Relative of Ingeborg Brigitte Gastel

Wilhelm Hauff 

November 29, 1802 - November 18, 1827 

 
 

by Erich P. Hofacker, Jr. - University of Michigan 

 

Today Wilhelm Hauff is not considered a major writer. When he is remembered, it is principally for his romantic historical novel Lichtenstein: Romantische Sage aus der wuerttembergischen Geschichte (Lichtenstein: Romantic Saga from the History of Wuerttemberg, 1826; translated as The Banished:A Swabian Historical Tale, 1839) and for the picturesque castle near Reutlingen in his native Wuerttemberg that the novel inspired. He is also known for his Maerchen (fairy tales), which have retained their charm as fascinating and realistic stories set in his own world. Hauff's taltent lay in his versatility, his ability to perceive the interests and moods of the reading public. In a society that valued conformity, Hauff followed literary convention; he was a *Modedichter* (fashionable writer), and a gifted one. In light of the critical enthusiasm for Hauff's writing which persisted through the middle of the nineteenth century, it is not surprising that all of his works were included in Josef Kuerschner's Deutscher Literatur-Kalender. Even in the middle of the twentieth century he had not been forgotten. In 1965 Ernst Bloch, a writer and philosopher concerned with the hopes and dreams of modern man, praised as an example of a lost art in his Literary Essays Hauff's *geradezu authochthone maerchenbildende Phantasie ... in einer von echter Maerchenbildung doch laengst entfernten Zeit* (his absolutely autochthonous imagination in creating fairy tales in an age which I now very far removed from the creation of genuine fairy tales). Hauff's works continue to be republished separately and in collections. Critics now consider him a precursor of two literary trends: unlike most others of his day, he tended to focus on society as a whole as well as on individuals; he also introduced strong elements of realism into his works. Both of these literary directions became significant later in the century. 

Wilhelm Hauff was born in Stuttgart on November 29, 1802, the second child of a governmental official, August Friedrich Hauff, and his wife, Hedwig Wilhelmine Elsaesser Hauff. Hauff had an older brother, Hermann, and two younger sisters, Marie and Sophie. In 1806 the family moved to Tuebingen, where Hauff's father served as a secretary at the royal Wuerttemberg court of appeals until his premature death in 1809. Hauff, his mother, and siblings then resided with the maternal grandparents. In his grandfather's library Hauff read the ancient and modern classics and also Scottish and English novels by Tobias Smollett, Henry Fielding, and Oliver Goldsmith. During his pre-university years in Tuebingen he immersed himself in tales of knights and robbers by Christian August Vulpius, Christian Heinrich Spiess, Karl Gottlieb Cramer, and Friedrich de la Motte Fouque. 

Hauff prepared for theological study in Tuebingen in a tuition-free course of study at a monastery in the small town of Blaubeuren (1817-1820). For the extroverted young man, the insular seclusion was a *Jammertal* (vale of tears). Later, at the Tuebinger Stift, the renowned Protestant theological college of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Friedrich Hoelderlin, and Eduard Moerike, Hauff took an active part in student life. He became an unofficial member of the most radical student fraternity, the *Feuerreiter*, who frequentlry *rode into the fire* of political controversy. He became the fraternity poet and composed humurous verse, satires, and patriotic hymns sung at the Waterloo-Feste commemorating Napoleon's defeat. A student trip down the Rhine marked Hauff's first crossing on the border of his native Swabia and brought memorable experiences which would be reflected in his literary works, particularly in Mittheilungen aus den Memoiren des Satan (1826-1827; excerpts translated as Memoirs of Beelzebub, 1846). 

In January 1824 Hauff went to Noerdlingen to answer charges lodged by the Central Investigative Commission of Mainz against his fraternity's activities. While he was there he became acquainted with his cousin Luise Hauff. After a brief correspondence they became engaged in April, although for financial reasons they did not marry for almost three years. Frequently reprimanded for tardiness and improper dress, Hauff nevertheless remained in good standing at the university and received his doctorate in theology in September 1824. While he was a student he edited Kriegs- und Volks-Lieder (War and Folk Songs, 1824) an anthology of poetry which included two of his own folk songs, *Reiters Morgengesang* (Morning Song of the Rider) and *Soldatenliebe* (Soldier's Love). He also outlined a novel, Der Mann im Mond (The Man in the Moon, 1825) and a novella published in Memoiren des Satans, *Der Fluch* (The Curse). 

