the Kurzgeschichte (translation of the English “short story “) is a special, modern literary form of the Kurzprosa, whose outstanding feature exists in a strong compression of contents.

Table of contents

generic demarcation

Kurzgeschichte in the closer sense marks modern short stories, a kind, the beginning20. Century developed. The generic term for “short” (shortness does not only mean the pure length) stories reads therefore correct-proves Kurzprosa. The term Kurzgeschichte expanded however with the time to a general name for Kurzprosa. To distinguish from the Kurzgeschichteis the novella, which can exceed also 30 sides clearly in its length, and by the fact it is characterised that she possesses a stringentere action and a more structured framework.


gives no uniform characteristics with eachKurzgeschichte to occur must, and “Kurzgeschichte” as term is not selective. The present literary practice of the short stories writers decides on the characteristics, which are used with the term “Kurzgeschichte” in connection. Action and conflict can shift completely into humans, sothat this internal action more important is than that purely outside visible happenings (reciprocal effect). Nevertheless some characteristics can be found (those not to always arise):

  • Small extent
  • no introduction (and/or. very short introduction) i.e. no exposition
  • of surprising entrance
  • open conclusion or a punchline
  • Conflict realms situation
  • or two main persons are located in the center (there are however also Kurzgeschichten with clearly more main persons)
  • a crucial cut from the life of the acting person tell
  • chronological telling
  • Einsträngige action
  • to little action
  • metaphors and guidance motives point thatReader on important criteria of history
  • the high point/turning point occurs at the end of history
  • topics is problems of the time
  • the figures is humans, who do not stand out (see. Everyday life people)
  • place and time much compresses
  • the action period is retadierend inkomprimiert () it
  • is unclearly of a respectable complexity (unclear) to go out


ideal way consists a Kurzgeschichte of the 4 elements: Prelude, structure of the problem/the tension, retardierendes moment, solution. Solution does not have in the moment solution of theProblem mean. A failure of the Protagonisten is regarded in this connection also as “solution”. The telling perspective is often those of the I storyteller (review, chronological arrangement) with reduced knowledge for the reader. It does not experience often no more (even less) than the I storytellerat the time of the happening knows. Modern Kurzgeschichten have often a he storyteller, far behind (in!) the main figure (EN) withdraws. It is frequently only in connecting intermediate texts provable (… he said.). Sometimes it tells as from the consciousness center one or several persons(internal mono logs!), or he behaves like a completely neutral observer, without abandoning the thoughts and feelings of its figures (like a neutrally registering camera!), by abschildert excluding outside procedures (cut technology). Intention/effect of latter telling attitude: The reader is forced,to read the text very intensively to open much at internal procedures in order to understand, the thoughts, to derive feelings and reactions from the outside references and in such a way to seize also the characteristics: active, along-thinking, along-creative reading is necessary


a substantial which is characteristic is in the process naturally the shortness of the Kurzgeschichte. With it not only the quantitative side/line extent, but also the qualitative extent are meant: There is usually only one tension elbow or action framework, the Kurzgeschichte acts in oneshort and clearly outlined time extent and works with an only small number on places and characters.


generictypically is rather the sudden at the beginning of history as well as the open conclusion - or however a punchline at the end of theText.

identification offers

for the reader set and prove everyday life situation Kurzgeschichten therefore already contentwise an everyday life referringness , which shows up both situativ as well as in the language (everyday life language). Center of the Kurzgeschichte is usually no hero (Heros),separate a person of the everyday life or an anti-hero, are scarcely contrasted to whose weaknesses, problems or aspects in the Kurzgeschichte. The classification into a totalmetaphysical, klassizistisches conception of the world is omitted. A such agreement of the futurisierten Genotypes is very speculative nevertheless anddeplatzierend.

linguistic one and contentwise compression

the small length of the Kurzgeschichte accompany with the obligation to the detail opinion, to contrasting certain, isolated topics. Therefore individual words and guidance motives in consciously ambiguous constructions and in purposeful repetition become linguisticused, which brings the Kurzgeschichte to kinds such as poems or the parabola close. Therefore a Kurzgeschichte is usually essentially, sober and scarce. It is graphic and close-to-reality and is not isolated, but is not functionally written.


for history Kurzgeschichten asshort stories within the range of the anglo American literature (z. B.Edgar Allan Poe; Sherwood Anderson one; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner; Sinclair Lewis) and became generally accepted after the Second World War also in Germany.

