Authors: Hans Sachs

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

German playwright, poet, and composer

Author Works


Der Henno, pr. 1531

Der schwanger Bauer, pr. 1544 (The Pregnant Farmer, 1990)

Der fahrende Schüler im Paradies, pr. 1550 (The Traveling Scholar, 1910)

Der Nasentanz, pr. 1550 (The Nose Dance, 1990)

Der böse Raunch, pr. 1551

Der fahrende Schüler mit dem Teufelsbannen, pr. 1551

Das haiss Eisen, pr. 1551 (The Hot Iron, 1910)

Das Kälberbrüten, pr. 1551

Der Bauer im Fegefeuer, pr. 1552

Der gestohlene Bachen, pr. 1552

Der Bauer mit dem Blerr, pr. 1553

Das böse Weib, pr. 1553

Der Fortunato mit dem Wünschhuet, pr. 1553

Der Kezermaister mit wort, würz und stain, pr. 1553

Der Rossdieb zu Fünsing, pr. 1553 (The Horse Thief, 1910)

Das Weib im Brunnen, pr. 1553 (The Wife in the Well, 1990)

Herzog Wilhelm von Österreich mit seiner Agaley, pr. 1555

Das Fräulein mit dem Ölkrug, pr. 1556

Hugo Schapler, pr. 1556

Der hörnen Siegfried, pr. 1557

Ptholomeus der Thirann, pr. 1557

Cleopatra die Künigin Egipti, pr. 1558

Romulus und Remus, die Brüder, pr. 1558

Sämtliche Fastnachtspiele von Hans Sachs, pb. 1880-1887 (7 volumes)

Seven Shrovetide Plays, pb. 1930

Nine Carnival Plays by Hans Sachs, pb. 1990

Translations of the Carnival Comedies of Hans Sachs, 1494-1576, pb. 1994

Short Fiction:

Schlauraffenland, 1530

Sanct Peter mit der Geiss, 1555

Gespräch Sanct Peter mit den Landsknechten, 1556

Schwank von dem frommen Adel, 1562

Der Schneider mit dem Pannier, 1563


Die wittenbergisch Nachtigall, 1523 (The Wittenberg Nightingale, 1883)


Disputation zwischen einem Chorherren und einem Schuchmacher, 1524


Lovers of composer Richard Wagner will recognize Hans Sachs (saks), the greatest master singer of his time, as one of the principal characters in the opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1862; The Master-Singers of Nuremberg, 1892). Surprisingly, Sachs’s continuing fame does not rest on his songs and poems but on his 208 dramas, which helped keep the German theater alive in the sixteenth century.{$I[AN]9810000453}{$I[A]Sachs, Hans}{$I[geo]GERMANY;Sachs, Hans}{$I[tim]1494;Sachs, Hans}

Sachs was born and died in Nuremberg, a contemporary and disciple of Martin Luther. He apprenticed as a shoemaker and became a master cobbler about 1518, but he forsook his craft to become a wandering troubadour, the highest calling in a day when the arts were revered. Sachs became a master singer in 1520 and went on to conduct a school for master singers in Munich. He became leader of the Nürnberg singers in 1554. During about fifty years of composing, he is said to have produced more than four thousand songs, two thousand tales in verse, and 208 plays. His plays are considered the finest examples of the Fastnachtsspiel, the humorous plays for Shrovetide, a form paralleling the development of drama in England at the same time. Germany was torn by strife over the Reformation, however, and consequently had little patience with delightful trifles. When Sachs wrote The Wittenberg Nightingale to honor Luther, its immediate popularity rapidly advanced the cause of the Reformation.

The enthusiasm with which Sachs wrote, the advantageous times in which he lived, and the care with which his works were preserved all contribute to the information that is available about this man and his work. Wagner in The Master-Singers of Nuremberg was justly paying tribute to one of the great creators who had preceded him.

BibliographyAylett, Robert, and Peter Skrine, eds. Hans Sachs and Folk Theatre in the Late Middle Ages: Studies in the History of Popular Culture. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1995. A study of Sachs and the popular theater of Germany that contains information on the staging of his works. Provides the most complete examination of both the stage history and critical analysis of the Fastnachtsspiel.Beare, Mary, ed. Hans Sachs: Selections. Durham: University of Durham, 1983. The preface and introduction to this collection of poetic works by Sachs provide details of Sachs’s life and critical analysis of his works. Bibliography.Bernstein, Eckhard. “Hans Sachs.” In German Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation, 1280-1580, edited by James Hardin and Max Reinhart. Vol. 179 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1997. A detailed overview.
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