Serial: The Ladies' repository: a monthly periodical, devoted to literature, arts, and religion.
Title: Berthold Auerbach, The German Poet [Volume 12, Issue 2, Aug 1873; pp. 84-87]
Author: Hurst, Rev. J. F., D. D.
Collection: Making of America Journal Articles
Article URL: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moajrnl/acg2248.2-12.002/94
THE LADIES' REPOSITORY. Landesmann, daughter of the deceased banker, Landesmain, and sister of the romance-writer of the Wiener Presse, under the pseudonym of Hieronymus Lorm. After a short wedding tour, Auerbach settled with his young wife in Dresden, which hle made his permanent residence, and gave himself up entirely to his literary labors. There followed, ill quick succession, "Neues Leben" (New Life), in 1851; two other volumes of "Village Stories" in I852; and, in separate editions, the beautiful, unsurpassable "Barfussle," the pearl of the "Village Histories," in 1855; "Deutsche Abende," first series, I858; "Edelweiss" in I859, and "Joseph im Sclhnee" in I86o. From thle years I845 to I848, appeared, besides "Schrift und Volk" (Writing and People), in 1846, a series of people's almanacs, under the title, "Der Gevattersmann," whose contents were particularly designed for the country people, and had much influence. As the poet had, in his "Village Stories," found the right way to make thle lhigher classes acquainted with the humbler ranks of society, so he had now discovered a way of influencing the people in a stricter sense. During the four years of its appearance, the'Gevattersmann" became the household treasure of every rural hearth in Middle and South Germany. Tlhe series was, at a later period, collected and issued in a complete form, under the name of "Schatzkaslein des Gevattersmannes" (Treasure-chest of the Gossipman), first in a separate edition, and then in the complete works of Berthold Auerbach (22 volumes; Cotta, Stuttgart, I858). In I848, there appeared a counterpart to the "Gevattersmann," with the title of "Berthold Auerbach's Volkskalender," under the co-operative management of the first scholars and artists of Germany; but it, unfortunately, only reached its second issue. If the "Village Stories" gave a representation of the life of the people in an artistic form, for the educated, the "Volkskalender" gave a representation, not of the life of the people, but of the entire movement of the time. It was a noteworthy sign of progress, that a talented writer like Auerbach should stake his name in producing a book for the people, not, as is too often the case, to teach to-day what yesterday was so hardly and superficially acquired, but to instruct them, to strengthen their hearts, to teach them independence of mind, and to excite in them thankfulness for daily blessings. Since the year I86o, Auerbach has resided with his family-consisting of one son by his first marriage, and two sons and a daughter by his second-in Berlin. During the Suimmer months, however, he generally resides in South Germany, on his native soil. His latest publications are, "Auf die H6he" (On the Heights), "Deutsche Abende" (German Evenings), I867; and the "Landhaus am Rhein" (Country House on the Rhine), I869. Berthold Auerbach is the most popular German writer of the present time. What qualifies him for his lhigh position is hIis love and esteem for the people, but more especially his honest manner of expressing his opinions and feelings, without prejudice or restraint. The politician may complain about the position of Germany; but, whoever looks on the past ten years from a higher point of view, will rejoice to see the progress there has been in education and morals. It can be truly said of Auerbach, that he is a poet, a deep thinker, and a well-wvishling, true-hearted man, who seeks, by his writings, to have a good and lasting influence on the people. He belongs to the few writers, the end and aim of whose lives are the culture and material elevation of the people. Most popular authors strive, first of all, to amuse their readersfew to teach them. In order to do this, the author must not stand on the height of contemplation only, but he must also have the power to portray what he thinks. The man who would be our teacher must have closely observed the period just passed as well as the present. He must know the possibilities of his race, and understand the necessity of development. Not a little assiduity and tenacity of purpose are necessary in order to know minds and hearts in palace and cottage, and to see what was, is, and will be. But when these are known, all illusions cease with reference to right, custom, and birth. But, besides understanding, a true heart is necessary, in order, in all classes of human society, to sympathize deeply with the joys and sorrows of one's fellow-men. Such a heart must be sympathetic in happiness and unhappiness, in laughter and tears, in joy and sorrow; for every pleasure have a higher elevation, and for every sorrow a heartier comfort. In conclusion, it is necessary that the poet should know how to bring, in a clear, concise, and comprehensive form, what the understanding has sought out and the heart has experienced. That is, however, given to few; and fewer still are chosen! Therefore, so many, in other respects skillful and experienced authors, who have attempted to succeed as popular writers, have spoiled the effect they intended to produce by something insipid, odd, or distorted in their descriptions and forms. If we wander through the fields of literature, we only meet here and there with a form to which, with good J 86