First Advisor

Franz Langhammer

Term of Graduation

Spring 1970

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German


Foreign Languages




Fritz von Unruh (1885-1970). Ein Geschlecht



Physical Description

1 online resource (84 pages)


Fritz: von Unruh, who lives at Oranienhof in Diez an der Lahn, was born in 1885. He wrote the first two parts of his trilogy Ein Geschlecht during the literary movement in Germany which is known as "Expressionismus". The yet unpublished third part was not finished until 1958. It was in this trilogy that he developed his ideas of a new world.

The upheaval and destruction of World War I shattered the complacency of life and traditions which had so long been ingrained in Europe. This traumatic experience resulted in a new examination of life, its meaning and sense. The stark reality in which Germany found herself after the war and the contradictory abundance of material, intellectual and spiritual striving in social and economic worlds appeared as a prelude for a new order in the world Gestalt. It was during this time that Unruh began work on his trilogy which was to incorporate his idea of a new world.

Two facts are especially important in the development of his ideas. First, he himself was of noble birth. The traditions of unquestionable service and loyalty to church and state were a part of him. The sense of duty which was deeply ingrained in him experienced, however, a fundamental change. This change became the nucleus for his trilogy. Secondly, his experiences as an officer in World War I served as an impetus in the development of his Weltanschauung.

His newly found idea of a new world may be seen as an evolving process which first finds expression in his war poem Vor der Entscheidung and is brought to realization in the trilogy. The central theme of this thesis is an interpretation of these works which will show the development of his ideas. They lead us from rebellion to chaos and to a new cosmos.


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