Heinrich Mann: Der Untertan [Man of Straw]

(1645 words)
  • Stephen Grollman (Concordia College )

Heinrich Mann’s novel Der Untertan [The Loyal Subject, 1918] is considered among the few great satirical novels in early twentieth-century German literature and Heinrich Mann’s most important novel. Published after the end of the First World War, it offers a polemical depiction of the early years in the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II toward the end of the nineteenth century. The novel follows the rise to fame and fortune of the young middle-class industrialist Diederich Hessling in the fictional Prussian provincial town of Netzig. His success is due to his unscrupulous opportunism, particularly his ability to exploit the newly emerging value system in 1890s Imperial Germany: a mixture of …

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Grollman, Stephen. "Der Untertan". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 November 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11420, accessed 29 September 2016.]