Fulda, Ludwig

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FULDA, LUDWIG (1862–1939), German playwright. Born in Frankfurt, Fulda's early interest was the German baroque poets; he received his Ph.D. in Heidelberg with a dissertation on Christian Weise (1883) and this was followed by an edition Die Gegner der zweiten schlesischen Schule in the series of Kürschners National-Literatur (1883). Fulda then came under the influence of Sudermann's Naturalism in Berlin, became an Ibsen enthusiast, and in 1889 helped to found the Freie Buehne. During this period he wrote plays of a sociological nature, such as Das verlorene Paradies (1892) and Die Sklavin (1892), remarkable for their clever stage effects and insight into social problems, but lacking in great depth or style. Fulda's greatest success came with his change to a neo-romantic mood in Der Talisman (1892). This comedy on the theme of the fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," was awarded the Schiller Prize, but its performance was banned by the kaiser. Die Zwillingsschwester (1901) displayed his talent for writing graceful verse. Fulda published translations of Molière's Meisterwerke (1892), Beaumarchais' Figaro (1897), Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (1898), Shakespeare's Sonnets (1913), Ibsen's poems and Peer Gynt (1916), and the Spanish dramatists' Meisterlustspiele der Spanier, 2 vols. (1925). In 1928 he was elected president of the Prussian Academy. He was dismissed after Hitler's rise to power and lived in retirement until the Nazis stripped him of his most prized possessions. He then committed suicide.


A. Klaar, Ludwig Fulda (1922). add. bibliography: B. Gajek, "Fulda, Ludwig," in: W. Killy (ed.), Literatur Lexikon, vol. 4 (1989), 64–65. H. Dauer, Ludwig Fulda. Erfolgsschriftsteller.Eine mentalitätsgeschichtlich orientierte Interpretation populärdramatischer Texte (1998).

[Samuel L. Sumberg]