German Gotthelf
Max Frisch French Italian Rumantsch

Gottfried Keller


Year Family Education Politics Literary Works
1819 Gottfried Keller is born on July, 19th in Zurich, he comes from a middle-class family.  
1824 Early death of Gottfried Keller's father.  
1830 Regeneration in Switzerland: Liberal ideas (equal rights etc.), suppressed in Switzerland after 1815, have a comeback. New constitutions and progressive goverments are re-installed. Young Gottfried Keller takes sides of the radical wing of the liberal movement.  
1839 "Züriputsch": Conservative people from the countryside force Zurich's liberal government to resign. The new conservative government dismisses liberal theologian David Friedrich Strauss from the university of Zurich, modern schoolbooks are replaced again by the catechism.
Gottfried Keller, on the way to become a painter, is involved into a protest movement against the conservatives, and has to leave school.
Gottfried Keller tries to complete his formation as a painter in Munich, Germany, but he is forced to realize that he is not talented enough and returns to Zurich.  
Gottfried Keller is a political activist in Zurich. Elections bring the liberals back to power in 1845. Political lyrics (1846).
A scholarship funded by Zurich's government allows Gottfried Keller studies in history of literature and philosophy in Germany (Heidelberg and Berlin). Keller is particularly impressed by the thoughts of Ludwig Feuerbach. Der Grüne Heinrich [Green Henry] (novel, first version 1854)
1856 Back home, Keller is offered a post as professor of literature at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, but he refuses modestly due to "lack of knowledge" Die Leute von Seldwyla (series of short stories, vol. I, 1856)
Gottfried Keller is elected "Staatsschreiber" [head of the cantonal government's back-office] and serves diligently for 15 years. Sieben Legenden (reinterpreted legends, 1872); Die Leute von Seldwyla (series of short stories, vol. II, 1874)
Gottfried Keller is a full time writer. Zürcher Novellen (series of short stories, 1878); Der Grüne Heinrich (revised edition, 1879/80); Das Sinngedicht (series of stort stories, 1882); Gesammelte Gedichte (lyrics, 1883); Martin Salander (political novel, 1886)
1890 Gottfried Keller dies in Zurich on July, 15th shortly before his 71st anniversary.  

Gottfried Keller is regarded as one of the best authors of short stories in German language in the 19th century, not only in Switzerland but also in Germany.

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