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Klein, Julius Leopold


KLEIN, JULIUS LEOPOLD (1810–1876), playwright and literary historian who wrote in German. Born in Miskolc, Hungary, Klein took a medical degree at Berlin University, but never practiced his profession. He edited Baltische Blaetter at Wismar (1838), and then settled in Berlin, where he became a member of the circle of K.A. Varnhagen von Ense. There he began his career as a dramatist with the publication of his tragedy Concini (1841), the title of which was later changed to Maria von Medici. Klein's later tragedy Kavalier und Arbeiter (1850), inspired by the revolt of the Silesian Weavers in 1844, was the first serious attempt in German drama to portray the proletariat and the new problems created by the Industrial Revolution. Like his other plays, it has a complicated plot, lacks unity, and tends to pile horror upon horror. Klein's real claim to fame is based on his monumental Geschichte des Dramas (1865–76), a history of drama up to Shakespeare, of which 13 volumes were completed, but not including the history of German drama. His letters were published as Briefe von Klein an Varnhagen von Ense, ed. J. Trostler, in: Ungarische Rundschau (1914).


M. Glatzel, Julius Leopold Klein als Dramatiker (1914); S. Liptzin, Weavers in German Literature (1926), ch. 4. add. bibliography: H.H. Houben, Jungdeutscher Sturm und Drang. Ergebnisse und Studien (1911).

[Sol Liptzin]

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