15 most famous German writers

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

The German school of thinkers and philosophers significantly influenced culture – and especially literature. Almost every book emerged from the pen of a German writer, differs deep metaphorical and serious moral message. And it doesn’t go whether it’s about philosophical works or about the direction of young adult, especially popular among modern Germanic authors.

Therefore, reading literature from German writers is excellent a way to broaden your horizons or understand something about human nature. And for those who want to get acquainted with the most famous sponsored by Germany, we compiled a ranking of the most popular. Into him 15 German writers entered – from classical to modern, from representatives of the art school to the authors of children and youth books.

To make a rating of the 15 most famous German writers used data from second-hand online stores. The more purchases and saveings the author has, the higher his position in top.

Overview of the most famous German writers

Nomination a place Author Rating
Overview of the most famous German writers 1 Bernhard Schlink 4.1
2 Cornelia Funke 4.2
3 Otfried Preusler 4.3
4 Kerstin Gere 4.4
5 Patrick Suskind 4.5
6 Heinrich Böll 4.5
7 Michael Ende 4.5
8 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 4.6
9 Thomas Mann 4.7
10 Hermann Hesse 4.7
11 Gunter Grass 4.7
12 Anna Frank 4.8
13 Franz Kafka 4.8
14 Erich Maria Remarque 4.9
15 Ernst Theodore Amadeus Hoffmann 5.0

Rating: 4.1


Bernhard Schlink began his career with a very frivolous genre – from detective novels about a private investigator. This start looks like at least extraordinary. The writer himself is a doctor of sciences, professor, successful lawyer specializing in constitutional law. No one I didn’t expect him to start with boulevard reading.

But novels about a private detective were only the beginning of literary careers. The popularity of Bernhard Schlink brought a book calling “Reader”. She came out in 1995 – and almost immediately got on the list The New York Times best seller.

The popularity of “Reader” received quite deservedly. In the novel, the writer raised quite complex and often taboo topics, such as a question of guilt, the relationship between a teenager and an adult woman, as well as Nazism. However, critics say the Reader is a book about forgiveness. And partly they are right. Although, of course, one of the characters books guilty of a crime against humanity.

Lawyer by education and vocation, Bernhard Schlink often raises guilt and guilt in their books. Even in the first “tabloid” novels, these concepts are viewed through a prism the uncertainties of the past. But sometimes he considers another problems, turning in stories to love, a woman’s place in the world, power and greatness.

Cornelia Funke

Rating: 4.2


Cornelia Funke – German writer famous for novels for children and adolescents. At the time of this writing, she has a little more than 40 books were published, five of which were screened. Cornelia Funke is best known for her Inkheart trilogy, whose first book served as the basis for the eponymous Hollywood blockbuster.

Cornelia Funke’s work is highly appreciated by literary critics. So, for the “King of Thieves” she received two American premiums. He was also appreciated by the Guardian, calling him the most important representative children’s literature. And in 2005, the Times was named Cornelia Funke the most influential German on the planet.

Cornelia Funke’s favorite genre is fantasy. However, a series of books “Wild Chickens” is written in the genre of classic children’s literature and talks about the company of girls, their growing up and relationship with by other people. “King of thieves” despite some fantastic assumptions also tells of boyish friendship and adventures.

This understanding of childish life came to Cornelia Funke not just So. Prior to the first book, she worked in the social service. In her responsibilities included caring for children with disabilities. And the writer noted that kids really appreciate fascinating stories that help distract from unpleasant reality. Therefore, her books are partly escapist – in the described plots and worlds I want to “escape.”

Otfried Preusler

Rating: 4.3


Otfried Preusler, German writer who worked in the second half XX century, can not boast of a large bibliography. Behind almost six decades of work, he released just a little less than a dozen books. But at the same time he is very famous in the post-Soviet space.

His books first appeared in the post-Soviet space in early 90s. These are children’s tales that are simultaneously immersed in a fantasy world, mixed and raised important for everyone child questions, very fond of boys, girls and their to parents. Otfried Preusler’s Creative Debut – The Little Book Watermark “, released in 1956.

Traditional for German, Slavic and urban mythology negative characters – water, ghosts and Baba Yaga – appear in the books of Preussler positive. This approach distinguishes him from the rest of children’s writers. In addition, he significantly influenced further works of art – no longer succeeded scare the child with ghosts or Baba Yaga.

After the death of Otfried Preusler in 2013, his relatives published memoirs of the writer. And this is far from children’s literature. During the Second World War, the writer was imprisoned in Soviet captivity – and in his memoirs he talked about experienced.