In Germany meaning Kurzgeschichten z particularly developed in the post-war period. B. by Wolfgang Borchert, Heinrich Boell, Wolfdietrich Schnurre, Ilse Aichinger, Hans Bender, Elizabeth Langgässer, Alfred Andersch one, Marie Luise Kaschnitz, Siegfried spring, Wolfgang Weyrauch and Gabriele Wohmann. Starting from center of the 1960er-Jahre this literary kind lost a part of its meaning. Further compression and reduction led to shortest history; Authors of such texts are among other things Peter Bichsel, briefly Marti, Helga M.Novak and Thomas's Bernhard.


  • “us is missing the optimism 19. Century to believe this world could be caught on five hundred sides; therefore we select the short form! “(Jorge Luis Borges)
  • “a Kurzgeschichte is a history, on which one must work for a very long time, until she is short. “(Vicente Aleixandre)
  • “my hardsimmered ambition cannot discharge of this form. If one takes it really seriously, then the Kurzgeschichte becomes - that is my opinion- to the most difficult all Prosaformen, because no different one requires discipline of the author as much. “(Truman Capote)
  • “the more you shortest, the more frequently are printed you.” (Anton Tschechow)
  • “a work of art cannot be short as it were enough, because upits value is based to its pushed shortness. “(Gilbert Keith Chesterton)
  • “there are Kurzgeschichten there, read themselves like a Achtzeiler of Goethe, crammed with linguistic, mental and relations and compressions by feel. Others again appear so compressed that them withVintages zerknallen like hand grenades. “(Wolfgang Liebeneiner)
  • “excuse the length of the letter, I had no time me to seize briefly!” (Goethe)


collections of texts

  • classical German Kurzgeschichten. Hrsg. and with oneEpilog by Werner Bell man. Reclam, Stuttgart 2003.ISBN 3-15-018251-4 [the collection contains 33 stories from the period 1945 - 1965.]
  • German Kurzprosa of the present. Hrsg. by Werner Bell man and Christine Hummel. Reclam, Stuttgart 2005. ISBN 3-15-018387-1 [the collection contains30 texts from the period 1965 - 2004: Kurzgeschichten, shortest stories, modern Kurzprosa.]


  • classical German Kurzgeschichten. Interpretations. Hrsg. by Werner Bell man. Reclam, Stuttgart 2004. ISBN 3-15-017525-9 [33 interpretations to the texts of the 2003 Anthologie published.]
  • Rainer Könecke: Interpretation assistance: German Kurzgeschichten 1945-1968. 2. Edition. Klett, Stuttgart/Dresden 1995.
  • Franz Josef Thiemermann: Kurzgeschichten in German German. Texts - interpretations - methodical references. Kamps, Bochum 1967 [u.ö.].

research literature

  • Ludwig Rohner: Theory of the Kurzgeschichte. 2. , improvedEdition. Wiesbaden 1976.
  • Manfred Durzak: The art of the Kurzgeschichte. Munich 1989 (UTB 1519).
  • Erna Kritsch Neuse: The storyteller in the German Kurzgeschichte. Columbia (S.C.) 1991.
  • Hans Dieter Gelfert: How does one interpret a novella and a Kurzgeschichte? Reclam publishing house, Stuttgart 1993. ISBN 3150150302
  • Manfred Durzak: The German Kurzgeschichte of the present. 3. , edition extended. King living & Neumann, Würzburg 2002. ISBN 382602074X
  • Leonie Marx: The German Kurzgeschichte. 3. , updated and. extended edition. Metzler publishing house, Stuttgart/Weimar 2005 (collection Metzler. 216). ISBN 3-476-13216-1
  • Urs Meyer: Short and shortest history, in: Small literary forms in single representations. Stuttgart: Reclam 2002, S. 124-146.

see also

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