Sebastian Sailer

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sebastian Sailer

Sebastian Sailer , baptized Johann Valentin Sailer (* February 12, 1714 in Weißenhorn , † March 7, 1777 in Obermarchtal ), was a German Premonstratensian , preacher and writer of the Baroque . He became particularly known for his comedies in the Upper Swabian dialect and is considered the founder and master of Swabian dialect poetry.

life and work

Baptism entry in the Weißenhorn baptismal register, February 12, 1714

Sailer was born in Weißenhorn as the son of a Countess Fugger clerk. As a schoolboy he entered the Premonstratensian monastery in Obermarchtal . In 1730 he took the monastery name Sebastian , in 1732 he took the religious vows and in 1738 he was ordained a priest. From 1739 he worked at the monastery school in Obermarchtal as a teacher, among other things, for canon law. In addition, he was pastor of the monastery-owned villages Seekirch am Federsee and Reutlingendorf (today part of Obermarchtal).

The Swabian creation

The Swabian creation

On November 10, 1743, he performed his new Singspiel Creation of the First People, The Fall and Its Punishment (later known as The Swabian Creation ) in the Schussenried monastery . The work, which is considered to be Sailer's unsurpassed masterpiece, transposes the biblical creation story of Adam and Eve into the world of Upper Swabian farmers in a loving, albeit crude, way . God the Father, Adam and Eve speak and sing on the stage in Upper Swabian dialect. The comedy was very successful and was even set to music in 1796 - probably with the inclusion of Sailer's own melodies - by the Weingarten monastery composer Meingosus Gaelle as the opera Adam and Eva's Creation . The Swabian Creation found many friends at all times and experienced numerous, partly illustrated editions - albeit only after Sailer's death. The continuation of the creation story of Cain and Abel , which was found in the Mehrerau monastery at the beginning of the 20th century, cannot be assigned with certainty to Sailer and could - also due to the High German parts - be an adaptation or the work of an imitator.

The French Angel from The Fall of Lucifer
Lucifer in the lavatory, from The Fall of Lucifer

The fall of Lucifer

Sailer's dialect comedy The Fall of Lucifer cannot be precisely dated, but it must have been written on the basis of a reference to the execution of Joseph Süss Oppenheimer after 1738. The bizarre comedy tells of Lucifer becoming the devil and the need to bring expendable guardian angels back from earth in order to strengthen the heavenly host. In the comedy, Sailer mocks the peculiarities of peoples and their sins by parodying languages ​​and dialects. So the French angel denounces arrogance, the Swabian angel castigates gluttony, the Swiss angel the hellish Giz (avarice), and a Bavarian buffoon appears. Towards the end, Lucifer is locked in a toilet house, and finally, as a punishment for each of his crimes, he is threatened with a sip of Lake Constance wine, which Sailer apparently did not particularly appreciate.

The seven Swabians

Even in Sailer's secular swaying The Seven Swabians , in which seven brave Swabians hunt for rabbits, there is room for his ridicule. The main characters are the Gelbfüssler , the greedy spaetzle Schwab , the schlafmützige Nestlerschwab , the defiant mosquito Schwab , the dirty mirror Schwab , the gross flash Schwab , the ambitious soup Schwab and a talkative Allgäu . In the Schwank Swabian Sun and Moon Catch , Swabian farmers try to control the weather by trying to catch the sun and moon. Sailer's play, composed mainly in Alexandrians , The mayor's election to Limmelsdorf was performed in the monastery school Obermarchtal and contains elements of the Schwank like a didactic play.

A sought-after preacher and versatile author

From 1756 on, Sailer was pastor in Dieterskirch . 1761–1763 he repeatedly visited the art-loving Count Friedrich von Stadion in Warthausen , where he also met Christoph Martin Wieland and Sophie von La Roche .

Sailer was a sought-after preacher and traveled frequently for his sermons. In 1750 he was invited by the powerful Salem Imperial Abbey to preach on the occasion of the transfer of the miraculous image to the Birnau pilgrimage church . In 1762 he traveled to Augsburg and Landsberg am Lech , in 1764 he gave the Ignatius von Loyola sermon to the Jesuits in Würzburg , in 1766 he gave the parish sermon on the occasion of the millennium of the Ottobeuren monastery and in 1767 the St. Ulrichs sermon for the Swabian one Provincial cooperative in Vienna. On this trip he even received a private audience with Maria Theresa .

