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German Literature Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
German Literature Quizzes, Trivia

German Literature Trivia

German Literature Trivia Quizzes

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These quizzes cover a variety of German authors. If you are interested in quizzes about the writing of a specific author, please look for them under the author's name.
7 German Literature quizzes and 80 German Literature trivia questions.
  German Literature up to c.1600   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
A quiz on earlier German Literature. Much of this will be unfamiliar to most outside the German-speaking lands, so please treat this as a learning experience.
Tough, 10 Qns, bloomsby, Mar 17 15
bloomsby gold member
514 plays
  German Literature    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Test your knowledge of German literature from different time periods. "Viel Glück"
Average, 10 Qns, dersteppenwolf, Mar 07 22
Mar 07 22
223 plays
  German Literature, c. 1600-1740   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This period of German literature is not well known, and the quiz includes some general background questions. Please treat it as a learning experience.
Difficult, 10 Qns, bloomsby, Feb 27 16
bloomsby gold member
557 plays
  "Storm and Stress" - "Sturm und Drang"   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The "Sturm und Drang" ("Storm and Stress") movement put German literature firmly on the international literary map. I have tried to keep this quiz easy.
Tough, 10 Qns, bloomsby, Dec 19 16
bloomsby gold member
518 plays
  German 20th Century Novels    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Not all of these books are written BY Germans. But they were all originally written IN German. I will give you the title (in English) and year of publication (in German). You give me the name of the writer.
Average, 15 Qns, author, Jun 17 11
1315 plays
  Post-War German Literature    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
It took some time after World War II before German Literature got on course again. Most of the authors who had not gone into exile, were discredited. Some former exiles opted for the G.D.R. (D.D.R.)- This quiz deals with the complex postwar situation.
Tough, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Jan 10 23
Jan 10 23
595 plays
  Some Questions About German Literature    
Multiple Choice
 15 Qns
Some questions about classic and modern German literature
Tough, 15 Qns, solveig, Jan 10 10
945 plays
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German Literature Trivia Questions

1. If one disregards very early runic inscriptions, what is the oldest text in any of the Germanic languages?

From Quiz
German Literature up to c.1600

Answer: Ulfilas' translation of the parts of the Bible into Gothic

Ulfilas, also known as Wulfila (c.311-383) was a missionary to the Visigoths in Dacia (which corresponds roughly to modern Romania). Between c. 348 and 375 he translated about three-quarters of the New Testament and at least one book of the Old Testament from Greek into Gothic. The Visigoths later moved westwards, sacked Rome in 410, and then set up kingdoms in Southern France and Spain. The best known copy of Ulfilas' translation is the "Codex argentum". It was made in Ravenna during the reign of the Ostrogoth king, Theodric (reigned, 493-526). It was donated to the University of Uppsala in 1669, where it is one of the most important manuscripts in the library. The Gothic (or East Germanic) languages have all died out.

2. "The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge", 1910.

From Quiz German 20th Century Novels

Answer: Rainer Maria Rilke

The Austrian Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is also known as a poet, for example "The Duino Elegies". "The Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge" is a semi-biographical novel.

3. Who wrote the novel 'Effi Briest'?

From Quiz Some Questions About German Literature

Answer: fontane & vontane & fontan & theodor fontane

4. In the seventeenth century the German-speaking lands and many neighbouring areas were afflicted by the Thirty Years' War. What are the dates of this war, which figures prominently in much German literature of the 17th century?

From Quiz German Literature, c. 1600-1740

Answer: 1618-48

The Thirty Years' War is often regarded as a series of conflicts. In most of the areas directly affected it was a disaster. Bands of ill disciplined mercenaries caused much damage and spread disease across Central Europe. Nominally, the war started as a conflict between Roman Catholics and Protestants, but it is generally accepted that it was primarily an attempt by the Habsburgs to re-establish control over the Holy Roman Empire. The attempt failed. The devastation caused by the war accelerated the economic decline of Central Europe by comparison with Western Europe. This war figures in works by authors writing in genres as different as the lyric and the (early) novel. In the longer run it is probably true to say that few other wars before the 20th century have exercised such a fascination for both popular and literary imagination in Germany.

5. Which text is accepted as the earliest known work of German literature?

From Quiz German Literature up to c.1600

Answer: Merseburger Zaubersprüche

The "Merseburger Zaubersprüche" ("Merseburg Spells") are pagan spells or incantations dating from c. 750. The other works listed are later. (The text is named after Merseburg because the manuscript was found in the main library there: it doesn't mean that these spells were used in that area). The "Hildebrandslied" is a somewhat later heroic poem.

