Lorm, Hieronymus

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LORM, HIERONYMUS (pseudonym of Heinrich Landesmann ; 1821–1902), Austrian poet and novelist. The son of a prosperous Moravian merchant, Lorm was born in Nikolsburg and raised in Vienna. He studied music until he lost his hearing at the age of 15. Shortly afterward his sight began to fail and he eventually became totally blind. Throughout the 1840s, Lorm wrote liberal lyrics and articles, using various pseudonyms in order to avoid political persecution. Moving first to Leipzig and then to Berlin, he became the literary correspondent of the influential periodical Die Grenzboten, but returned to Vienna in 1848. Here he befriended the young composer Anton *Rubinstein and the novelist Berthold *Auerbach. Auerbach, who married Hieronymus' sister, inspired the character of the young Jewish intellectual in Gabriel Solmar, Lorm's most popular novel, which originally appeared in 1855 as Ein Zoegling des Jahres 1848. Gabriel Solmar tells of a Jew's disillusionment with the panacea of general emancipation and of his return to his own people though not to religious Orthodoxy. It also deals with the political intrigues of the revolutionary period. Other novels of Jewish interest are Am Kamin (2 vols., 1857), Todte Schuld (1878), Der Ehrliche Name: Aus den Memoiren einer Wiener Juedin (1880), and Ausserhalbder Gesellschaft (1881). Since Lorm could communicate only by a touch system, he gradually reconciled himself to a life devoted solely to literary pursuits. He wrote several volumes of short stories, and some touching poems deeply influenced by Nicolaus Lenau's Weltschmerz. His last volume of poems, Nachsommer, appeared in 1896 and was filled with pessimism. The publication of his Philosophisch-kritische Streifzuege (1873) gained him an honorary doctorate from the University of Leipzig. From 1873 to 1892 Lorm lived in Dresden, where he worked as a journalist and published a dozen novels, the best known of which was Die schoene Wienerin (1886). He moved to Bruenn in 1892 and from then until his death devoted himself to philosophical writing, including his main work in this field, Der grundlose Optimismus (1894).


K. Kreisler, Hieronymus Lorms Schicksal und Werk (1922); J. Straub, Hieronymus Lorm (Ger., 1960). Add. Bibliography: J. Vesely, Marie von Ebner Eschenbach und Hieronymus Lorm, in: K.K. Polheim (ed.), Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1994), 81–96; idem, Hieronymus Lorm und Adalbert Stifter, in: I. Fialová-Fuerstová (ed.), Maehrische deutschsprachige Literatur (1999), 94–102.

[Sol Liptzin]