When Maria Theresia's daughter Maria Antonia (who later became Queen Marie Antoinette of France ) visited the Obermarchtal Abbey on May 1, 1770, on her journey from Vienna to her wedding in Paris, the cantata of homage to her was best sentiments of Swabian hearts ( in a simple-minded cantata sung ). In the amusing piece, pathetic High German verses from Marchtall's Genius and Love alternate with Swabian verses from the four farmers Theissle , Joackele , Veitle and Michel and the choir. As a thank you to the Obermarchtal Monastery, Maria Antonia sent her bridal robe after her arrival and wedding in Paris, which was converted into two priestly robes, which can still be seen in the monastery museum today. The best sentiments of Swabian hearts spread quickly after the performance. As early as May 10, 1770, the piece could be purchased in print with sheet music for singing from the Augsburg book printer and publisher Johann Michael Späth for 15 Kreuzer.

In Sailer's cantata on the bloodletting , too , a doctor who speaks High German is confronted with an Upper Swabian farmer , up to and including a "bilingual" duet ( Herr Dokter! Sick bi-ni, As bites me, and climes me / friend! Only send to the Bader , Let open a vein ). Towards the end, the doctor's words also tend to dialect.

In 1771, Sailer published his history, Das Jubilierende Marchtall, on the occasion of the six hundredth anniversary of the monastery .

In his prose comedy The Swabian Holy Three Kings (around 1771, derived from a mention of the 4th Russian Turkish War in the Crimea by the three kings) Sailer mixed the legend with the village world of his homeland. Herod is portrayed as a Swabian village innkeeper, the three holy kings covet food and drink as carol singers , which the resourceful landlady refuses with reference to the requirement of fasting before the Epiphany.

In 1773 Sailer suffered a stroke and withdrew from his pastor in Dieterskirch to the Obermarchtal monastery. After his death in 1777 he was buried in the crypt of the monastery.

Meaning and character

During his lifetime, Sailer was best known as a preacher and scholar outside of his parishes. His fame, however, is based on his Swabian dialect poems, which are in the tradition of the old Bavarian rustic travesties and the Salzburg Benedictine comedy and can best be compared with the Upper Austrian dialect comedies of the Lambach Benedictine monk Maurus Lindemayr . In an essay from 2003, Monika Küble considers the idea that Sailer had presented his dialect comedies as a pastoral minister close to the people for entertainment to the farmers of his parishes as a romantic transfiguration. She sees Sailer's audience in aristocratic and bourgeois circles, for example at the Warthauser Musenhof of the Count von Stadion, where the satirical depiction of Wieland's Biberach fellow citizens in his story of the Abderites was amused. ( Lit .: Küble, 2003) The few known testimonies of performances point more to a monastic audience: The Swabian Creation at least was premiered in front of the convent of the Schussenried Abbey, which was friends with the Obermarchtal Abbey; The Latin prologue is also aimed at an educated audience; the students of the monastery school in Obermarchtal performed the mayor election . The humor in Sailer's work is never condescending or denouncing. So it can be assumed that - whoever the audience may have been - Sailer laughed with his Swabian parishioners, but not at them.

Sailer was the first author to use the Swabian dialect not only to caricature or to gain a certain affability. He also dealt with the topics that were important to him consistently in a dialect that was surprisingly true to the original, without any high German smoothing or belittling. The transfer of the biblical events into the living environment of the Upper Swabian rural population reveals the astonishing empathy of Sailer - after all, a recognized theologian at the height of his time - in the life of his community children. He integrates everyday peasant life into the theological events of the Bible in a variety of ways (of course, paradise has a garden door - God Vatter gôht grad zuar Gatathür rei ) - right through to direct, imaginative transmissions of Bible quotations. In the words of God the Father:

Nuits is nuits and wead nuits weara,
drum hau-ni wölla a Wealt gebäara,
just around you time,
when it snows a lot
and there is better air.

begins his Swabian creation , which the creator relocated to spring for obvious reasons:

In the summer eaba,
dô, it goes with Weatter on the guardian Leaba,
when it comes, when it is lightning and haglat;
how soon is g'scheha that as weatter three 'bad,
think noache, whether it's ebba-n-itt au so gauh' mecht.
Zuadeam, if as hoiß,
hôt oinar much sweat.
In the spring, g'schwinder ällz g'schaffat and g'naglat.