Even as a student of theology it was apparent to Hauff that he preferred a literary career to the profession of clergyman, and in October 1824 he became the Hauslehrer (tutor) with the family of Ernst Eugen, Freiherr von Huegel, the president of the Wuerttemberg Minstry of War. The atmosphere in this aristocratic household was stimulating for Hauff. In contrast to the simple and spartan life at the Tuebinger Stift, he found there an environment open to the world, the atmosphere of the elegant salon, with witty conversation and refined literary tastes. During the time he lived with the Eugen's family, Hauff was able to plan and complete many works. The summer of 1825, spent with the family in the Guttenberg castle on the Neckar River, provided the background for his last and most contemporary novella, set in the post-Napoleonic era, *Das Bild des Kaisers* (published in Taschenbuch fuer Damen (Pocket Book for Ladies, 1828), and translated as *The Portrait of the Emperor,* 1845). 

Hauff borrowed themes and techniques from Fouque, Ludwig Tieck, and, especially, from E.T.A. Hoffmann, whose sense of ironic fantasy was similar to his own. Still he maintained, *Ich gehoere allen, ich gehoere mir selbst, aber keiner Schule gehoere ich an. Ich fuehle keinen Herrn und Meister ueber mir ...als die ewigen Gesetze des Guten und Schoenen, denen ich, wenn auch auf unvollkommene Weise, nachzustreben suche * (I belong to everyone, I belong to myself but to no literary school. I owe allegiance to no lord and master ...except the eternal laws of the good and beautiful for which I strive, though it be in an imperfect way). Hauff did not follow any specific aesthetic theories in his short literary career. His goal was to develop a sophisticated style; his works were considered modern because of his strong orientation toward contemporary society. 

Hauff's first major work, Mittheilungen aus den Memoiren des Satan, was written in August of 1825. Published anonymously, and with links to the satiric novel of the 18th century, this work parodies the wave of memoir literature that, through eyewitness accounts and individual self- portraits, was creating a panorama of the age. The persona Hauff adopts is that of Satan's editor. In the long narrative with which the work begins, the editor describes his chance meeting with the devil, who entrusts him with the publication of his memoirs. Hauff's book achieves a satiric effect by the complete lack of unanimity in perspective: Satan describes what he has seen, only to face the critcism and contradiction of the editor, who undergoes self-criticism; Satan is followed by other narrators who are themselves in disagreement. Satan appears in many guises, now a conceited world traveler, now as a student among students, now as a transparent mask for Hauff himself. Satan does not bear the traditional mark of the spirit of evil but rather is the voice of a general disilliusionment with the world. Hauff's satire is not harshor biting but playful: he observes society with amusement and from a distance. His touch is light and skillful when he is concerned with the familiar; for example, when he ridicules doltish professors and pious Teutonic students whose patriotism reaches emotional excess when they agitate for revolution. But in his work Hauff's satire of the unfamiliar often becomes exaggerated and distorted to the point of humorless caricature.

