Else Lasker-Schüler

A Life

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About the Book

Else Lasker-Schüler, a pivotal figure in German Expressionism, presided over avant-garde café life in pre–World War I Berlin in much the same way Gertrude Stein did in Paris around the same time. While her work is not yet very well known in the English–speaking world, it has been enjoying a critical and popular revival in Germany.
This full-length biography of Lasker-Schüler—the first in English—explores her poems, plays, prose and graphic works in light of her life. It begins with her fleeing to Switzerland after Hitler’s accession to power in 1933, looks back at her childhood in Wuppertal, then follows her life through to its end in Jerusalem in January 1945. As a Jew, a woman and a bohemian, Lasker-Schüler defied every category. Her two marriages—first to Dr. Berthold Lasker, then to Herwarth Walden, founder of the leading avant-garde periodical, gallery and publishing house, Der Sturm (The Storm)—as well as her interactions with Karl Kraus, Franz Marc, Gottfried Benn, Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem, are documented in letters and poems, many included here both in the original and in translation.

About the Author(s)

The late Betty Falkenberg contributed many articles to German encyclopedias and books. She was a longtime correspondent of the International Herald Tribune, Partisan Review and The New Leader, and a member of the Biography Seminar of New York University. She lived in Lake Forest Park, Washington.

Bibliographic Details

Betty Falkenberg
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: photos, chronology, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1460-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction     1

1 Banished     7
2 Saint Vitus     17
3 Wilted Myrtle     35
4 (1903–1909) The Nights of Tino     51
5 (1910–1912) Storm Years     67
6 Blue Rider     78
7 Café Megalomania: The Pauper Prince     92
8 (1914–1918) War Years     106
9 (1918–1925) “I Unload!”     123
10 (1925–1933) Weimar     137
11 Exile: The Switzerland Years     148
12 Mein Blaues Klavier     163

Chronology     181
Appendices     184
Notes     205
Selected Bibliography     223
Index     231

Book Reviews & Awards

“this book has many positive features…the first biography in English of this eccentric poet and artist…numerous notes…interesting”—Choice; “this biography opens the doors to a brilliant era of German cultural history…Falkenberg has taken Else Lasker-Schuler’s complex personal life—handled here with sensitivity and finesse—and woven it seamlessly into the story of the many artistic milieus in which the poet played a part”—Aufbau.