In the absence of employees, God himself lends a hand:

Auhne Menscha, auhne Goischter
I'm seall the Zimmermoischter.

and finally, in a precise analogy to Genesis 2: 7, blows the living breath into Adam:

Boy, wake up!
Hush and puff!
Pf! Pf!
Nieaß, to the test! (Adam sneezes)
Healf to God! Now leabt ar, God praise!

It is not known how Sailer learned about air sickness 40 years before the Montgolfière and 160 years before the first airplane . However, he has probably got to know shaking carriages well enough on his long journeys as a preacher. In any case, Adam complains when God the Father takes him in the flight:

Adam: Um Tausad God's will, i fluid as a balla.
God my father, i bitt-ana, lau'd mit itt falla!
God the Father: Druck d'Auga zua, thua itt so schreya.
Adam: As g'schwindlat mar oimôl, i moi 'i müess speya.

Adam soon feels lonely, and the verse I have to be with the people from his aria can confidently be understood as Sailer's own creed:

Carthusian leabat so;
i must au bey dia Leuta sey ',
suscht g' braised me my 'Maga ei'.
's ka' sey ', i henk mi no.
War i sickness and gloom,
wear wead nôh da doctor pay?

At Sailer, Adam and Eve are a quarreling couple from the start who are already fighting over the rib from which Eve emerged. Soon Adam sighs:

Oh, if I were no single
and if I had no koi 'wife, I would
break koi' sermons,
I would stay at work.
Oh God, Father! Ui give i sui hoi ',
i lay mi dô down, want leaba-n-alloi!

Similar punch lines are to this day sure laughter in popular theater, in hand-made speeches and in comedy shows, and an 18th-century audience would have reacted particularly vigorously to such jokes, especially from the mouth of a premonstratensian. Adam's sigh after his apple bite ( Dar Tuifel hôt is b'schissa; o had i itt three 'bissa ) is likely to provoke church morals to this day. Since Sailer was even allowed to write the homage cantata for the future French queen in the Swabian dialect in the Obermarchtal monastery, it can be assumed that at least his monastery superiors agreed with his way of writing and at least not hindered it.

The Swabian Creation , published only after Sailer's death, was valued by poets such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , who was “highly delighted by Sailern” , and Eduard Mörike , who read it “with great pleasure” and liked to quote from it. Despite their esteem, however, neither the Hessian Goethe nor the Swabian Mörike came out with poems in dialect, although Goethe wrote in Poetry and Truth II, 6 : Every province loves its dialect: because it is actually the element in which the soul breathes scoops. Martin Stern (1956) sees Sailer's creation as a prelude to Goethe's farces .

The writer Wilhelm Schussen wrote in 1924: They learned Silesian for the sake of Gerhart Hauptmann , Low German for the sake of Fritz Reuter and Upper Bavarian for Ludwig Thoma 's sake. One would have to learn Upper Swabian for the sake of this magnificent Sailer.


For many years the Herrlingen Theater (at times also at Erbach Castle / Ulm) performed the Swabian Creation as an adaptation by Jörg Ehni in dialect. The role of God the Father, Adam and Eve was taken on by the teacher and actor Walter Frei . The Swabian Creation was also performed by this actor at the place of its creation, in the mirror hall of the Obermarchtal monastery, as part of the Sebastian Sailer Days.


Works in Swabian dialect

Sailer's Swabian dialect is influenced on the one hand by his hometown Weißenhorn (today located in Bavarian Swabia), on the other hand by the hearty dialect of his rural Upper Swabian parishes.

