Jahnn, Hans Henny

Jahnn, Hans Henny Image 1

Hans Henny Jahnn

Hans Henny Jahnn was born in 1894 in Stellingen, one of Hamburg's suburbs, and died in Hamburg in 1959. He was a German novelist, plawright, organ-builder, and even a music publisher, focusing on 17th-century organ music.
Together with his friend and lover Friedel Harms, Jahnn fled to Norway in order to avoid being enlisted to the German army during WWI. In 1919, after returning to Hamburg, Jahnn founded the Utopian community of Ugrino. In 1926, Jahnn married Ellinor Philips, and Harms Ellinor's sister, in 1928. When Harms died in 1931 Jahnn designed his gravestone. Once the Nazi period began, he fled Germany once again to escape the hostility of the Nazis, first to Zurich and then the island of Bornholm (1934-46), where he managed a farm and breeded horses. Returning to Germany after WWII Jahnn became a member of the Freie Akademie der Künste Hamburg. He was especially engaged against racism and past-war militarism.
Jahnn was awarded the Kleist-Preis in 1920 (for his play Pastor Ephraim Magnus), Literaturpreis des Landes Niedersachsen in 1954, and the Lessing-Preis der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg in 1956.
Most famous Jahnn became for his literary scandals in Expressionist theatre during the 1920's and his boundless novels, like Perrudja (1929) and a trilogy of novels called River without Banks (Fluss ohne Ufer, 1949-50, Epilogue posthoumus ed. 1961).