Albert Langen

Albert Langen ( born July 8, 1869 in Antwerp, † April 30, 1909 in Munich) was a German publisher and founder of the satirical magazine Simplicissimus.


The Early Years

Albert Langen was to Martha and Martin, the third of four children of the industrialist Friedrich Albert Lange and his wife Ida Goeters. The family moved after the death of his grandfather Johann Jacob Long from Antwerp to Cologne in the Jacordenstraße 5, where Albert Langen spent his childhood and adolescent years.

Here his sister Elsbeth was born. After an aborted commercial apprenticeship Langen in 1890 moved to Paris to train as a painter. He soon reversed in circles of writers (including Henry Becque, Abel Hermant, Paul Hervieu, Octave Mirbeau, Émile Zola ) and artists ( the artist Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, one of the main illustrators of the Gil Blas Illustrée became his life-long friend ). He learned the grown up in Copenhagen Danes Julius Rudolph Wilhelm Petersen know, who also lived in Paris since 1890 and Willy Gretor called. Gretor is described as a brilliant adventurer and impostor, painter, poet, images forger and art dealer. For a time he served as secretary Frank Wedekind. In November 1898 Wedekind began work on the play The Marquis of Keith, which now Gretor served him - as the model for the Marquis. Gretor was Langen's mentor, Langen Gretors Adlatus. From Gretor Long took over his pompous apartment on the Boulevard Malesherbes, together with the precious furniture and an extensive photo collection ( in which, as witnesses thought some pieces were challengeable authenticity ). Inspired by Gretor considered Langen temporarily opening an art shop. The key, however, was ( through the mediation Gretors ) the encounter with the writer Knut Hamsun, whose novel mysteries had been previously rejected by the S. Fischer Verlag. Langen was already present from the German translation of the work ( by Marie von Borch ) so impressed that he offered a Samuel Fischer printing costs. When this failed, Langen founded a publishing company to publish the book himself. Thus appeared in 1894 Hamsun's Mysteries as the first title in the Book & Art Publishing House of Albert Langen. The support of his company, he had confidently proclaimed the display part of Börsenblatt for the German Book Trade 6 December ( with date of 1 December) 1893. Of publication was his apartment, Paris, 112 Boulevard Malesherbes.

The following year, the publisher moved first to Leipzig, and soon afterwards to Munich. In addition to Scandinavian authors ( Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Georg Brandes, Sven Lange) Long extended its program now also on contemporary French and German literature. As the first title of a German writer Frank Wedekind was published The Earth Spirit (1895 ). The paperback books of the publishing company acquired by their by ( first French, but soon German ) artists such as Jules Chéret, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, and especially Thomas Theodor Heine designed covers special recognition on the market.


1896 Long married Dagny Bjørnson, the youngest daughter of Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. On April 4 of that year the first issue of the magazine weekly Simplicissimus, was published by Albert Langen. Some French newspapers such as Le Rire and Gil Blas illustré had served as a role model. It soon became the weekly magazine, due to their critical comments, repeatedly seized and received in Germany - but also in Austria - temporary sales bans.

A native of Riga Korfiz Holm appeared in 1896 in the Long 's publishing house. In the following years could Langen et al Publish works of Heinrich Mann, Henrik Ibsen, Marcel Prévost and Verner von Heidenstam in his house. 1897 began publishing the title you asleep mom? Jakob Wassermann, the economically priced range Small library long, which had been designed specifically for the railway station bookshops. For a while proofreading Thomas Mann manuscripts for Simplicissimus. 1898 appeared the first publisher's catalog. An artistically designed octave band with the proud record of the first five years: 65 books by authors German, French, Scandinavian, Russian and Dutch tongue. Privately, things were looking up: On June 17, 1897, the son of Arne and on 9 October 1898 Bjørnstjerne Albert came to the world.

