Rudolf Alexander Schröder, German Literary Figure (1878-1962)

Heinz Moehn did not know Rudolf Alexander Schröder personally, but he wrote to the poet “on behalf of my friend Willy Rettich” (“Im Auftrage meines Freudes Willy Rettich”) in 1947. Along with the letter, Moehn shared with Schröder a long-awaited manuscript of the setting for men’s choir Wilhelm Rettich had made of Schröder’s poem “Media in Vita,” from his 1930 poetry collection Mitte des Lebens: Geistliche Gedichte. In the letter, Moehn apologizes for the delay in getting the manuscript to Schröder, noting extreme business at work and an illness, though it is not clear whether he or Rettich was afflicted with these.

Schröder played many roles in the literary landscape. In the late nineteenth century, he co-founded the periodical Die Insel, which soon afterwards developed into the major publishing house Insel-Verlag. He was well-known as a translator, and some of the highlights of this aspect of his career include translations of works by Homer, Horace, Virgil, Corneille, Racine, Molière, Shakespeare, and T. S. Eliot. He was also a prolific essayist and poet, publishing over twenty-five collections of poetry. In 1958 and 1960, he was nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Schroeder opposed National Socialism in his actions and writing, and has been considered an “Inner Emigrant,” a dissenter who remained in Germany during the Third Reich.

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