In Hauff's day the novelist Karl Heun of Berlin, writing under the pen name H. Clauren, had in rapid succession produced some forty sentimental novels, bestsellers among the masses. As a twenty-year-old student Hauff had written the outline of such a novel. In 1825 his friend and publisher Friedrich Franckh and the literary critic Wolfgang Menzel encouraged him to complete Der Mann im Monde and to publish it under Heun's pseudonym. The novel appearedlater that year, under the title Der Mann im Mond oder Der Zug des Herzens ist des Schicksals Stimme (The Man in den Moon or The Tug of the Heart Is the Voice of Fate). Only in the last 3 chapters does is become clear that Hauff was writing a parody. He thus provided himself a literary defense and, beyond that, broadened his public to include sophisticated readers who would understand the parody. Heun, as Clauren, published a disclaimer in 1826 concerning his authorship of Mann im Mond. Hauff's Controvers-Predigt ueber H. Clauren und den Mann im Monde (Sermon on Controversy over H. Clauren and The Man in the Moon, 1827) followed, wherein he called on Germany's great writers by name to become his partners in the struggle against the literary and moral desolation with which H. Clauren *das ganze Land bedroht* (is threateninf the wholw nation). The virtuosity of Hauff's parody had a longlasting, if negative, effect: his novel endured throughout the 19th century as a model for German literary kitsch. 

Hauff wrote at a rapid pace. He published his texts without revision and worked on several simultaneously. Thus, in 1825, in addition to his Memoiren des Satan and Der Mann im Mond, Hauff began to write the works that he included in his *Maerchenalmanache* (fairy-tale almanacs). In the first, published in 1826, he prefaced his tales with a vignette recounting how the fairy tale, the daughter of fantasy, had gone out of fasion and become *eine alte Jungfer*, an old maid no longer accorded respect. Now, however, in the new clothes and jewels of the almanac, she has returned to find refuge among children, who are always receptive to images of the magical world. Hauff's fairy tales, more than any of his other works, have retained their vitality and are his most-often-republished works. His *Maerchen* differ from others in that they are blended with tales of worldly adventure; the wonderous element of the traditional tale is transformed into the sensational, linking the story to the rational world and giving it the accent of bourgeois morality. Thus do they approach realistic narrative. The fairy tales in each almanac are connected to form a narrative cycle with which the frame story merges, making its characters a part of the central action. 

For the first almanac, Hauff chose an oriental theme in line with the fashionable charm of the distant, adventurous, and exotic. The second, for the year 1827, joins the occidental with the oriental and introduces contemporary European events. In the final almanac, for 1828, mysterious and ghostly events take place in a German environment inhabitated by aristocrats, craftsmen, and students. Middle-class morality pervades these stories, which have little in common with the fairy tales of German Romanticism. From the first almanac to the third, the tales evolve from true Maerchen (with the intervention of the supernatural) to Erzaehlungen, narratives which remain on the solid ground of everyday experience. The later contain little symbolism, good and evil human beings replace their enchanted counterparts, and the characters' decisions are based strictly on moral consciousness, as in the small-town social satire *Der Mensch als Affe* (Man, the Monkey). Characteristic of Hauff's secularization of fairy tales is the conclusion, *Buergerlueck loest Maerchenglueck ab* (solutions must now be found in society rather than in the land of make-believe). Most of Hauff's narratives end happily, but dependence upon possessions, reputation, or power proves fateful. 

On December 1, 1825, a little more than a year after assuming his position with Freiherr von Huegel, Hauff sent his publisher the first 12 chapters of his historical novel Lichtenstein. In a letter of December 14 to his school friend Moriz Pfaff, Hauff indicated that he was working on his novel *con amore*, to the exclusion of all else. In his student days, he told Pfaff, a measure of vanity and self-confidence had given him the inner strength to succeed as a writer despite the criticism of fellow students of theology. He was also planning submissions to five newspapers and periodicals which had requested literary contributions. His pace did not slow. By March 1826 the second volume of Lichtenstein was in press, and he was at work on pieces for various journals: ten book reviews for the literary page of Johann Friedrich Cotta's Morgenblatt, a novella for a ladie's magazine, several humorous sketches for a journal, as well as the outline for colume 2 of Memoiren des Satan. His contributions were providing good remuneration. Correspondence with his brother-in-law Christian Friedrich Klaiber, professor of aesthetics at the gymnasium in Stuttgart, brought the advice to broaden his horizon by travel through France, Holland, and northern Germany. Hauff resigned his post with Freiherr von Huegel to travel from May 1 to November 30 1826. Before his departure he received an attractive offer from Cotta to revive the recently suspended Damen-Almanach. On April 18 the 3rd and last volume of his historical novel was published; his publisher sent him 20 bottles of wine and 6 of champagne. 

