Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish essayist, philosopher, and cultural critic. An eclectic thinker, Benjamin made significant contributions to literary criticism, aesthetic theory, and historical materialism. Although Benjamin's work did not earn much recognition during his lifetime, it continues to be revered by academics several years after his death.
Heinrich Heine was a German poet, literary critic, and writer. He is known internationally for his lyric poetry, which was popularized by composers like Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann who adapted Heine's lyric poetry into art songs. Heinrich Heine's radical political views forced the German authorities to ban his works, which only added to his popularity.
Hailed as an early leader of liberal Christianity, Lutheran philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher was also an eminent biblical scholar and theologian. Best remembered for his works on hermeneutics and theory of translation, he also had a great impact on the evolution of higher criticism and became known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity.
Alfred Doblin was a German novelist, essayist, and doctor. He is considered one of the most important figures of German literary modernism. A prolific writer with a career spanning more than half a century, he wrote novels, dramas, screenplays, and radio plays across a range of genres. Despite the popularity he once enjoyed, he is believed to be under-recognized.
Christa Wolf was a German novelist. She studied literature at the University of Leipzig and began working for the German Writers' Union. She eventually became an editor for a publication and started writing novels as well. The novels Der geteilte Himmel and Kassandra are among her most important works. She was a recipient of the Nelly Sachs Literature Prize.
Max Scheler was a German philosopher best known for his work in ethics, phenomenology, and philosophical anthropology. He developed the philosophical method of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology. He had a deep influence on the theology of Pope John Paul II. For many years, Scheler taught philosophy and sociology at the University of Cologne.
Golo Mann was a German historian and essayist. An influential personality, Mann is best remembered for his most popular work German History in the 19th and 20th Century, a survey of the political history in Germany.
Nobel Prize-winning author Herta Müller grew up under the dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania. She was fired from her first job for not co-operating with the Romanian secret police. Her works, such as Oppressive Tango and The Passport, mirror the oppression of Germans she has witnessed in Romania.
Erich Mühsam was a German anti-militarist anarchist essayist, poet, and playwright. He was born into an Orthodox Jewish family. He was rebellious by nature and aspired to be a writer from a young age. He eventually became involved in communist and anarchist politics. His well-known works include Die Eigenen and Im Nachthemd durchs Leben. He was murdered in 1934.
Siegfried Lenz was a German writer best remembered for his novels, essays, and short stories. He also served as a soldier in Nazi Germany's navy during World War II. He then went on to establish himself as a notable writer, winning prestigious awards like the International Nonino Prize and the Goethe Prize.
Gottfried Benn was a German poet, physician, and essayist. As an expressionist, Benn had a significant influence on German poetry before the First World War. Renowned for his literary work, Benn was nominated for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature on five occasions. In 1951, he was honored with the Georg Büchner Prize.
Heiner Müller was a German dramatist, writer, poet, theatre director, and essayist. An influential dramatist, Müller made major contributions to post-dramatic theatre and postmodern drama. Decades after his death, Müller's works continue to influence many European playwrights and dramatists. Heiner Müller won prestigious awards like the Kleist Prize and the Heinrich Mann Prize.
Helmut Lachenmann is a German composer of contemporary classical music. He started singing in his local church choir as a child and started composing music as a teenager. He received his training under composers Johann Nepomuk David and Luigi Nono. He is best known for his "instrumental musique concrète". He received the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1997.
Stéphane Hessel was a concentration camp survivor and a French Resistance member. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure and served in the army for a while. He became a resistance member during World War II and was taken to a concentration camp. He survived the ordeal and later became an ambassador and diplomat. He was also a published author.
Sibylle Berg is a German-born Swiss author and playwright considered one of the most famous and influential writers and playwrights in the German-speaking world. She writes novels, essays, fiction, and plays, and her books have been translated into 30 languages. She is non-binary and a popular figure in the LGBTQAI+ community. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.
Loved for his talk shows, television presenter Roger Willemsen was also a bestseller author, a cultural correspondent and one of Germany's best known intellectuals. A student of German Philosophy and History of Art, he began his television career with 0137, later switching to Willemsens Woche, producing numerous television documentaries, interviews, portraits, and programs, concurrently authoring fifty books and numerous articles.
Initially a teacher, Luise Rinser later joined the Frauenschaft. She was later imprisoned for not supporting the Nazis. Her experiences in the prison were collected in Prison Journal, which became a bestseller. The German author was quite politically active in her country and was well-traveled too.
Martin Mosebach is a German writer best known as the author of the non-fiction book The 21 - A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs. Besides non-fiction, he also writes novels, stories, theater and radio plays, and film scripts. He is the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Georg Büchner Prize and the Kleist Prize.
Marie Luise Kaschnitz was a German writer of short stories, essays, and novels. She is counted among the leading post-war German poets. Most of her short stories were inspired by her life experiences. Her stories often dealt with particular stages in a woman's life. She was the recipient of many prizes, including the Georg Büchner Prize.
Frank Schirrmacher was a German journalist who was the co-publisher of the national German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He studied at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Cambridge and started working as a journalist. He was known for influencing discussions on controversial topics in Germany. He was a recipient of the International Corinne Book Prize.
René Schickele was a German-French writer and translator born to a German father and a French mother. He studied literature, history, science, and philosophy and began a writing career. He collaborated with fellow writers Otto Flake and Ernst Stadler to publish several magazines and poetry collections. He was once married to Dr. Minna Flake. Composer Peter Schickele is his grandson.
Paul Ernst was a German writer. The son of a miner, he developed an early interest in literature and was encouraged by his father to pursue his passion. He took up the study of theology as a young man and wrote on a range of subjects, including politics, social reform, and literary criticism. He was also popular as a dramatist.