Kerstin Gere

Rating: 4.4


Kerstin Gere is a modern German writer who known for her books in the genre of teenage fiction (more precisely, the so-called direction of young adult) and female literature. The most popular piece is Timeless. This is a trilogy about time travel aimed at girls and at one time became the basis for films of the same name.

Being targeted at young girls, literature by Kerstin Gere doesn’t put a fantastic assumption in the first place. Main attention in the books is given to the experiences of the heroines taking place on background of historical events. Due to some cliché criticism do not speak too positively about the works of Kerstin Gere, and also note too explicit use of common tricks teenage fiction, but nonetheless it didn’t stop the trilogy Timeless to become incredibly popular not only in Germany but also beyond.

However, not only teenage fiction boasts this German writer. There are novels in her bibliography that based on the works and cosmology created by J. R. R. Tolkien. However, only a few books outside the trilogy Timeless were translated into Russian (or even at least English) tongue.

Patrick Suskind

Rating: 4.5

Patrick Suskind

Patrick Suskind – one of the most prominent and famous representatives German postmodernism. His most popular novel is Perfumer. The story of one killer “was translated into 47 world languages, and the total circulation amounted to more than 12 million copies. According to the book also a scandalous movie was staged.

However, the local popularity came to the German writer a little earlier – with the release of his monologue play “Double Bass”. In her the author raised questions of the place of the “little man” in the world. To “hold on”, people are forced to sacrifice the most important elements of their life for work, productivity and success.

Thanks to Double Bass, Patrick Suskind became famous as a playwright. He became the author of not only theatrical works, but also movie scripts. In the future, he also addresses issues of life. “little man.” For example, this topic is raised in the story. “Dove” and is partially addressed in “The Tale of Sir Sommer. ”

Perfumer, in turn, is the second published work of the author. And it was it that brought him world popularity. In addition to the actual adaptation, it also became the basis for rock opera and served as a source of inspiration for groups Rammstein, Aria and Maty.

Heinrich Böll

Rating: 4.5

Heinrich Böll

Heinrich Böll is one of the most famous German writers. Not only successful writer (in 1972 he received the Nobel prize), but also a translator, playwright and songwriter, he was recognized both at home and around the world.

Both German and world fame came to Heinrich Böll in the early 1960s years after the release of two novels – “Billiards at half past nine” and “Through the eyes of a clown.” The first is devoted to criticism of Nazism and expresses almost pacifist point of view of the author. Böll hates war and everything connected with it. And the novel “Through the eyes of a clown” criticizes religion and church institutions.

Critics have a positive attitude towards the work of Heinrich Böll. They noted that the author in his works very accurately covers reality and not afraid to demonstrate “awkward” topics, including including those associated with criticism of German nationalism; as well as skillfully creates characters – their characters become textured, detailed and very realistic.

In his latest works, Heinrich Böll criticizes government mechanisms that invade the lives of ordinary citizens. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum … and Caring are dedicated to this. siege. “In novels, the writer points to danger not only the state, but also the press – and often it’s not too separate from another.

Michael Ende

Rating: 4.5

Michael Ende

Michael Ende – one of the most screened children’s writers second half of the XX century. However, the literature behind his authorship hard to call “suitable exclusively for the child.” Stories, which Michael Ende tells in his books and adults, because they carefully balance on the verge of children’s perceptions and quite serious life issues.

Perhaps the most famous work of Michael Ende is “Endless story”. However, it gained popularity in mainly due to numerous adaptations (three films, series and even a computer game). The plot and imagery of “Endless History” imbued with elements of Germanic mythology, the occultism of Alistair Crowley and even escapism, and the very structure of the book implies the presence of a “work in a work”, which greatly complicates perception. Therefore, to call this novel childish literature is extremely complicated.

But here is the “Magic Punch”, which became the basis for the animated series “Vunchun” is quite children’s literature. Dark tale that especially like boys and girls over 12 years old. Rest also unlikely to be able to unravel all the symbolism that the author hides the “second layer.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Rating: 4.6

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is not just one of the most famous German writers. He is literally the creator of a new literary genre – the so-called “educational novel.”

“Educational novel” is a special direction in literature Enlightenment, which implies a detailed description moral, spiritual and psychological development of the main a hero. The genre arose with the release of the work “Years of the teachings of William Meister “by Goethe, in which the hero throughout his life radically changes his views. If at the beginning of the novel a character – fan of art, dreaming of becoming an actor, then in the end, after several years of “apprenticeship”, he is imbued with the “prose of life” and acquires new, much more mundane goals.