Lichtenstein is a work of history and legend in the manner of Sir Walter Scott. Hauff, whose aspiration it was to become the German Scott, immersed himself in the novels of the Scottish author and in the life and times of the subject of his novel, Ulrich, Herzog von Wuerttemberg (1487-1550). Unfortunately, writes Hauff in his introduction, German readers of Scott, James Fenimore Cooper, and Washington Irving have a beter knowledge of the Scottish highlands, the sources of the Susquehanna, and the picturesque heights around Boston than they have of their own countryside, history, and lore. Determined to offer a fascinating *romantische Sage*, or legend, Hauff combed encyclopedias and read the travelogue by Gustav Schwab, Die Neckarseite der Schwaebischen Alb (The Neckar River Side of the Swabian Albs, 1823), as well as a work by Schwab on Ulrich's son, Duke Christoph, including the author's somewhat questionable historical documentation. These volumes, rather than standard histories, were his principal sources; reent investigation has shown that the *historical* information in his footnotes if often incorrect. 

Hauff justified his own *legendary* historical portrait on the basis of the great public interest in this figure from the *dunkle Anfaenge*, or dark beginnings of the state of Wuerttemberg. The rule of the historical Duke Ulrich was bloody and capricious. Hauff made Ulrich a creator of peace and harmony and a religious reformer who had founded the Tuebinger Stift. Hauff's desire was to give dignity to Wuerttemberg after it had become a subject state of Napoleon in his 1805 attempt to split up and destroy the Holy Roman Empire. In Lichtenstein Hauff imbued Ulrich with the qualities of an ideal king: honesty, fidelity, firmness, justice, and a readiness to struggle for the right. In Ulrich's situation he saw a 16th century parallel to the recent time of Napoleonic control, and many of his characters were, as one critic put it, *Buerger in Ritterruestung* (everyday 19th century types decked out in chivalric armor). The ideal picture of Ulrich's achievements in the past reflected the political hopes and expectations of the post-Napoleonic present. 

The 15th century Lichtenstein fortress, which historical documents indicate was visited by Ulrich, figures prominently in the novel. 15 years after Hauff's death, Lichtenstein inspired the construction on that height of a picturesque castle, which remains a popular tourist attraction. Hauff's novel was well written and well received. According to Menzel, the reader progresses from page to page as if walking on soft grass, without encountering the sharp edges of metaphor, antithesis, and other figures of speech, just as the manne rof Sir Walter Scott requires. Following Scott, chapters are headed by verse mottos (from Ludwig Uhland, Friedrich von Schiller, Walther von der Vogelweide, Christoph Martin Wieland, and William Shakespeare).

On the whole Hauff's novellas are inferior to his *Maerchen* and tend to be typical examples of this form in his day. In them he strives for the attraction of the unusual, and one of his frequent themes is the enigmatic course of fate. In *Othello* (1825) Hauff demonstrates an ability for psychological analysis in the story of the continuing puzzling effects of a curse resulting from an aristocrat's betrayal of his beloved many years before. Hauff also presents a psychological portrait in his *Die Bettlerin vom Pont des Arts* (1826; translated as The True Lover's Fortune; or, the Beggar of the Pont des Arts, 1843). Full of chance occurrences and complications, this unusual story of a family shows the influence of Ludwig Tieck in its settings on the Rhine river estates and in Stuttgart and Paris. (Hauff admired Tieck and had visited him in Dresden at the end of his European travels.) In *Jud Suess* (1827; translated as The Jew Suss: A Tale of Stutgard, in 1737, 1845) Hauff portrays a historical figure of 17th century Wuerttemberg. Joseph Suess-Oppenheimer, the much hated and feared minister of finance, in his final days of pwer. The motiv of the detrimental effect of money and possessions offered an opportunity for caricature, which the author avoided. Instead, his portrayal is enriched by psycholocigal nuances so that, in spite of the dark side of the man's character, the reader becomes aware of a certain element of greatness. (Hauff's depiction is romantic by comparison with Lion Feuchtwanger's portrayal in his novel Jud Suess, published in 1918). 

