Berg, Leo

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BERG, LEO (1862–1908), German essayist. A founder of the Berlin literary group Durch (1887) and editor of its Akademische Zeitschrift, he popularized the aesthetic principles of German naturalism. Berg called attention to the importance of Ibsen's innovations in Henrik Ibsen und das Germanentum in der modernen Literatur (1887). Five years later, he distanced himself from naturalism in his book Der Naturalismus. In the essays of Zwischen zwei Jahrhunderten (1896) he maintained his skeptical attitude toward all established writers. He defended *Heine against antisemitic detractors, and espoused the cause of Tolstoy. Berg prophesied that national literatures would give way to a common European literature as the expression of the emerging "good European." In his volume, Der Uebermensch in der modernen Literatur (1897; Superman in Modern Literature, 1916), he revealed his adoption of Nietzschean doctrines.

add. bibliography:

R. Heuer (ed.), Lexion deutsch-juedischer Autoren, 2 (1993), 162–78, bibl.

[Sol Liptzin]