But Goethe’s most famous work is, of course, a tragedy. “Faust”, a monumental work, work on which took more than 60 years old. It has been translated into almost all world languages, repeatedly screened and staged in the form of theatrical plays. “Faust” was written throughout Goethe’s life – and therefore literally reflects all metamorphoses of the author’s creativity, starting as a dramatic work, and ending as a collection of fabrications, in which the writer tries to understand the nature of politics, philosophy and natural sciences. The second part of the tragedy was written in times of romanticism, therefore it is full of complex, obscure and heavy for recognition by metaphors.

Thomas Mann

Rating: 4.7

Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann is a German writer who is especially widely known their epic novels. His prose is intellectual, in the style continues the thoughts of famous Russian authors. how Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, whom Thomas Mann calls his teachers, the author writes slowly, filling the novels with many descriptions, details and details.

But if Thomas Mann imitates novels of the 19th century with stylistics, then filling his work closer to the prose of the sample of the XX century – when he actually wrote. In the works, the author is not shy to raise bold, expressionistically heated themes.

In most of the works of Thomas Mann, important topics is the approach of death. The way people feel it, how worry that they feel at the same time. The novels are also observed issues of proximity to the infernal world, complemented by anticipation the collapse of the familiar world order with all its possible consequences.

In 1929, Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. The jury separately highlighted his novel “Buddenbrooks”. In that the work of the writer tells about the life and fall of the same name family of wealthy merchants. Part of the “Buddenbrooks” is autobiographical work. The novel describes four generations family and captures the period of both formation and decline.

Hermann Hesse

Rating: 4.7

Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse – German writer whom critics called the last representative of the era of romanticism. And no wonder. IN 1896-1962, when Hermann Hesse created, young authors are already in full swing investigated the features of modernism and postmodernism in their novels, while this writer kept the tradition of classical German literature, creating in the same direction as Goethe and Schiller.

Elements of romanticism can be traced in almost all, even in later works of Hesse. In his novels, the characters confront the world around them, they travel or try to find yourself. In addition, the author often disguises one genre under another. AND this is especially pronounced in his most famous, truly the main work – the novel “The Bead Game”, for which German Hesse received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.

In this philosophical essay disguised as surreal a novel, Hesse describes the cultural collapse of society. Action Games in beads “occurs in some future where people have lost the ability critically judge the authority of statements. And in the end, philosophy becomes the subject of controversy among journalists, about the economy began to argue the artists, and any sample of art has become only subject of entertainment to the public.

The author is also not shy about using really complex expressive techniques. For example, in the same “Bead Game” language subject to mathematical rules. As a result, it becomes difficult for understanding, and also refers to Leibniz’s concepts and ideas synergetics.

Gunter Grass

Rating: 4.7


Gunter Grass – German writer brought fame attempts to study the nature of Nazism. And this so delicate it touches on topics for a reason. In front of the writer the moral decline of the whole city of Danzig (now called Gdansk), and the author himself voluntarily served in the Wehrmacht.

Gunter Grass also voluntarily admitted this, but only in 2006 year. According to him, he went to serve in the Wehrmacht only in order to break out of the parental home, from the native cities where, as he believed, he found himself in a “social trap.” In addition, the writer honestly admitted that he succumbed to the action Nazi propaganda, instilling in the minds of youth heroic, patriotic ideas.

The first works of the author saw the light after the Second World War war. The writer began with small plays and poems, periodically “bumping” into the theater of the absurd. And in 1959, Gunter Grass published the novel “Tin Drum”, which brought him fame and popularity – in including outside of Germany.

The Tin Drum is a prime example of Gunter Grass. Using techniques such as “the narrator’s insecurity” and abundance short forms, the writer tells ironic and gloomy parables. However, through this prism, the author explores real phenomena and events.

Gunter Grass’s talent was noted by the Nobel Committee – in 1999 the year the author received a prize in literature.

Anna Frank

Rating: 4.8

Anne Frank

Probably calling Anna Frank a “German writer” is not entirely correctly. This girl deliberately did not publish a single book. The topics however, her Anne Frank Diary, published after her death, significantly influenced world culture, history and even politics.

Anna Frank was a native of Germany. She was born in 1929 in Frankfurt am Main. However, she was Jewish, and after coming Hitler to power with her family was forced to leave for Netherlands. But there they found the girl too – and with relatives they sent to Auschwitz.

