Carl Georg von Maassen

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Carl Georg von Maassen (born August 27, 1880 in Hamburg ; died December 22, 1940 in Munich ) was a German literary historian , bibliophile and gastrosophile .


Carl Georg von Maassen is the great-grandson of the Prussian finance minister of the same name and founder of the German customs union Karl Georg Maassen . Today he is best known as the editor of the (still fragmentary) historical-critical edition of the works of ETA Hoffmann . Encouraged by his younger brother, who had given him ETA Hoffmann's story The Golden Pot , Maassen began to be intensely interested in this author at the age of seventeen and quickly developed into an expert on Hoffmann and on the entire literature of German Romanticism.

After graduating from high school in Kassel in the autumn of 1901, he began to study law in Munich in 1903, but mainly attended Germanic seminars. In addition, he began to build up his library and made contacts with Munich bibliophiles . In 1907 Maassen founded the Society of Munich Bibliophiles together with Karl Wolfskehl , Ernst Schulte-Strathaus , Hans von Weber , Franz Blei and Emil Hirsch. Maassen had already studied six semesters when, at the suggestion of his friend Franz von Bayros, he contacted the Munich publisher Georg Müller took up with the proposal to publish an edition of ETA Hoffmann's works that meets the highest scientific standards . On May 23, 1907, Maassen and Müller signed a contract for a 15-volume edition of Hoffmann's works. The first volume of the series, financed almost exclusively from Maassen's own resources, appeared in December 1907, with six more volumes following annually.

In addition to his literary work, Carl Georg von Maassen led a life as a bohemian , which he tried to model after E. T. A. Hofmanns. His regular daily routine began at 6 p.m. with shopping and breakfast, then he went out until midnight and then devoted himself to his literary tasks until 6 a.m. He frequented Schwabing's nightlife , maintained contacts with large circles of the local artist scene and became a permanent address for those around him. In his well-ordered correspondence, 185 evenings are documented on which he invited to the Feuerzangenbowle. He was particularly fond of young women, whom he said he liked to "catch" and with whom he maintained extensive correspondence. He had a lasting friendship with the writer Catherina Godwin . In addition, his letter estate, comprising over 6,000 documents, contains numerous letters from friends of poets and writers, including Joachim Ringelnatz , Max Halbe and Frank Wedekind .

During the First World War Maassen served as a soldier in the Baltic States. After his return in early 1919, he wanted to continue the Hoffmann Edition, but inflation robbed him of his financial independence, so that from the early 1920s he was forced to work as a newspaper journalist and editor of classic editions and collections. During this time, he made a name for himself in German literature by discovering forgotten authors such as Johann Carl Wezel ( Hermann and Ulrike , new edition 1919) and Johann Gottlieb Schummel ( goatee ). Furthermore, in the library series of the new Serapionsbrüder , he edited some of the then almost forgotten authors of the 19th century such as Karl Wilhelm Salice-Contessa , Carl Weisflog , Ludwig Tieck , Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and Karl Immermann . It is noticeable that the list of his discoveries partly corresponds to the writers “discovered” by Arno Schmidt .

From 1920 Maassen published the magazine Der Grundgescheute Antiquarius for a group of Munich book lovers . The journal contained numerous of Maassen's own contributions, especially anecdotes and studies on special topics in literary history and questions of book studies. After issue 2/3 of the 2nd volume, the magazine had to stop its publication in January 1923.

In the mid-1920s, Maassen made another attempt to complete the edition of Hoffmann's works. Volume 8 was published in 1925 and Volume 9/10 in 1928. But the ever-worsening times and the dwindling energy of the editor let the edition remain a torso. The following volumes had been published by then:

1 Fantasy pieces in Callot's manner 1907
2 The elixirs of the devil 1908
3 Night pieces 1909
4th Strange sufferings of a theater director and Little Zaches 1910
6th The Serapion Brothers (Volume 2) 1912
7th The Serapion Brothers (Volume 3) 1914
8th The Serapion Brothers (Volume 4) 1925
9/10 Life views of the cat Murr 1928

The fifth volume with the planned introduction to the Serapion Brothers and the first volume of this work was never published.

After all, Maassen was also considered a knowledgeable gastrosoph. His pertinent writings include The Wisdom of Eating and Around the Coffee Pot . But at the beginning of the 1940s, Germany offered only a bleak future for a talented connoisseur who was more rooted in the 19th than in the 20th century. Carl Georg von Maassen died on December 22, 1940 as a result of a fall. He had gotten into an argument with a waiter who was loyal to Hitler in a restaurant in Schwabing , and he kicked him out of the door.

The Maassen book collection with approx. 8000 volumes, including almost all works of the Romantic period in first editions, is in the possession of the university library of the LMU Munich, as is the majority of Maassen's letter estate . The State Library in Berlin keeps other letters.


  • Jacobus Schnellpfeffer (d. I. CG v. Maassen): packages that did not reach him. Carl Haushalter, Munich 1904.
  • Diotima's flower basket - seven poems from the papers of an unnamed person. Edited by Johann Elias Barbst the Younger. Munich 1919. New edition with epilogue and bibliography by Reinhard Hippen: Franz, Frankfurt a. M. 1996. ISBN 3-928305-03-4
  • Wilhelm Heinrich Schollenträger (d. I. CG v. Maassen): ETA Hoffmann's personality: anecdotes, quarrels and character traits from the life of the judge of the chamber judge, poet and conductor Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, based on information from his contemporaries, compiled from the sources and placed in the light . Parcus, Munich 1922
  • Wisdom of eating. A gastronomic vademecum. Kurt Wolff Verlag, Munich 1928.
  • Pins in the sofa. Poems. Internationale Bibliothek GmbH, Berlin 1928. Collection of the poems previously published mostly under the pseudonym Jakobus Schnellpfeffer in Simplicissimus and Die Jugend .
  • Never drink a glass too little! A small contribution on a big topic, pulled from his card boxes and presented by the Society of Munich Book Friends to the bowling guests in the "Franziskaner over the Klause" on July 14, 1928. Society d. Munich Book Friends, Munich 1928
  • All about the coffee pot. Drei Masken Verlag, Munich undated (approx. 1930). New edition 1960.
  • The generally shy antiquarian. Bartmann Verlag, Frechen 1966. Collection of texts by Maassen from the eponymous magazine and scattered publications with a biographical introduction by Alfred Bergmann .


  • Wilfried Ehrsam and Ilse Jöstlein: The bibliophile collection of Carl Georg von Maassen (1880–1940) in the Munich University Library. Annotated catalog with an introduction and the list of the handwritten estate. 2 vols. Bibliograph. Büro, Puchheim 1997. ISBN 3-932774-00-0
  • Helmut Bergner:  Maaßen, Carl Georg von. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 15, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-00196-6 , p. 602 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Walter Rösler: Pins in the sofa. CG von Maassen on his 100th birthday . In: Ernst Günther, Heinz P. Hofmann, Walter Rösler (eds.): Cassette. An almanac for the stage, podium and ring (=  cassette ). No. 4 . Henschelverlag Art and Society, Berlin 1980, p. 158-166 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Eberhard Köstler: books books books books. From the heyday of Munich bibliophilia. P. 272