Famous German Essayists

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 1 
Walter Benjamin
(German Jewish Philosopher, Cultural Critic and Essayist)
Walter Benjamin
4
Birthdate: July 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 26, 1940

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.

 2 
Thomas Mann
(German Novelist Who Won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Thomas Mann
4
Birthdate: June 6, 1875
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lübeck, Germany
Died: August 12, 1955
German author Thomas Mann, known for his epic novels, was part of the Hanseatic Mann family of authors. He depicted his own family in his novel Buddenbrooks. He won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature. During Hitler’s reign, he fled to Switzerland and then to the U.S.
 3 
Heinrich Heine
(German Poet & Literary Critic Know for His Works 'Germany. A Winter's Tale' and 'Buch der Lieder')
Heinrich Heine
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1797
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
Died: February 17, 1856

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.

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 4 
Friedrich Schleiermacher
(German Theologian, Philosopher and an Early Leader in Liberal Christianity)
Friedrich Schleiermacher
3
Birthdate: November 21, 1768
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: February 12, 1834

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.

 5 
Alfred Doblin
(German Writer and Doctor Best Known for His Novels: ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’ and ‘The Three Leaps of Wang Lun’)
Alfred Doblin
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1878
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Szczecin, Poland
Died: June 26, 1957

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. 

 6 
Max Scheler
(German Philosopher Known for His Work in Phenomenology, Ethics, and Philosophical Anthropology)
Max Scheler
3
Birthdate: August 22, 1874
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: May 19, 1928

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.  

 7 
Christa Wolf
(German Novelist and Essayist Best Known for Her 1963 Work 'Divided Heaven')
Christa Wolf
3
Birthdate: March 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Landsberg an der Warthe, Germany
Died: December 1, 2011

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. 

 8 
Golo Mann
(Historian)
Golo Mann
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: April 7, 1994

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. 

 9 
Herta Müller
(German-Romanian Author, Who Received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature for Her Novel 'The Hunger Angel')
Herta Müller
0
Birthdate: August 17, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nitchidorf, Romania

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.

 10 
Erich Mühsam
(Essayist)
Erich Mühsam
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1878
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 10, 1934

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. 

 11 
Gottfried Benn
(German Poet and Essayist)
Gottfried Benn
2
Birthdate: May 2, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Putlitz, Germany
Died: July 7, 1956

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.

 12 
Siegfried Lenz
(German Writer Best Known For His Novel ‘The German Lesson')
Siegfried Lenz
2
Birthdate: March 17, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Elk, Poland
Died: October 7, 2014

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.

 13 
Heiner Müller
(Writer Known for His Significant Contribution to Postmodern Drama and Postdramatic Theatre)
Heiner Müller
3
Birthdate: January 9, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Eppendorf, Germany
Died: December 30, 1995

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.

 14 
Helmut Lachenmann
2
Birthdate: November 27, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stuttgart, Germany

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. 

 15 
Sibylle Berg
(Writer)
Sibylle Berg
2
Birthdate: June 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Weimar, Bezirk Erfurt, Germany

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.  

 16 
Roger Willemsen
0
Birthdate: August 15, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bonn, Germany
Died: February 7, 2016

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.

 17 
Luise Rinser
(German Writer Best Known for Her Novels and Short Stories)
Luise Rinser
1
Birthdate: April 30, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Landsberg am Lech, Germany
Died: March 17, 2002

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.

 18 
Martin Mosebach
(German Novelist and Essayist)
Martin Mosebach
1
Birthdate: July 31, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

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. 

 19 
Marie Luise Kaschnitz
(German Short Story Writer, Novelist, Essayist and Poet)
Marie Luise Kaschnitz
1
Birthdate: January 31, 1901
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Karlsruhe, Germany
Died: October 10, 1974

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. 

 20 
Frank Schirrmacher
(German Journalist, Essayist and Co-publisher of the National German Newspaper 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung')
Frank Schirrmacher
1
Birthdate: September 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wiesbaden, Germany
Died: June 12, 2014

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. 

 21 
Bernhard Kellermann
(German Poet and Writer Best Known for His Novel 'Der Tunnel')
Bernhard Kellermann
1
Birthdate: March 4, 1879
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fürth, Germany
Died: October 17, 1951

Bernhard Kellermann was a German poet and author. He is credited with writing the 1913 novel Der Tunnel, which was adapted into a film titled The Tunnel in 1935 by Maurice Elvey. Kellermann, who often criticized the society through his works, faced difficulties during the Nazi era; one of his works titled The Ninth November was burned publicly.

 22 
René Schickele
(German Poet, Novelist, and Dramatist)
René Schickele
1
Birthdate: August 4, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Obernai, France
Died: January 31, 1940

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. 

 23 
Paul Ernst
(German writer)
Paul Ernst
0
Birthdate: March 7, 1866
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Elbingerode, Germany
Died: May 13, 1933

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.