German literature quiz

Are you an avid reader who appreciates the exquisite beauty of German prose and poetry? Do you find yourself drawn to the works of iconic authors such as Goethe, Kafka, and Hesse?

Delve into the rich and fascinating world of German literary classics and challenge your intellectual prowess with a selection of thought-provoking questions. Let’s start our captivating journey through the annals of German literary history.

1. Who is the author of the famous German novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther”?

A. [correct][Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]

B. [question][Friedrich Schiller]

C. [question][Thomas Mann]

[ANSWER][“The Sorrows of Young Werther” (“Die Leiden des jungen Werthers”) is one of the most famous works by Goethe. Published in 1774, this epistolary novel tells the story of a young artist named Werther who suffers from unrequited love, eventually leading to his tragic end. The novel was a key work of the Sturm und Drang movement in German literature.]

2. Which German-language writer won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019?

A. [question][Elfriede Jelinek]

B. [correct][Peter Handke]

C. [question][Herta Müller]

[ANSWER][Peter Handke, an Austrian-born German-language writer, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2019. Handke’s work is diverse, including novels, essays, and plays. Some of his notable works include “The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick” and “The Left-Handed Woman.”]

3. What is the title of Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel, published posthumously, about a man named K.?

A. [question][The Metamorphosis]

B. [question][The Trial]

C. [correct][The Castle]

[ANSWER][“The Castle” (“Das Schloss”) is one of Franz Kafka’s unfinished novels, published posthumously in 1926. The story follows the protagonist, K., who arrives in a village and attempts to gain access to the mysterious authorities who govern it from a castle. Like many of Kafka’s works, “The Castle” explores themes of alienation, bureaucratic oppression, and existential anxiety.]

4. Which literary movement, prevalent in Germany in the late 18th century, emphasized emotion, individualism, and the beauty of nature?

A. [question][Sturm und Drang]

B. [correct][Romanticism]

C. [question][Expressionism]

[ANSWER][Romanticism was a literary movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th century and spread throughout Europe. It emphasized emotion, individualism, and the beauty of nature, as well as a fascination with the supernatural and the Gothic. Some key German Romantic authors include Novalis, E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Joseph von Eichendorff.]



5. Which German philosopher wrote the book “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”?

A. [question][Immanuel Kant]

B. [correct][Friedrich Nietzsche]

C. [question][Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel]

[ANSWER][The German title of “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” is “Also sprach Zarathustra”. Published in four parts between 1883 and 1891, this philosophical novel follows the journey of the prophet Zarathustra as he shares his wisdom and ideas with the people he encounters. The book also contains the famous proclamation “God is dead.”]

6. Who wrote the famous German play “Faust”?

A. [question][Friedrich Schiller]

B. [question][Bertolt Brecht]

C. [correct][Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]

[ANSWER][“Faust.” is a dramatic poem in two parts, with Part I published in 1808 and Part II in 1832. It tells the story of Faust, a scholar who makes a pact with the devil Mephistopheles in his search for knowledge and worldly pleasures. “Faust” is considered one of the greatest works of German literature.]

7. Which of the following is a German playwright and poet known for works such as “The Robbers” and “Maria Stuart”?

A. [question][Heinrich von Kleist]

B. [correct][Friedrich Schiller]

C. [question][Bertolt Brecht]

[ANSWER][Schiller was a prominent figure in German literature, and his works often explored themes of freedom, morality, and human dignity. Along with Goethe, Schiller was one of the leading figures in the development of Weimar Classicism, a cultural and literary movement in Germany during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.]



Buddenbrooks, Directed by Heinrich Breloer, 2008

8. Which German author is best known for his novels “Buddenbrooks” and “The Magic Mountain”?

A. [question][Hermann Hesse]

B. [question][Günter Grass]

C. [correct][Thomas Mann]

[ANSWER][“Buddenbrooks,” published in 1901, chronicles the decline of a wealthy merchant family over four generations. “The Magic Mountain,” published in 1924, is set in a tuberculosis sanatorium and explores themes of sickness, health, and the nature of time. Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929.]


gunter grass

9. Who is the author of the novel “The Tin Drum,” which is considered one of the greatest works of post-World War II German literature?

A. [question][Christa Wolf]

B. [correct][Günter Grass]

C. [question][Heinrich Böll]

[ANSWER][“The Tin Drum” (“Die Blechtrommel”) tells the story of Oskar Matzerath, a young boy who decides to stop growing and communicates by beating a tin drum. The story is a satirical and allegorical account of Germany’s turbulent history during the first half of the 20th century. Grass received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999.]

10. Which German author wrote the classic novel “Siddhartha”?

A. [question][Robert Musil]

B. [question][Thomas Mann]

C. [correct][Hermann Hesse]

[ANSWER][“Siddhartha” was first published in 1922. The novel follows the spiritual journey of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the historical Buddha. It explores themes of self-discovery, enlightenment, and the search for meaning in life. Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.]

11. Which of the following German authors is known for writing the play “Mother Courage and Her Children”?

A. [question][Friedrich Schiller]

B. [correct][Bertolt Brecht]

C. [question][Heinrich von Kleist]

[ANSWER][“Mother Courage and Her Children” (“Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder”) was first performed in 1941. The play is set during the Thirty Years’ War and follows the story of a woman named Mother Courage who tries to profit from the war by selling goods to soldiers. Brecht is a major figure in 20th-century German theater and is known for his development of the “epic theater” style.]


12. Who wrote the semi-autobiographical novel “Berlin Alexanderplatz”?

A. [question][Erich Maria Remarque]

B. [correct][Alfred Döblin]

C. [question][Joseph Roth]

[ANSWER][The novel was first published in 1929. It follows the life of Franz Biberkopf, a small-time criminal trying to go straight in the chaotic world of Weimar-era Berlin. “Berlin Alexanderplatz” is considered a key work of modernist literature, and its innovative narrative style influenced many later authors.]