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Beginning in 1868, he attended the village school and then, in 1874, the Realschule in Breslau for which he had only barely passed the qualifying exam.

Hauptmann had difficulties adjusting himself to his new surroundings in the city.

After he failed to pass an officer entry exam for the Prussian Army, Hauptmann entered the sculpture school at the Royal Art and Vocational School in Breslau in 1880.

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His work also included comedies, including Colleague Crampton (1891) and The Beaver Coat (1893).

In 1893, he also took actress Margarete Marschalk as his lover.

He called it "the mystical protective sheathing of my soul." In the preceding year, Margarete had born him a son, Benvenuto.

In September, 1904, they were married; this second marriage lasted until his death, though it was thrown into a serious crisis in 19 by his affair with a 16-year-old actress, Ida Orloff.

There he decided to settle in Rome as a sculptor, but with little success.

His attempt to establish himself as part of Rome's German expatriate community also failed and his large clay sculpture of a German warrior collapsed.

Because the city air bothered Gerhart's lungs, the couple spent the first four years of their marriage in the town of Erkner, where their three sons were born. There he joined the naturalist literary club "Durch," which included among others Karl Bleibtreu and Wilhelm Bölsche. His first work was a "novelistic study" Signalman Thiel in 1888.

His first play, Before Sunrise, was first staged in 1889, directed by Otto Brahm.

It inaugurated the naturalistic movement in modern German literature.

It was followed by The Reconciliation (1890), Lonely People (1891) and The Weavers (1892), a powerful drama depicting the rising of the Silesian weavers in 1844 for which he is best known outside of Germany.

Hauptmann returned disappointed to Germany, where he began a brief stint at the Royal Academy in Dresden before beginning to study history at Humboldt University of Berlin.

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