“Anne Frank Diary” is a collection of notes that the girl began to lead in June 1942. In it, she criticized Nazism and talked about war crimes committed by supporters Hitler regime in relation to the Jews. “Anne Frank Diary” – not quite literature, this is a full-fledged historical document, talk about persecution and oppression, one of the testimonies The Holocaust.

Anne Frank’s recordings of life in the Vault. About herself, her relatives, other inhabitants of this shelter. Notes cease on August 1, 1944 – three days before the inhabitants of the shelter will be shot by the Gestapo. And just a few months before the death of Anne Frank from typhoid fever, which she infected in one of the Nazi concentration camps.

Anne Frank’s Diary has been translated into several languages, including Russian, and became the basis for a number of theatrical productions and movies.

Franz Kafka

Rating: 4.8

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka – not only one of the most famous German writers, but also, in principle, a key figure in the literature of the XX century. IN his anxious, difficult to read and perceive works he touches on issues of fear, fear of authority, power, power and the world.

Most of Kafka’s works are built on the same storyline. They tell about a person who is faced with surreal, incomprehensible difficulties. In “Transformation” the protagonist for an unknown reason turns into so a disgusting insect that even relatives are shunning it – and suffers from guilty feelings that he can no longer provide for his family. In the “Process” the central character is arrested by to an unknown occasion – and the whole romance he, traveling the world surreal bureaucracy, trying to find out the reason, or at least sentence. In the unfinished Castle, the protagonist arrives at surreal Village, where he is trying to at least stay.

Kafka’s novels have a theme of alienation. His characters are losing contact with society or do not find it (as presented in “America” ​​and “Castle”). In addition, the author raises questions. absurdity, existential issues, feelings of guilt and worries.

It is worth noting that during the life of Franz Kafka published only some short storybooks. Main part of it Creativity saw the light only after the death of the writer – thanks the decision of his executor, who found manuscripts and drafts.

Erich Maria Remarque

Rating: 4.9

Erich Maria Remarque

Erich Maria Remarque – one of the most famous writers, representing the so-called “lost generation”. Born between the two world wars, they went to the front itself early age and quickly knowing death. This was becoming the leitmotif of their work.

And the most famous work of Erich Maria Remarque – “On Western Front without Change “- clearly demonstrates life and behavior “lost generation.” Let it narrate about the times of the First World. The protagonist of the novel is 19-year-old German Paul Boymer, went to the Western Front and there faced realities military life, not as “rainbow” as the German painted them propaganda.

“On the Western Front Without Change” turned out to be so anti-war a novel that the NSDAP first banned screening in 1930 works, and with the Nazis coming to power, disgrace fell into the book itself. Together with other works of Remarque, its instances seized from shops and libraries (including private) and publicly burned.

The rest is the work of Erich Maria Remarque, except that Shelter of Dreams also touches on the theme of war in one way or another. For example, in “Three Comrades” the heroes are haunted by memories of combat past. And in the last lifetime novel, “Night at Lisbon “author openly criticizes Nazism, demonstrating how noticeably he influenced the state of Europe.

Ernst Theodore Amadeus Hoffmann

Rating: 5.0

Ernst Theodore Amadeus Hoffmann

Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann – one of the brightest representatives classic German romanticism, even if his work is noticeable different from the works of other writers of the time. In his works can be found elements of satire and sarcasm, although a common mythology and cosmology are impressive – reality is mythologized, intersecting with the celestial and supernatural worlds, mixing with by them – and every phenomenon has both ordinary and unusual side.

Hoffmann in his work was not limited only to literature. He is known both as a composer and as an artist. But in the modern world Hoffmann’s popularity was brought by two of his dark tales – The Nutcracker and Sandman.

Sandman at first glance has nothing to do with sandman – a character of folk legends. But only with a subsequent examination reveals deep symbolism and an additional level of mythology of the work. The story itself which consider significant for Hoffmann and determining his work, tells the story of Nathaniel, a man losing his mind after looking in spyglass. But the main character of the work is a doll girl. IN later it is found in a large number of works of others writers.

“The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, although it is a children’s fairy tale, also clearly demonstrates the features of Hoffmann’s work. As the development of the plot of this “story in the story” two worlds – reality and fantasy – intersect. Characters that were human beings become dolls, and doll toys turn into people. In addition, Hoffmann uses the technique of an “unreliable storyteller” – with the girl Marie, narrating about her adventures in a magical land, fever. So which is not clear whether to trust her.

The Nutcracker became especially popular after Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote a ballet based on this tale. Also its processing the works were made by Alexander Dumas the father. The Nutcracker came out many cartoons and movies.

Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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