6. "The Magic Mountain", 1924.

From Quiz German 20th Century Novels

Answer: Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann (1875-1955) was born in Lübeck, Germany. Writer Heinrich Mann was his brother. "The Magic Mountain" is a vast symbolic work on the subject of disease in mind and body, also relating to a wider sickness of Europe itself. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1929.

7. Which German author fled Berlin, when the Nazis came to power in 1933, returned to East Berlin in 1945 and became Minister for Culture in DDR in 1954 ?

From Quiz Post-War German Literature

Answer: Johannes R. Becher

Brecht was born in Augsburg 1898 and died in East Berlin 1956. Heinrich Mann was the elder brother of Thomas, and was born in Lubeck 1871. Eisler was not a writer but a composer. He and Kurt Weill wrote the music for some of Brecht's works.

8. Which novel made Thomas Mann famous?

From Quiz Some Questions About German Literature

Answer: Buddenbrooks

This novel is about his hometown Luebeck in Northern Germany.

9. Who is was the main character in Schiller's play about the Spanish Monarchy?

From Quiz Some Questions About German Literature

Answer: Don Carlos

10. In an age which saw growing monarchic absolutism, the execution of Charles I was widely viewed in Continental Europe with utter horror as an act of sacrilege. Andreas Gryphius wrote a drama about Charles I. What were the first words of the title?

From Quiz German Literature, c. 1600-1740

Answer: Ermordete Majestät ("Murdered Majesty")

The full (short) title was "Ermordete Majestät oder Carolus Stuardus". Despite the horror mentioned in the question there was also some muted sympathy with the Parliamentary side in some of the free cities of the Empire. Andreas Gryphius (1616-64) is widely regarded as the leading German writer of the 17th century. His greatest strengths were tragedy and lyrical poetry. (Incidentally, England already had a reputation second to none for killing its kings: William II, Edward II, Richard II, Henry VI, Edward V and Richard III had all been killed. However, this was the first case where an English king had been killed by rebellious commoners).

11. Which German playwright got his own theatre 'am Schiffbauerdamm' in East-Berlin in 1954, but died two years later ?

From Quiz Post-War German Literature

Answer: Bertold Brecht

Ingeborg Bachmann Austrian author, b. Klagenfurt 1926. Died Rome, 1973. Gunther Eich. Poet and author of a radioplay 'Traume' (= 'Dreams'.) 1951. Martin Walser wrote 'Ein springender Brunnen' (1988) and is also a playwright.

12. What was the profession of Gottfried Benn, poet and essayist in the Twenties?

From Quiz Some Questions About German Literature

Answer: Medical Doctor

Gottfried Benn run a small doctor's practice in Berlin, specializing in treating prostitutes.

13. A German poet of the first half of the 17th century settled in England in 1620 and from 1625 was Secretary for Foreign Tongues ('Latin Secretary'). In 1649 he was succeeded in this post by John Milton. Who was it?

From Quiz German Literature, c. 1600-1740

Answer: Georg Weckherlin

Weckherlin (1584-1653) married an Englishwoman in 1616, and from 1620-25 was in the service of the exiled court of the Count (Elector) Palatine in London. Simon Dach (1605-59) was one of the least pretentious and least 'baroque' poets of the period. Martin Opitz (1597-1639) is well known for his "Buch von der deutschen Poeterey" - a work on poetics which was published in 1624 and which was influential for the rest of the century. Daniel Morhof (1631-91) is best known for a book on poetics that includes a history of the German language and poetry, entitled "Unterricht von der teutschen Sprache und Poesie". The historical section is remarkably wide-ranging and scholarly and one of the first of its kind - and contains the first known mention of Shakespeare in any book published in Continental Europe (other than catalogues).

14. During the Golden Age of Middle High German literature (c.1190-1250) and also in the preceding twenty years or so, much excellent lyric poetry was written. Who, by common consent, is regarded as the leading lyric poet of the period?

From Quiz German Literature up to c.1600

Answer: Walther von der Vogelweide

Der von Kürenberg's poetry was written in c. 1150-70. In form, the verses are traditional Germanic, and his poetry clearly predates the influence of Provencal poetry in the German-speaking lands. He is best known for the poem 'Ich zoch mir einen Valken'. Dietmar von Aist's poems share some of these characteristics, too. Heinrich von Morungen is widely regarded as the second greatest lyric poet of the time. However, in terms of quality and quantity, the work of Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170-1228) is superior and covers a very wide range of subjects. He is, arguably, the most outstanding German lyric poet before Goethe.

