SUDERMANN, HERMANN (1857- ), German dramatist and novelist, was born on the 30th of September 1857 at Matziken in East Prussia, close to the Russian frontier, of a Mennonite family long settled near Elbing. His father owned a small brewery in the village of Heydekrug, and Sudermann received his early education at the Realschule in Elbing, but, his parents having been reduced in circumstances, he was apprenticed to a chemist at the age of fourteen. He was, however, enabled to enter the Realgymnasium in Tilsit, and to study philosophy and history at Konigsberg University. In order to complete his studies Sudermann went to Berlin, where he was tutor in several families. He next became a journalist, was from 1881-1882 editor of the Deutsches Reichsblatt, and then devoted himself to novel-writing. The novels and romances Im Zwielicht (1886), Frau Sorge (1887), Geschwister (1888) and Der Katzensteg (1890) failed to bring the young author as much recognition as his first drama Die Ehre (1889), which inaugurated a new period in the history of the German stage. Of his other dramas the most successful were Sodoms Ende (i8gi),Heimat (1893), Die Schmetterlingsschlacht (1894), DasGliick im Winkel (1895), Morituri (1896), Johannes (1898), Die drei Reiherfedern (1899), Johannesfeuer (1900), Es lebe das Leben ! (1902), Der Sturmgesdle Sokrates (1903) and Stein unter Steinen (1905). Sudermann is also the author of a powerful social novel, Es war (1904), which, like Frau Sorge and Der Katzensteg, has been translated into English.
See W. Kawerau, Hermann Sudermann (1897); H. Landsberg, Hermann Sudermann (1902); H. Jung, Hermann Sudermann (1902); H. Schoen, Hermann Sudermann, poete dramatique et romancier (1905); and I. Axelrod, Hermann Sudermann (1907).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)