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Keller, Gottfried

1819-90



Swiss author, born in Zurich and the most representative writer of the German-speaking Swiss.

Gottfried Keller spent some time in Germany, then returned to Zurich where he published poems. His reputation rests on a long auto-biographical novel (1855) 'Der gruene Heinrich' (Green Henry).

The work was completely revised 25 years later. Green Henry (so called because his mother made all his clothes from a single ball of green cloth) sets out to be an artist. After some success and many disappointements he returns to his native city where he finally earns some respect and contentment.

Keller is also known for a series of short stories, like 'The people of Seldwyla'.

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Kleist, Heinrich

1777-1811



German playwright and poet, born in Frankfurt an der Oder.

Kleist is considered the first of the great German dramatists of the 19th century. His best plays are still popular, and 'Der zerbrochene Krug' (The Broken Pitcher) ranks among the masterpieces of German dramatic comedy. He also wrote several masterly novellas, like 'Prinz Friedrich von Hamburg' and his finest tale, 'Michael Kohlhaas' - reflecting the problematic hero's conflicts between heroism and cowardice, dreaming and action.

Embittered by lack of recognition accorded to him by his contempo-raries he committed suicide in 1811.

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Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim

1729-81


Critic and man of letters, a seminal mind in German literature and the first German dramatist of lasting importance.

Lessing was born in Kamenz, Germany. He studied in Leipzig, then moved to Berlin and Witten-berg after which he returned to Leipzig.
He produced the first German domestic tragedy 'Miss Sara Sampson' in 1755. His 'Minna von Barnhelm' was the first German comedy on a grand scale.

He also wrote a poetic drama 'Nathan the Wise' - a plea for religious tolerance; and another great tragedy, 'Emilia Galotti'.

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Petofi, Sandor

1823-1849



Sandor Petofi was one of the greatest Hungarian poets and a revolutionary.

He travelled extensively in Hungary, mostly on foot. In 1844 he became editor of a literary magazin. The publication of his poetry 'Versek' and 'Janos vitez' made him famous at once. Petofi's poems were glowing with political passion, and one of them 'Talpra magyar' (Rise, Hungarians), became the anthem of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

Petofi disappeared during a revolutionary battle but public opinion refused to believe in his death and for many decades hoped to see him return.

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