Christian Dietrich Grabbe

Christian Dietrich Grabbe
Christian Dietrich Grabbe

Statue in Düsseldorf
Born 11 December 1801
Detmold, Germany
Died 12 September 1836
Occupation Dramatist
Nationality German
Notable work(s) Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung, Don Juan und Faust, Die Hohenstauffen, Die Hermannsschlacht

Christian Dietrich Grabbe (December 11, 1801 – September 12, 1836) was a German dramatist.

Born in Detmold, Lippe, he wrote many historical plays and is also known for his use of satire and irony. He suffered from an unhappy marriage. Heinrich Heine saw him as one of Germany's foremost dramatists, calling him "a drunken Shakespeare".

With Georg Büchner, Grabbe was one of the principal German dramatists of his time. He was influenced by Shakespeare and the Sturm und Drang dramatists. His plays were very ambitious, with crowd scenes and rapid scene changes that challenged the technical capacity of the theaters of the time. He loosened the strict forms of the classicl drama in a loose series of scenes that were a precursor of the realist drama. His plays reveal a disillusioned and pessimistic world view, with some shrill scenes.

After his death, he was at first forgotten, but his work was rediscovered by the Naturalist and Expressionist dramatists. He was honored by the Nazis as a great national author, partly based on a few anti-semitic statements, (particularly in Aschenbrödel) and partly based on his nationalistic portrayal of German history, (Die Hermannsschlacht). In the 1930s, numerous streets were named after him.

Detmold awards the Christian-Dietrich-Grabbe Prize for new dramatic literature since 1994 in association with the Grabbe-Gesellschaft and the Landesverband Lippe.


Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung (1827)
Herzog Theodor von Gotland (1827)
Don Juan und Faust (1829)
Die Hohenstauffen (1829/30)
Napoleon oder Die Hundert Tage (1831)
Hannibal (1835)
Die Hermannsschlacht (1838)

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