  • Creation of the first humans, the Fall and its punishment ( The Swabian Creation , Komisches Singspiel, 1743)
  • The Fall of Lucifer (comical Singspiel, after 1738)
  • The Seven Swabians, or: The Hare Hunt (Schwank, around 1756)
  • Best sentiments of Swabian hearts (Cantata, 1770)
  • The mayor election to Limmelsdorf (play, 1770)
  • The Swabian three kings (comedy, 1771)
  • Peasant wedding (narrative poem)
  • Peter as God the Father (narrative poem)
  • various occasional singing games which contain Latin and High German passages as well as dialect passages

Theological and historical works

The jubilant Marchtall , 1771
  • Four letters against HP Aug. Dornblüth (under the pseudonym Benastasii Liares, 1755–1756)
  • The Marian Oracle (Book of edification, 1763)
  • Kempensis Marianus (Latin book of edification, 1764)
  • Spiritual speeches (3 volumes, 1766–1770)
  • The jubilant Marchtall or life story of the most blessed Konrad Kneer. Weiland the thirteenth abbot of the above-mentioned direct Freyen Reichsstift, the holy exempten order of Praemonstrat on the Danube in Swabia / together with the preamble of its foundation, and the ranks of its heads within 600 years, from secure documents written by Sebastian Sailern (history, 1771)
  • Geistliche Schaubühne ( oratorio texts , 1774)


  • The Jubilee Marchtall. Obermarchtal 1771 (Reprint: Ed. By Wolfgang Schürle. Konrad, Weißenhorn 1995, ISBN 3-87437-370-3 )
  • Sebastian Sailer's spiritual show stage of the suffering of Jesus Christ. Performed in sung oratorios . Rieger, Augsburg 1774 (reprint: Konrad, Weißenhorn 1997, ISBN 3-87437-394-0 )
  • Adam and Eve's creation and their fall. 1783 (facsimile: Biberacher Verlagsdruckerei, Biberach 1977)
  • Fonts in Swabian dialects . Edited by Sixt Bachmann. Buchau am Federsee 1819
    • Emphasis. Ulm 1827
    • New edition. Ebner'sche Buchhandlung, Ulm 1842–1893 (until 1860 with illustrations by Julius Nisle, later with illustrations by G. Heyberger)
    • Reprint with introduction and explanations by Franz Georg Brustgi. Knödler, Reutlingen 2000, ISBN 3-87421-061-8
    • New ed. by Hans Albrecht Oehler. Konrad, Weißenhorn 2000, ISBN 3-87437-437-8
  • Selected dialect poems from the writings of Sebastian Sailer . Edited and biography of Johann Schneiderhan. Friedrich Alber, Ravensburg 1907
  • The biblical and secular comedies of the revered Mr. S. Sailer formerly Capitular in the monastery of Obermarchthal . Edited by Dr. Owlglass . Langen, Munich 1913
  • The Swabian story of creation . With drawings by Ms. Bilek. Günther, Stuttgart 1948
  • Epiphany game. The Swabian holy three kings. The seven Swabians. Comedy in 2 parts . Revised by Carl Oskar Renner . Höfling, Munich 1949
  • The creation of the first humans, the fall and its punishment . Ed., Epilogue and translation of the Latin prologue into Swabian by Sebastian Blau , Marbach am Neckar 1956
  • Sebastian Sailer. Anniversary edition for the 250th birthday of the poet . Edited by Lorenz Locher. Lorenz Locher (self-published), Munderkingen 1965
  • Swabian creation including the fall of man . Edit again and ed. by Alfred Weitnauer. Verlag für Heimatpflege, Kempten 1968
  • Creation . Edited by Martin Stern . (Reclam's Universal Library; Vol. 4231). Reclam, Stuttgart 1969
  • The creation of the first humans, the fall and its punishment . Renewed and revised by Ernst Leopold Stahl. Chronos-Verlag Mörike, Hamburg approx. 1970
  • Meingosus Gaelle: Adam and Eve's creation . Recording: SWF , 1989. LP editions with libretto: SWF, Baden-Baden 1987 and Attempto-Verlag, Tübingen 1987. CD edition with libretto: Deutsche Austrophon, Diepholz 1999
  • Meingosus Gaelle: Adam and Eve's creation. A comical opera based on P. Sebastian Sailer's “Swabian Creation” . Edited by Maria Bieler, Rudolf Faber and Andreas Haug. Score. Friedemann Strube, Munich and Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-921946-50-6
  • Spiritual speeches. A selection . New ed. and commented by Konstantin Maier. Edition Isele, Konstanz 2012, ISBN 978-3-86142-551-9


