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German characters: Wilhelm Busch Posted by on Jan 15, 2012 in Culture, Folklore, History, Language, Literature, People

Today I want to introduce another German character to you. This one is for sure not as bekannt (famous) as Albert Einstein for example. But anyway he made his contribution to German poetry, humor and language.

Heinrich Christian Wilhelm Busch was born on April 15th 1832 in Widensahl. He was one of the most influentual humorous Dichter (poets) and Zeichner (drawers) in Germany. His first picture story was released in 1859. Already in the 1870´s he was one of the most famous characters in Germany. At the time of his death, he was seen as a „Classic of German humor“ who reached a great popularity with his satiric Bildergeschichten (picture stories).

Today he is also seen as a Pionier (pioneer) in comic strips. Some of his most famous Werke (creations) are:

– Max und Moritz
– Die fromme Helene
– Plisch und Plum
– Hans Huckebein, der Unglücksrabe
– Die Knopp-Trilogie

Many of his two-liners like „Vater werden ist nicht schwer, Vater sein dagegen sehr“ (To become father is very easy, but to be a father is not easy at all) or „Dieses war der erste Streich, doch der zweite folgt sogleich“ (This was the first coup, but the second one will follow immediately) became  figures of speech in German Sprachgebrauch (linguistic usage). His satires mock attributes of certain people or groupings. So he often offends the self-satisfaction and doubtable moral opinions of Spießbürger (philistines) and the bigotry of civil and clerical persons with his picture stories.

Busch was an earnest and close-mouthed man who lived many years in provincial Zurückgezogenheit (reclusiveness). He didn´t cherish his own picture stories. For him they were just a way to earn some money to advance his financial situation after unfinished studies of arts and a long lasting financial Abhängigkeit (dependency) on his parents.

His attempt to become a serious painter failed with his own demands on quality. So he destroyed most of his paintings. That things that were left couldn´t be related to a special style. His lyrical compositions and Prosa (prose) unfortunately were not accepted by the audience because the people clearly associated Wilhelm Busch with his picture sories.

The failure of becoming a serious artist was something that bothered him until his death in Mechtshausen on January 9th 1908. He stopped working long before that, because based on using eyeglasses and having a shaky hand, he was feeling old.

Some vocabulary to this post:
bekannt – famous
der Dichter – poet
der Zeichner – drawer
die Bildergeschichte – picture story
der Pinoier – pioneer
das Werk – creation
der Sprachgebrauch – linguistic usage
der Spießbürger – philistine
die Zurückgezogenheit –  reclusiveness
die Abhängigkeit – dependency
die Prosa – prose

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About the Author:jan

My name is Jan and I live in the south west of Germany. My profession is being a project manager at a company that creates digital media (first of all internet related things). This is my job since over a decade so I´m quite familiar with the web and its tools. Whereat today almost every school kid does. But that´s one of the main reasons why nowadays there are quasi no more limits in the internet and so it can be used for all imaginable types of things. For example learning languages! And that´s where we are at the moment. I first got in touch with Transparent Language when my family and I used to live in France a couple of years ago. I just had a break from work and by coincidence I produced some cultural videos in French. A few months later the whole blogging thing came up and I was lucky to be a part of it. So now my (second) job is to feed you with information, exercises, vocabulary, grammar and stories about Germany and German language. For being a passionate videographer I´m trying to do this more and more by videos. If you have any wishes or needs of topics that should be treated here, please don´t hesitate to contact me via a comment field. I´m open to your suggestions (as long as they are not too individual) and will try to satisfy your needs.