Stylistically, Hauff's best novella is Phantasien im Bremer Ratskeller (1827; translated as The Wine-Ghosts of Bremen, 1889), his last work published before his death. In this masterly tale he mixes fairy-tale atmosphere and historical reality in a nostalgic look at the past and, at the same time, a critical evaluation of the present. In the cellar restaurant of the town hall the spirits of long-deceased patrons appear and join the living. Their presence gives the author an opportunity to criticize the political status quo in a work considered by many to be his most mature and independent. 

In December 1826 Hauff was back in Stuttgart after 8 months of travel. In hand were a half dozen offers to serve as editor of newspapers and periodicals, and in January he became editor of Cotta's Morgenblatt. In February he married Luise Hauff and continued to work at an almost frantic pace, disregarding warnings that his many activities were taking a toll on his health. He went into the field to do research for a planned historical novel on the Tyrolean freedom fighter Andreas Hofer. In September he began to complain of lack of appetite and by October was suffering from *Nervenfieber* (nerve fever). Bloodletting did not help him, and his condition grew steadily worse, possibly developing into encephalitis. On November 10 Hauff's first child was born, and on the morning of the eighteenth he asked that chairs be brought into his room and that the *Compagnie*, his group of friends from student days, be assembled. He died that afternoon at the age of twenty-four.
 


Books: 

Der Mann im Mond oder Der Zug des Herzens ist des Schicksals Stimme, as H. Clauren (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1825 (dated 1826)); 

Lichtenstein: Romantische Sage aus der querttembergischen Geschichte, 3 volumes (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1826) translated anonymously as The Banished: A Swabian Historical Tale, edited my James Morier, 3 volumes (London: Colburn, 1839); 

Maehrchenalmanach auf das Jahr 1826, fuer Soehne und Toechter gebildeter Staende (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1826); 

Mittheilungen aus den Memoiren des Satan, 2 volumes (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1826-1827); excerpts translated anonymously as Memoirs of Beelzebub (New York: Taylor, 1846); 

Controvers-Predigt ueber H. Clauren und den Mann im Monde, gehalten vor dem deutschen Publikum in der Herbstmesse 1827. Text: Ev. Matt. VIII. 31-32 (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1827); 

Phantasien im Bremer Rathskeller: Ein Herbstgeschenk fuer Freunde des Weines (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1827); translated by E. Sadler and C.R.L. Fletcher as The Wine-Ghosts of Bremen (Oxford: Blackwell, 1889; New York: White & Allen, 1889); 

Novellen, 3 volumes (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1828); 

Phantasien und Skizzen (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1828); 

Saemtliche Schriften, edited by Gustav Schwab, 36 volumes (Stuttgart: Brodhag, 1830); 

Wilhelm Hauff's Werke, edited by Adolf Stern, 4 volumes (Berlin: Grote, 1878); 

Prosaische und poetische Werke, 12 volumes (Berlin: Hempel, 1879); 

Werke, edited by Max Mendheim, 3 volumes (Leipzig: Bibliographisches Institut, 1891); 

Wilhelm Hauffs Werke, edited by Felix Bobertag, 5 volumes (Stuttgart: Union, deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1891-1892); 

Saemtliche Werke, edited by Carl Georg von Maassen, 5 volumes (Munich & Berlin: Paetel, 1923); 

Werke, edited by Hermann Engelhardt, 2 volumes (Stuttgart: Cotta, 1961-1962); 

Hauffs Werke, edited by Leopold Magon, 2 volumes (Weimar: Volksverlag, 1962); 

Werke, edited by Bernhard Zeller, 2 volumes (Frankfurt am Main: Insel, 1969); 

Saemtliche Werke, edited by Sibylle von Steinsdorff, 3 volumes (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1970); 

Saemtliche Maerchen, edited bei Steinsdorff (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1979); 

Maerchen, edited by Juergen Jahn (Berlin & Weimar: Aufbau, 1982); 

Saemtliche Maerchen, edited by Hans-Heino Ewers (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1986). 

