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Holthusen, Hans Egon, 1913-1997



  • Existence: 1913 - 1997

Hans Egon Holthusen was born on April 15, 1913, in Rendsburg, Germany. He was the oldest of five children of Alma and Johannes Holthusen, who was a Lutheran protestant. In 1924 the family moved to Hildesheim, where Hans Egon attended the Gymnasium Andreanum.

Between 1931 and 1937 Holthusen went to Tübingen, Munich, and Berlin to study German literature, philosophy, and history, and received in 1937 a doctorate for his thesis on Rilke's "Sonette an Orpheus".

The following years Holthusen was a lector for foreign students at the Deutsche Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich. He also worked as a private tutor. During World War II he served in the German Army. After 1945 he became a notable writer and with his poems Klage um den Bruder (1947), Hier in der Zeit. Gedichte (1949), and Labyrinthische Jahre. Neue Gedichte (1952) established himself as a lyric poet.

In the 1950s he focused on literary criticism and essays; he wrote Der unbehauste Mensch (1951), which became a key word in his generation, and the novel Das Schiff. Aufzeichnungen eines Passagiers (1956).

From 1959 Holthusen served as a visiting professor at American universities. He led the Goethe-Institute in New York from 1961 through 1964. In 1968 he accepted appointment as professor of German language and literature at Northwestern University, where he taught until 1981. During this period he was president of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste in Munich (1968-1974), and became a member of the Akademie der Schönen Künste in Berlin, which he abandoned for political reasons in 1983. In 1981 Holthusen went as a fellow to the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. The first volume of his biography of Gottfried Benn. Leben, Werk, Widerspruch. 1886-1922 was published in 1986.

Holthusen died on January 27, 1997, in Munich.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Hans Egon Holthusen (1913-1997) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/15/6
Abstract German poet and literary critic Hans Egon Holthusen taught German Language and Literature at Northwesern University from 1968-1981. His papers contain offprints, manuscripts, publications, and correspondence (copies), which Holthusen received from distinguished European authors, poets, and philosophers.
Dates: 1939-1982