The importance of Paul Heyse (1830-1914) and Emanuel Geibel (1815-1884) for the "crocodiles" cannot be overestimated. Personal tributes to the journalist and "crocodile" poet Julius Grosse (1828-1902) as well as press clippings from the collection of the Munich literary and art historian Hyacinth Holland (1827-1918) provide numerous insights.
After the failure of an understanding between "Neumünchen" and "Altmünchen" - between the northern poets and writers ("Nordlichter") appointed in Munich by royal patronage and their native opponents - Heyse was responsible for creating a group of poets who gave up the resistance on both sides. Following the example of the Berlin association "Tunnel über der Spree", members of which were Heyse and Geibel, a new association was to be created. Geibel, however, was critical of the "tunnel", which is why he originally expressed himself against the idea, but he was ultimately unable to assert himself against Heyse.
His own influence nevertheless remained decisive for the "crocodiles": during the time of its first boom, Geibel led a strict regiment and gave the circle a closed reputation to the outside. "The respect for him and the force of his personality paralyzed free judgment, which was still biased enough anyway," his friend and colleague Heyse would state with some distance (Paul Heyse, Jugenderinnerungen und Bekenntnisse, 1901).
Other figures such as the poets Hermann Lingg (1820-1905) and Melchior Meyr (1810-1871) were either sponsored by Geibel or fell into disfavour with him. While the former was able to convince the "pope of poetry" by his poetic ability, so that Geibel tried to achieve a fixed annual salary for him from King Max II (1811-1864), the latter distinguished himself by his supposed incapacity: "He is more a philosopher than a poet", was Geibel's short verdict, which meant that Meyr could no longer succeed with the king. Prize critiques of the poem by Hermann Linggs also give an insight into the poetry of the epigone, popular with naturalists because of its "incorrectness", and highlight his particular uniqueness among the "crocodile" poets.
Another case was that of the writer and translator Friedrich Bodenstedt (1819-1892). He did not like either Geibel or Heyse. The composer Robert Freiherr von Hornstein (1833-1890), honorary member of the "crocodiles" from 1861, remembered:
The two leaders of the poets' troupe, Geibel and Heyse, treated him badly. Bodenstedt returned the favour by surrounding himself with a special circle of admirers. His assistant was his wife Mathilde, celebrated as "Edlitham" in his poems. Since his fame was no less in width than that of his two opponents, he was visited by all the aesthetes of both sexes. Mrs. Edlitham then nailed them firmly with hospitality and kindness. The lyricist and the novelist then inundated him occasionally with mockery, which Bodenstedt made quite easy for them by offering the most beautiful broadsides with his more than naive vanity. Many things were also said about him, which were probably very exaggerated, if not completely invented. (Robert von Hornstein, Memoiren, 1908)
Nevertheless, Bodenstedt - as well as Lingg and, of course, Heyse and Geibel themselves - was to win the renown among the "crocodiles" that he was entitled to according to the contemporary view of the time.