The number 31 of the third year of the Simplicissimus, the so-called Palestine number, led to an accusation of high treason against two authors of the journal, Thomas Theodor Heine (he had the title page drawn ) and Frank Wedekind ( he came under the pseudonym Hieronymos reprinted poem in the holy Land ), and forced Langen (he was the editor in charge ) to flee in the fall of 1898 in Switzerland. Together with his family he departed in 1899 to Paris, where they moved into a stately home in the 187, Rue de la Pompe. It was necessary to carry publishing and Simplicissimus from afar. To this end, it took Korfiz Holm, who had been senior officer, in Munich. On summit conferences in Austria, Switzerland, in Paris and in Aulestad, Norway, the estate of his parents, Long met his closest associates to meetings in friendly company. And again and again traveled Langens wife Dagny to Germany to discuss publishing issues. It was not until 1903, after four and a half years of exile, Langen was pardoned by King George of Saxony, against payment of a " Bezeigungssumme " of 20,000 marks. After Langen's return to Munich, Simplicissimus began to act, inter alia, against the Bavarian center and thus drew the ire of the Bavarian state parliament in coming.

1904 appeared another publisher's catalog. Meanwhile, the publisher had published 389 works by 117 authors. The highest number of edition reached over our power Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. Ludwig Thoma became the best-selling German author of the publisher. On April 1, 1906, the Simplicissimus was transferred into a limited company, a consequence of the palace revolution of its employees who wanted to share in the profits, the import of Simplicissimus. Long had indeed lost the Simplicissimus it, but gained time for other projects. With the beginning of 1907 the first issue of March, a half- monthly magazine for German culture appeared. Edited by Ludwig Thoma, Hermann Hesse, Albert Langen and Kurt Aram ( di Hans Fischer). In Langens marriage there were also changes: In February 1906, the official separation took place (not divorce) the couple. Albert Langen had a new life partner ( since 1903 ): Josephine Rensch. His wife Dagny remained with the two children in Paris. She turned to the French artist Paul Iribe. Funded by Dagny Bjørnson -Langen, Iribe brought out the illustrated magazine Le Témoin.

On April 30, 1909 Albert Langen died of a protracted otitis media. He had contracted the infection when he had the Zeppelin airship Z1, the fierce winds carried out on April 1 in an open car far from Munich, was traced to the landing site. On May 4, he was buried at the Cologne Melaten cemetery in his parents' grave (now the grave has disappeared under a blanket of grass ). In his will, Albert Langen four curators and long-term employees ( Otto Friedrich, Reinhold Geheeb, August Gommel and Korfiz Holm ) was used for the publisher. This took over the company ( the sons Langens were still a minor and were by her uncle Martin Langen represented ) and earned 1918 In the twenties, the Bauhaus books (published by Walter Gropius and László Moholy -Nagy ) were. Published in Langen Verlag. 1931 was the publishing house a community of interest with the Georg Müller Verlag and merged the following year with this for Langen Müller Verlag.

Outstanding Services

An outstanding performance by the publisher was the endeavor to equip the publications of his house in the sense of modern book design. Thomas Theodor Heine and Bruno Paul were among his most important book artists (for the cover and dust jacket design for vignettes and illustrations ), who both worked quite different. During the highly mobile character style was characteristic of Heine, joined Paul strong outlines with the arrangement of surfaces and colors. Both artists were clearly influenced by Art Nouveau.

Other illustrators of the Long -Verlag belonged Ferdinand von Reznicek, Eduard Thony and the Norwegian Olaf Gulbransson, which was the company set in 1902 as a permanent employee and with its minimalist drawing style soon as indispensable for the Simplicissimus as Heine. In 1909, it was the merit Langens to win the poster artist and genre painter Brynolf Wennerberg for Simplicissimus.

Albert Long was not a publisher, who founded his company only for economic considerations, but combined with his work also has a cultural-political order. His strongest competitor, another so-called culture publisher of the time, Samuel Fischer was because it had also elected authors of "modernity " as focal point. Many writers (including Henrik Ibsen, Jakob Wassermann or Ludwig Thoma ) published briefly in Langen, but soon returned it back to S. Fischer back. The temporal projection of the S. Fischer publishing house, founded in 1886, Langen could never catch up.