Which famous writers did not graduate

Erich Kaestner

Erich Kästner (1899-1974) was a German writer and journalist. He became famous above all for his humorous and sharp-sighted children's books, which were revolutionary for the time. They are available in numerous translations; the novel Emil and the Detectives alone (1929) was translated into 40 languages. When the Nazis burned books, Kästner's books also ended up in the fire. After the war, Kästner did not manage to build on the successes of the past.


Dresden and Leipzig (1899-1927)

Erich Kästner was born on February 23, 1899 in Dresden. He said of himself that he came "from a very small background." Even as an adult he still had a remarkably close relationship with his mother Ida, the "little mother". Despite his origins, he graduated from high school in 1919 and enrolled at the University of Leipzig with a scholarship from the City of Dresden, including German studies and history. During his studies, Kästner published poems in newspapers and magazines. From 1924 he worked as an editor for the features section of the "Neue Leipziger Zeitung". In 1925 he finished his studies with a doctorate.


Berlin (1927-1945)

In 1927 Kästner went to Berlin. There he wrote for various renowned newspapers, including the »Vossische Zeitung« and the »Weltbühne«. In 1929 »Emil and the Detectives« appeared. It was the first of Kästner's unconventional children's books that made him world famous. His classics for children also include “The Flying Classroom” (1933) and “The Double Lottchen” (1949).

In 1931 Kästner published his novel "Fabian - History of a Moralist", a warning about the political and social developments of the time. At the public book burning by the Nazis on Berlin's Bebelplatz in May 1933, Erich Kästner was among the audience. His own books were also burned there. In the following years he was banned from publishing and writing and was arrested several times.

The entertainment novel "Drei Men im Schnee" (Three Men in the Snow) was first published in Switzerland in 1934, as was the so-called utility poetry "Doctor Erich Kästner's lyrical medicine chest": lovingly ironic or time-critical poems. Nevertheless, Kästner managed to come to terms with fascist Germany. He knew how to move skillfully in different genres and to juggle with pseudonyms.


Munich (1945-1974)

After the war, Kästner went to Munich, where he continued his journalistic and writing work. He was a trial observer at the Nuremberg trials of war criminals. However, it no longer played an essential role in literature in post-war Germany. After his last publication "The Little Man and the Little Miss" (1967), Kästner withdrew from the literary business in 1969. He died in Munich in 1974.


Kästner's biographers

In 1999 Sven Hanuschek published a biography of the popular writer under the title »Nobody looks you behind the face«. In it he tries, among other things, to sound out Kästner's contradicting character traits: the lack of clarity in his political actions is also reflected in his love affairs with women. The first serious biography had already been published in 1998 by the editor of the Kästner work edition, Josef Görtz, together with Hans Sarkowicz. Görtz was the first to see Kästner's estate.

Biography of Synopsis.de. © Inhalt.de.
Published on April 19, 2013.
Last updated on April 23, 2021.