Gerhart Hauptmann (gĕr´härt houpt´män), 1862–1946, German dramatist, novelist, and poet. He showed the influence of the theories of Zola and the plays of Ibsen in his play Before Dawn (1889, tr. 1909), which inaugurated the naturalistic movement in the German theater and won overnight fame. His other realistic plays include the famous tragedy of the working class, The Weavers (1892, tr. 1899), the comedy The Beaver Coat (1893, tr. 1905), and the tragedies Drayman Henschel (1899, tr. 1913) and Rose Bernd (1903, tr. 1913). Responsive to changing moods in literature, Hauptmann reflected the trend away from naturalism with the dream play Hannele (1893, tr. 1894) and the popular romantic play The Sunken Bell (1897, tr. 1898). His prose works include the novel of a modern mystic, The Fool in Christ, Emanuel Quint (1910, tr. 1911) and The Heretic of Soana (1918, tr. 1923). Till Eulenspiegel (1928) is an epic of postwar Germany. A leading figure in German literature for three generations, Hauptmann received many honors, notably the 1912 Nobel Prize in Literature.
See study by P. Mellen (1983).