lived in Munich and became a writer. In 1924 he published the novel Der Bürger, and in 1927 Karl und Anna (dramatized in 1929) and, a sequel to Räuberbande, Das Ochsenfurter Männerquartett, which deals with the misery of the period of runaway inflation; it contains, however, an idyllic love story. In 1929 followed Bruder und Schwester, on incestuous love and, like Karl und Anna, an example of his pronounced individualism. Von drei Millionen drei (1932) returns to the effects of unemployment.


From The Oxford Companion to German Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.