Romanian German Literature

By | February 2, 2022

Romanian German literature, literature of the German-speaking minorities in today’s Romania (Romanian Germans).

It originated from the German-language literature of Transylvania, the Banat and Bukovina. The literature of the Transylvanian Saxons goes back to the 12th, that of the Banat Swabians to the 18th, and that of the Bukowina Germans to the 19th century.

From the Transylvanian Saxons, dialect folk poetry, fairy tales, sagas and ballads have been known since the Middle Ages, which show a strong connection to the German-speaking area; this also applies to the humanists of the 16th century (J. Honterus; Georg Reicherstorffer, * 1495, † 1554; Christian Schesäus, * 1535, † 1585; Johannes Sommer, * 1542, † 1574), who wrote their works by a. written in Latin.

In the Baroque period, Transylvanian-Saxon authors v. a. a role abroad (Johann Gorgias, * 1640, † 1680; Andreas Pixner, * 1675, † 1710). In the 18th century, the Transylvanian-Saxon literature developed in the area of ​​tension between the Enlightenment and Pietism, while folk literature with regional references developed in the Banat.

Important authors of the 19th century, partly shaped by the spirit of optimism in the run-up to the revolution of 1848/49, were the narrator and poet Joseph Marlin (* 1824, † 1849), the pastor and economist Stephan Ludwig Roth (* 1796, † 1849))and the doctor Friedrich Krasser (* 1818, † 1893). Local subjects turned to Michael Albert (* 1836, † 1893) in Transylvania and Karl Wilhelm von Martini (* 1821, † 1885) in the Banat.

At the beginning of the 20th century, A. Meschendörfer tried to educate his readership aesthetically and to open up Transylvanian-Saxon literature. A. Müller-Guttenbrunn consolidated the Banat Swabian community awareness with his novels.

According to Aparentingblog, the literary production after the First World War was animated by novels and stories by A. Meschendörfers, Heinrich Zillichs (* 1898, † 1988), E. Wittstocks, O. W. Ciseks, Otto Alschers (* 1880, † 1945) and Eugen Probsts (* 1858, † 1937)); The German-Jewish authors of the Bukowina A. Margul-Sperber, P. Celan, Alfred Kittner (* 1906, † 1991), Rose Ausländer, Moses Rosenkranz (* 1904, † 2003), Immanuel Weissglas (* 1920, † 1979).

In contrast to the other countries of East-Central and Southeastern Europe, after a phase of marginalization and restriction in the 1950s, there was also considerable literature in the German language in communist Romania, which has met with great resonance in the Federal Republic of Germany since the 1980s. In the freedom more or less granted by the Romanian state, a differentiated literary life developed, which was concerned with self-assertion and self-discovery. In the process, themes and subjects from the past and present of the German minority were primarily designed with a great variety of expressions, whereby the endeavor to overcome one’s own mental boundaries is recognizable (Franz Liebhard, * 1899, † 1989; Andreas Birkner, * 1911, † 1998; Wolf von Aichelburg, * 1912, † 1994; Irene Mokka, * 1915, † 1973; Georg Scherg, * 1917, † 2002; H. Bergel; Franz Heinz, * 1929; Arnold Hauser, * 1929, † 1988; Paul Schuster, * 1930, † 2004; Nikolaus Berwanger, * 1935, † 1989; Joachim Wittstock, * 1939).

The connection to European modernism was initiated by O. Pastior, D. Schlesak and Anemone Latzina (* 1942, † 1993). In view of the hardening communist dictatorship, a group of younger authors thematized crises of meaning and the need for expression in a surveillance state, but also critically examined the national-conservative values ​​of their community of origin (Herta Müller; R. Wagner; F. Hodjak; Johann Lippet, * 1951; Werner Söllner, * 1951, † 2019; Rolf Bossert, * 1952, † 1986; Klaus Hensel, * 1954). The regime’s repression led to v. a. since the 1980s on the emigration of most Romanian-German authors to the Federal Republic of Germany. Freed from the constraints of censorship, they now worked through the traumatic experiences of dictatorship, but also criticized the existing conditions and described their difficulties of adjustment and identity crises in the unfamiliar living environment with no illusions. They reject the term Romanian-German literature as a restrictive restriction. The few writers who remained in Romania, where a reorientation began after the political upheavals and a humble literary life in the German language continues to develop, hold on to it (Hans Liebhardt, * 1934, † 2017; Joachim Wittstock; Carmen Elisabeth Puchianu, * 1956). In the last few years v. a. the evangelical pastor living in Transylvania i. R. Eginald Schlattner (* 1933) became known beyond the borders of the German minority with his novels.

Romanian music

Romanian music. With the adoption of Christianity in the 9th century, the liturgical chants of the Byzantine-Slavic rite found their way, in Transylvania also the Gregorian chant, but written sources do not date back to the 15th century. Until the 19th century, secular music was documented almost exclusively in the area of ​​folk music, whose collection and research v. a. Constantin Brăiloiu (* 1893, † 1958), George Breazul (* 1887, † 1961; founding of the phonogram archive in 1927) and B. Bartók. The Romanian folk songs, v. a. Ballads, Colinde (Christmas songs), Doine (Doina), use different scales, characteristic is the major-minor parallelism. The rhythm is varied and often cannot be combined with the Western European concept of time. – From the 16th to the 18th century Turkish music was not without influence, the 19th century was dominated by Italian and German music. Since the beginning of the 20th century, folklore elements have been combined with romantic or impressionistic suggestions in art music, first with Demetri Kiriac (* 1866, † 1928), a pupil of V. d’Indy, then especially with G. Enescu, and later with Anatol Vieru, a student of A. I. Chatschaturjan. Dealt with electronic music Tiberiu Olah (* 1928, † 2002). In dealing with ways of composing New Music are among others. emerged Aurel Stroe (* 1932, † 2008), Myriam Marbe (* 1931, † 1997), Cornel Ţăranu (* 1934), Alexandru Hrisanide (* 1936), Octavian Nemescu (* 1940), Costin Miereanu (* 1943), Serban Nichifor (* 1954) and the composers Adriana Hölszky and Violeta Dinescu, who live in Germany.

Romanian German Literature