15. "All Quiet on the Western Front", 1929.

From Quiz German 20th Century Novels

Answer: Erich Maria Remarque

Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970) was a soldier in WW1, and this novel is one of the first anti-war novels. The novel (and the film version of it) led to his being exiled to Switzerland in 1938. He later lived in the USA. (His original name was Erich Paul Remark, but from 1923 onwards he called himself Erich Maria Remarque).

16. In 1958 a sensation was created by Gunther Grass when he published 'The Tin Drum'. Where was the story situated ?

From Quiz Post-War German Literature

Answer: Danzig aka Gdansk

Konigsberg is where Immanuel Kant was born. The three other cities all are known as places of protest during the postwar Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. First there were the Poznan Riots June 1956, after Stalin's death. Then followed the Prague spring in 1968. The strikes in Gdansk were the beginning of the end of Soviet rule in Poland.

17. What is the "Sturm und Drang" literary movement associated with?

From Quiz German Literature

Answer: Romanticism

The "Sturm und Drang" (Storm and Stress) movement characterized German romanticism and countered the rational Enlightenment and Neo-Classicism. This movement in literature, art, and music emphasized emotion, nature, and individualism.

18. When firmly established as a writer Gunther Grass began to intervene in German politics and actively supported a particular German politician. Who was that politician?

From Quiz Post-War German Literature

Answer: Willy Brandt

Other works by Grass are 'Cat and Mouse' 1961; 'Dog Years' 1963. W.Brandt was the leader of the SPD from 1964 till 1987. He became Chancellor of G.F.R. in 1969 and stayed in power till 1974. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1971. Konrad Adenauer(b. Cologne 1876- d. Rhondorf 1967) was the first post-war leader of West Germany and had become chairman of the CDU in 1949. Resigned as a Chancellor in 1963. Helmut Kohl was Chancellor of G.F.R. from 1982 till 1990 and of the Reunified Germany from 1990 till 1998.

19. What is the German translation of the title of the first volume of Benn's poetry?

From Quiz Some Questions About German Literature

Answer: Leichenhalle

20. Which German writer is commonly accredited with creating the literary genre of a Bildungsroman, which focuses on a protagonist's learning and coming of age?

From Quiz German Literature

Answer: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe's novel "Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship" (1796) is often attributed with the creation of the Bildungsroman genre. The novel centers around the protagonist's personal growth into adulthood. Kant and Herder were eighteenth-century German philosophers. Hesse did write the individualistic novel "Siddhartha" (1922), but the work came after Goethe's Bildungsroman.

21. Where did the expression "Sturm und Drang" come from?

From Quiz "Storm and Stress" - "Sturm und Drang"

Answer: It was the title of a play by F. M. Klinger

The play was completed in 1776 and the author, Friedrich Maximilian Klinger (1752-1831), was persuaded to change the title to "Sturm und Drang". With its emphasis on power and energy its implications were entirely positive.

22. Which university in the German-speaking lands was the first to allow the use of German (alongside Latin) as a language of instruction?

From Quiz German Literature, c. 1600-1740

Answer: Halle (founded in 1694)

At Halle, German was admitted from the outset. The lateness of the admission of German as an academic language may have had something to do with the fact that it was not very well standardized, even in 1694. From a practical point of view allowing the use of German as an academic language was easier at a newly founded university than at an old, well established university.

23. "Man Without Qualities", 1930-43.

From Quiz German 20th Century Novels

Answer: Robert Musil

Robert Musil (1880-1942) was born in Klagenfurt. Austria. His vast work "Man Without Qualities" was never finished. It is a social analysis of the Austria-Hungary in the last years of its existence (until WW1). A highly astute and critical observer of Central Europe more generally, he died in exile in Geneva in 1942. He has been compared with Proust and Joyce.

24. Gottfried Benn had a short affair with another well known lyric writer of that period. What is her name?

From Quiz Some Questions About German Literature

Answer: Else Lasker-Schueler

25. Who wrote the World War One era novel "All Quiet on the Western Front"?

From Quiz German Literature

Answer: Erich Maria Remarque

"All Quiet on the Western Front" (1929) was written by German war veteran Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970). The novel details the brutal realities that soldiers faced on the Western Front in World War One. Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) is an Austrian poet. Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) is a German novelist. Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) is an American novelist who also wrote novels about World War One.

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