Karl Wolfskehl

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Group portrait with (from left to right): Karl Wolfskehl, Alfred Schuler, Ludwig Klages, Stefan George & Albert Verwey. Photo by Karl Bauer (1902)

Karl Wolfskehl (17 September 1869 – 30 June 1948) was a German Jewish author who wrote poetry, prose and drama in German. He also translated from French, English, Italian, Hebrew, Latin and Middle High German into German.

He was born in Darmstadt, Germany, the son of the banker and lawyer Otto Wolfskehl. He studied in Leipzig and Berlin. In 1898 he married Hanna de Haan, daughter of the Dutch Director of the Darmstadt Chamber Orchestra. They had two daughters: Judith (born 1899) and Renate (born 1901).

He was active in the Munich Cosmic Circle, a group of intellectuals in Munich led by Alfred Schuler. This group broke up in 1904 due to a rift between Wolfskehl, supported by Stefan George, and Ludwig Klages, supported by Schuler.

He emigrated to Switzerland in (1933), then to Italy (1934) and ultimately, with his partner Margot Ruben (1908–1980), to New Zealand (1938). He died there in 1948.


  • Elke-Vera Kotowski, Gert Mattenklott: "O dürft ich Stimme sein, das Volk zu rütteln!" Leben und Werk von Karl Wolfskehl Olms, Hildesheim 2007, ISBN 978-3-487-13303-4 (German)
  • Briefwechsel aus Neuseeland 1938-1948 by Karl Wolfskehl, Cornelia Blasberg
  • Karl Wolfskehl: Three Worlds / Drei Welten. Selected Poems. German and English. Translated and edited by Andrew Paul Wood and Friedrich Voit. Cold Hub Press, Lyttelton / Christchurch 2016, ISBN 978-0-47335867-9