Editions in English:

Select Popular Tales: From the German, translated anonymously (London: Burns, 1845)-comprises *The Caravan,* *The Cold Heart,* *The Sheik of Alexandria and His Slaves,* *The Legend of the Hirschgulden,* and *The Portrait of the Emperor;* 

The Caravan: A Collection of Popular Tales, translated by George Pays Quackenbos (New York: Appleton, 1850); 

Arabian Days' Entertainments, translated by Herbert Pelham Curtis (Boston: Philipps, Sampson, 1858); 

Little Mook, and Other Fairy Tales, translated by P.E. Pinkerton (New York: Putnam's, 1881); republished as Longnose the Dwarf and Other Fairy Tales (London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1903)-comprises *Longnose, the Dwarf,* *The History of Little Mook,*The Caliph Turned Stork,* *The Stone-Cold Heart,* and *The Story of the Silver Florin*; 

Tales of the Caravan, Inn, and Palace, translated by Edward L. Stowell (Chicago: Jansen, McClurg, 1881)-comprises *The Caravan,* *The Inn in the Spessart,* *The Sheik's Palace,* *The Dwarf Nosey,* *Little Muck,* *The Marble Heart,* *The Caliph Stork,* *The Story of Almansor,* *The Rescue of Fatima,* *The False Prince,* *The Hirschgulden,* *Said's Adventures,* *The Cave of Steenfoll,* *Abner the Jew,* *The Young Englishman,* and *The Amputated Hand.* 

Other: 

Kriegs- und Volkslieder, edited by Hauff (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1824); 

*Die Saengerin,* in Frauentaschenbuch fuer das Jahr 1827, edited by Georg Doering (Nuremberg: Schrag, 1862); 

Maehrchenalmanach fuer Soehne und Toechter gebildeter Staende auf das Jahr 1827, edited by Hauff (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1827)-includes Hauff's *Der Scheikh von Alessandrien und seine Scklaven,* *Der Zwerg Nase,* and *Abner der Jude, der nichts gesehen hat;* 

Maehrchenalmanach fuer Soehne und Toechter gebildeter Staende auf das Jahr 1828, edited by Hauff (Stuttgart: Franckh, 1828)-includes tales by Hauff; 

*Das Bild des Kaisers* and *Erklaerung der Kupfer,* in Taschenbuch fuer Damen: Auf das Jahr 1828 (Stuttgart: Cotta, 1828). 

Periodical Publications: 

*Freie Stunden am Fenster* and *Der aesthetische Klub,* Der Eremit in Deutschland, 1, no. 4 (1826); 

*Die Bettlerin vom Pont des Arts,* 50 installments, Morgenblatt, nos. 276-325, November-December 1826; translated anonymously as The True Lover's Fortune; or, The Beggar of the Pont des Arts (Boston: Munroe, 1843); translated anonymously as Josephine; or, The Beggar Girl of the Pont-des-Arts (London: Clarke, 1844); 

*Die belletristischen Zeitschriften in Deutschland,* 2 installments, Blaetter fuer literarische Unterhaltung, nos. 18-19 (20 and 22 January 1827); 

*Urtheil der Englaender ueber deutsche Sitten und Literatur,* 2 installments, Morgenblatt, nos. 22-23, 26-27 January 1827; 

*Korrespondenz,* 2 installments, Berliner Conversations-Blatt fuer Poesie, Literatur und Kritik, 1 (15 and 17 February 1827);

*Jud Suess,* 24 installments, Morgenblatt, nos. 157-163, 165-70, 172-182, 2-31 July 1827; translated by *B.T.* as TheJew Suss: A Tale of Stutgard, in 1737 (Philadelphia: Moore, 1845). 

Papers: 

Wilhelm Hauff's papers are in the Deutsches Literatur-Archiv in the Schiller Nationalmuseum, Marbach, West-Germany.