Eloesser, Arthur

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ELOESSER, ARTHUR (Marius Daalmann ; 1870–1938), German literary historian and dramatic critic. Born and educated in Berlin, Eloesser was denied an academic career at the university because of his refusal to convert and thus became a drama critic for the Vossische Zeitung and a producer at the Lessing Theatre in Berlin. He published essays and criticism in the Neue Rundschau and edited the works of Otto Ludwig, Heinrich von Kleist, Shakespeare, and Frank Wedekind. In 1925 Eloesser wrote the first biography of Thomas Mann. His main achievement was Die Deutsche Literatur vom Barock bis zur Gegenwart (2 vols., 1930–31). Its second volume was published in English as Modern German Literature (1933) and contained a preface by Eloesser's cousin, Ludwig Lewisohn. He published monographs on French and German literary figures and an autobiographical work, Die Strasse meiner Jugend (1919). Eloesser was long indifferent to his Jewishness, but he adopted a positive Jewish attitude after Hitler came to power and was impressed by two visits to Palestine. He became an occasional contributor to the Juedische Rundschau and in 1933 published Judentum and deutsches Geistesleben. In 1936 Eloesser published Vom Ghetto nach Europa on the role of the Jews in 19th-century culture from material he had prepared for Juden im deutschen Kulturbereich and whose publication was prohibited by the Nazis. It concentrated on German-Jewish authors such as Moses *Mendelsssohn, Berthold *Auerbach, and Heinrich *Heine. Eloesser promoted the return to Ereẓ Israel; however, on his return from his second journey to Palestine he became severely ill and died in the Jewish hospital in Berlin in 1938.


A. Terwey, "Arthur Eloesser: der Philologe als Kritiker," in: G. Bey (ed.), Berliner Universität und deutsche Literaturgeschichte (1998), 201–14; D. Schaaf, Der Theaterkritiker Arthur Eloesser (1962).

[Ann-Kristin Koch (2nd ed.)]