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Hans Henny Jahnn


Hans Henny Jahnn was born in 1894 in Stellingen. His father was a ship’s carpenter. When he was nineteen, he and his friend Gottfried Harms tried to run away to Iceland but were brought back. They failed again the following year. They did travel successfully to Norway, to avoid military service. Jahnn started writing and both started designing statues and furniture for their utopian town of Ugrino. Jahnn also started to learn about organs. The pair returned to Germany after World War I, to the town of Eckel, where they were setting up Ugrino. Jahnn had his play published and then staged. He also worked on an organ in a church in Hamburg, repairing Arp Schnitger’s seventeenth-century organ at St. Jacobi. He had a lifelong interest in the organ and, at Ugrino, he and Harms published much German organ music. The two friends married two sisters, Ellinor and Sybille Philips, though remaining bisexual. Harms died in 1931 and, in 1933, Jahnn and his wife left Germany for Denmark when Hitler came to power, returning to Hamburg after the war. He was very opposed to atomic weapons and campaigned against them. He died in 1959. He will be remembered for his unfinished trilogy Fluß ohne Ufer. Sadly only the first book has been translated into English and, even in Germany, he is virtually forgotten.

Books about Hans Henny Jahnn

Jan Bürger: Der gestrandete Wal (biography – in German)

Other links

Hans Henny Jahnn
Hans Henny Jahnn
Hans Henny Jahnn (in German)
Der seltsame Fall des Hans Henny Jahnn (in German)
Die sieben Todsünden des Hans Henny Jahnn (in German)


1919 Pastor Ephraim Magnus (drama)
1921 Die Krönung Richards III. (drama)
1922 Der Arzt / Sein Weib / Sein Sohn (drama)
1924 Der gestohlene Gott (drama)
1926 Medea (drama)
1929 Perrudja (Perrudja) (novel)
1931 Neuer Lübecker Totentanz (with Werner Helwig) (drama)
1931 Straßenecke (drama)
1931 Der Einfluß der Schleifenwindlade auf die Tonbildung der Orgel (on organs)
1948 Armut, Reichtum, Mensch und Tier (drama)
1949 Das Holzschiff (The Ship) (novel – 1st part of Fluß ohne Ufer trilogy)
1949/50 Die Niederschrift des Gustav Anias Horn nachdem er 49 Jahre alt geworden war [The Notebook of Gustav Anias Horn after he was 49 years old] (novel – 2nd part of Fluß ohne Ufer trilogy)
1952 Spur des dunklen Engels (drama)
1953 Klopstocks 150 Todestag am 14. März 1953 (literature)
1954 Dreizehn nicht geheure Geschichten (Thirteen Uncanny Stories) (stories)
1955 Thomas Chatterton (drama)
1956 Die Nacht aus Blei (The Night of Lead) (story)
1959 Die Trümmer des Gewissens (drama)
1959 Aufzeichnungen eines Einzelgängers: Eine Auswahl aus dem Werk (selections)
1961 Epilog [Epilogue] (novel – 3rd part of Fluß ohne Ufer trilogy)
1964 Über den Anlaß und andere Essays (essays)
1968 Ugrino und Ingrabanien (novel fragment)
1968 Jeden ereilt es (novel (Bath House) fragment)
1968 Perrudja II. Fragment aus dem Nachlaß (novel fragment)
1984 Das Hans Henny Jahnn Lesebuch
2012 The Living Are Few, The Dead Many: Selected Works of Hans Henny Jahnn