Ode to the Grey Town on the Sea
With poems like Knecht Ruprecht and Du Graue Stadt am Meer, Theodor Storm (1817-1888) set the tone for the generation following Eichendorff, Heine and Mörike. His novellas – from Immensee to Pole Poppenspäler and Schimmelreiter – have moved readers of all ages from his time to the present. Jochen Missfeldt writes about the life of this strife-torn man – a man at odds with himself, living in an era when people bathed in the fading light of the classical-romantic period even as they took advantage of the benefits of technical progress. It was a time of travel, a time of long journeys and exile. Storm was at once the ultimate romantic and an egotistical hypochondriac, an authoritarian father and a man haunted by homesickness – but above all else he was an unsparing observer, merciless in his criticism of himself and his fellowmen.