  • Sixt Bachmann: Preface. in: Sebastian Sailer: Scripts in Swabian dialects. Buchau am Federsee 1819
  • Paul Beck : Sebastian Sailer , in: Alemannia , Volume 5, 1877, pp. 104–115
  • Paul Beck: Bibliography on Sebastian Sailer , in: Alemannia, Volume 19, 1892, pp. 36–42
  • Paul Beck:  Sailer, Sebastian . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 36, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1893, pp. 763-765.
  • Paul Beck: Swabian Biographies; 12. Sebastian Sailer . In: Diöcesan-Archiv von Schwaben , 15th year 1897, issue 1, pp. 1–11
  • Robert Lach: Sebastian Sailer's “Creation” in music . Memoranda, Volume 60. Imperial Academy of Sciences, Vienna 1916
  • Liselotte Lohrer : Sebastian Sailer's comedies . Giessen 1943
  • Martin Stern: Sebastian Sailer's “Creation”. A prelude to Goethe's farces . In: Yearbook of the German Schiller Society. Kröner, Stuttgart 1956 (9th year), pp. 131-166
  • Sebastian Sailer. Anniversary edition for the 250th birthday of the poet . Edited by Lorenz Locher. Lorenz Locher (self-published), Munderkingen 1965
  • Silvia Wimmer:  Sailer, Sebastian. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 8, Bautz, Herzberg 1994, ISBN 3-88309-053-0 , Sp. 1197-1199.
  • Hans Albrecht Oehler: Sebastian Sailer. 1714-1777. Canon, village pastor, poet . Marbacher Magazin, Volume 76. German Schiller Society, Marbach am Neckar 1996, ISBN 3-929146-49-5
  • [Reinhard Breymayer (editor):] Sailer, Sebastian 1714–1777 . In: Heiner Schmidt [main editor and publisher]: Sources encyclopedia for the history of German literature . Verlag für Pedagogical Documentation, Duisburg 2001, pp. 15–17 (directory of research literature from 1945–1990)
  • Anton Gälli (Ed.): Adam and Eva's Creation. A comic opera from Swabia by Sebastian Sailer. Set to music by Meingosus Gaelle. In comparison of the texts . Gälli, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-929262-05-3
  • Georg Günther: "Now he's got a comedy, how d's erbsin the world is g'scheh '". The Stuttgart Opera and “The Swabian Creation” by Sebastian Sailer , in: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings , 121st year 2003, pp. 103–142 ( digitized version )
  • Monika Küble: Swabian dialect literature up to 1800. From the “Suavischwaifigschwetzigen Swabian Froschgoschigen broad chatterbox” . In: Ulrich Gaier, Monika Küble, Wolfgang Schürle (eds.): Schwabenspiegel. Literature from the Neckar to Lake Constance 1000-1800. Volume II. Articles. Oberschwäbische Elektrizitätswerke, Ulm 2003, ISBN 3-937184-01-5 , pp. 41–53
  • Wolfgang Grassl: Culture of Place: An Intellectual Profile of the Premonstratensian Order . Bautz, Nordhausen 2012, pp. 352–357
  • Hans Pörnbacher:  Sailer, Sebastian. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , p. 357 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Lothar Bidmon: Sebastian Sailer. A bibliographical attempt . Konrad, Weißenhorn 2014, ISBN 978-3-87437-564-1 (80 pages)
  • Wolfgang Ott and Ulrich Scheinhammer-Schmid (editors): Witches, gentlemen, saints. The spiritual world of the premonstratensian Sebastian Sailer (1714–1777) . Weißenhorn 2018 ISBN 978-3-928891-13-4 .

Web links

Wikisource: Sebastian Sailer  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Sebastian Sailer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ute Romer: From the schools. Students in Bonnat Obermarchtal - 46 students from the Collège Marc Bloch spent an eventful week with their exchange partners in Obermarchtal. In: Ehinger Tagblatt. Southwest Press. April 26, 2012, accessed December 29, 2015 .
  2. Augspurgischer Intelligence = slip no.19 , May 10, 1770.
  3. "The Swabian Creation". Play comedy by Sebastian Sailer. (No longer available online.) In: Stückinfo. Herrlingen Theater, May 2010, archived from the original on March 4, 2016 ; accessed on December 29, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

This article was added to the list of excellent articles on February 16, 2005 in this version .