7 July 1855|
Kaufbeuren, Kingdom of Bavaria
24 July 1920 (aged 65)|
|Alma mater||Leipzig University|
|Genre||Homeland novel, historical novel, novella|
Ludwig Ganghofer (7 July 1855 – 24 July 1920) was a German writer who became famous for his homeland novels.
He was born in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, the son of forestry official August Ganghofer (1827–1900). His younger sister Ida (1863–1944) married the geologist and geographer Albrecht Penck in 1886, the geomorphologist Walther Penck was Ganghofer's nephew. He graduated from gymnasium secondary school in 1873 and subsequently worked as a fitter in Augsburg engine works. In 1875, he entered Munich Polytechnic as a student of mechanical engineering, but eventually changed his major to history of literature and philosophy, which subjects he studied in Munich, Berlin and Leipzig. In 1879, he was awarded a doctorate from the Leipzig University.
Ganghofer wrote his first play "Der Herrgottschnitzer von Ammergau" (The Crucifix Carver of Ammergau) in 1880 for the Munich Gärtnerplatz Theatre. It was so successful that it was performed 19 times. But his break-through was a guest performance of this play in Berlin, where it was staged more than 100 times. Subsequently, Ganghofer worked as dramaturge at the Vienna Ringtheatre (1881), as a freelance writer for the family paper Die Gartenlaube and as a feuilleton editor of the Neues Wiener Tagblatt (1886–1891). In Vienna, Ganghofer was a frequent guest at the salon in the Palais Todesco, where he met with artists like Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Johann Strauss. Since 1891, he was working mainly as a writer of Alpine novels, inspired by the sojourns at his hunting lodge near Leutasch in Tyrol; but he also produced e.g. Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play "Der Tor und der Tod". He also founded the Munich Literary Society.
His work as a voluntary war correspondent from 1915 and 1917 is less known. During those years, he wrote – besides propagandistic and little impartial war reports e.g. wie "Reise zur deutschen Front" (Travel to the German frontlines) – a large number of War poems, which were published in Anthologies like "Eiserne Zither" (Iron Zither) und "Neue Kriegslieder" (New War songs), displaying a nationalist and anti-democratic attitude. Being a personal friend of Emperor Wilhelm II, Ganghofer's war reports were frequently lauding the emperor and his way of conducting the war. Even until shortly before the German capitulation, he published calls not to give up fighting. In 1917 he and his friend Ludwig Thoma joined the far-right German Fatherland Party which dissolved in the Revolution of 1918–19. Heavily criticised by colleagues like Karl Kraus, lectures of his war-exalting oeuvres provided him an above average income.
After the end of the war, Ganghofer returned to his profession as a writer. He dedicated his last work "Das Land der Bayern in Farbenphotographie" (The country of Bavaria in coloured photography) to "His Majesty King Ludwig III of Bavaria in deepest reverence". Shortly after, Ganghofer died in Tegernsee.
Ganghofer's works, in particular his novels, are still published nowadays. By 2004, an estimated more than 30 million copies of his works were sold. Besides, Ganghofer is one of the German writers whose works were filmed utmost, especially during the Heimatfilm era after World War II. His homeland novels earned Ganghofer the reputation as a "healthy world" writer. His works which describe the life of simple, competent, honest people are often seen as Kitsch – not at least because most of them are staged against the background of an idyllic Bavarian Alps scenery.
- Der Herrgottschnitzer von Ammergau (folk play, 1880)
- The Hunter of Fall (novel, 1883) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info (in German)
- Die Sünden der Väter, (novel, 1886)
- Edelweißkönig (novel, 1886) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- The Monastery's Hunter (novel, 1892) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Die Martinsklause (novel, 1894) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Schloss Hubertus (novel, 1895) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Das Schweigen im Walde (novel, 1899)
- Der Dorfapostel (novel, 1900)
- Das neue Wesen. Roman aus dem 16. Jahrhundert, (historical novel, 1902)
- Der Hohe Schein (novel, 1904)
- Der Besondere, (Erzählung, 1904)
- Der Mann im Salz (novel, 1906) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Waldrausch (novel, 1907) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Lebenslauf eines Optimisten (Autobiographie, 3 Bde., 1909–1911) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- The War of the Oxen (novel, 1914) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Die Trutze von Trutzberg. Roman aus d. 15. Jahrhundert, (historical novel, 1915) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Reise zur deutschen Front (report, 1915) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Das große Jagen (novel, 1918) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Der laufende Berg (Hochlandsroman, 1920) – freely available on www.wissen-im-netz.info
- Hubertus Castle (1954), by Helmut Weiss
- The Hunter of Fall (1956), by Gustav Ucicky
- Waldrausch (1962), by Paul May
- Hubertus Castle (1973), by Harald Reinl
- The Hunter of Fall (1974), by Harald Reinl
- Waldrausch (1977), by Horst Hächler
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