Friedrich Gundolf, German Literary Historian, Dead

Prof. Friedrich Gundolf, pioneer German literary historian and professor of German literary history at Heidelberg University, died here today at the age of 51. The son of a university professor, Dr. Gundolf is generally regarded as the creator of the modern scientific vocabulary in literary history.

His lectures on literary history exerted a tremendous influence on the students of Heidelberg, Germany’s most famous university. His lectures sought to demonstrate the link between the creative artistic spirit and ordinary experiences of life by a theory of polarity in which “primary experience” (urerlebnis) and “acquired experience” (bilfingserlebnis) are placed in opposition.

Among his most important works are “Shakespeare and the Germanic Spirit,” a volume on Goethe, a study of his friend and close associate, the poet Stefan George, and “Caesar, the History of His Fame.” In this latter book Professor Gundolf sought to demonstrate the metamorphosis of the European spirit through the activities of one of its most dominant personalities.

Professor Gundolf also made a number of authoritative German translations of Shakespeare’s plays and wrote considerable poetry.

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