Adelbert von Chamisso (January 30, 1781 - August 21, 1838)
Born: 30th January, 1781
Died: 21st August, 1838
Nationality: German
Profession/Occupation: Poet
Region: France, Berlin, Germany
Notable works: "Peter Schlemihl's Remarkable Story", "Frauen-Liebe und Leben"

Adelbert von Chamisso Facts

Biography

Adelbert von Chamisso, original name Louis-Charles-Adelaide Chamisso de Boncourt, (born Jan. 30, 1781, Chateau de Boncourt, Champagne, France--died Aug. 21, 1838, Berlin, Prussia [Germany]), German-language lyricist best remembered for the Faust-like fairy tale Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte (1814; Peter Schlemihl's Remarkable Story).

When he was nine, Chamisso's family escaped the terrors of the French Revolution by taking refuge in Berlin. After abandoning his native French language for German, Chamisso published his first works in the Berliner Musenalmanach, which he coedited with Karl August Varnhagen von Ense from 1804 to 1806. In 1804 he founded the Nordsternbund, a society of Berlin Romanticists. From 1807 to 1812 Chamisso toured France and Switzerland, participating in the literary circle of Madame de Stael. In 1812 he enrolled at the University of Berlin, devoting himself to scientific studies.

In 1814 Chamisso published the tale of Peter Schlemihl, which, more than any other work, won lasting recognition for its author. The story of a man who sold his shadow to the devil, it allegorized Chamisso's own political fate as a man without a country. Though rewarded with an inexhaustible purse, Schlemihl soon discovers that the lack of a shadow involves him in unexpected difficulties. He refuses, however, an offer to restore the shadow in exchange for his soul and instead, with the help of a pair of seven-league boots, wanders through the world searching for the peace of mind he has bartered away.

Chamisso's early poetry--as, for example, the cycle of poems Frauen-Liebe und Leben ("Woman's Love and Life"), set to music by Robert Schumann--depicted simple emotions with a sentimental naivete common to German Romantic verse of the period. His narrative ballads and poems, such as "Vergeltung" ("Reward") and "Salas y Gomez," sometimes inclined to bizarre and mournful subjects. Chamisso's later poetry, however, became more realistic and was praised by the poet Heinrich Heine. Many of these later poems were patterned after the political lyrics of the French poet Pierre-Jean de Beranger, whose works Chamisso translated in 1838. Because these translations, together with his own imitations, helped to introduce political themes into German poetry, Chamisso is considered by many critics to be the forerunner of the political poets of the 1840s.

Chamisso was also a noted scientist involved in the discovery of the metagenesis of certain mollusks and a philologist known for his studies of Australasian languages. When he was botanist on a scientific voyage around the world (1815-18), he kept a diary, Reise um die Welt mit der Romanzoffischen Entdeckungs-Expedition (1836; "Voyage Around the World with the Romanzov Discovery Expedition"), which became a classic of its kind.

Top 14 Adelbert von Chamisso quotes

A person without a shadow should keep out of the sun, that is the only safe and rational plan.
Keep
Only
Out
Person
Plan
Rational
Safe
Shadow
Should
Sun
Without
All possible means were used by the infatuated parents to conclude the bargain; and deception put an end to these usual artifices.
Bargain
Conclude
Deception
End
Means
Parents
Possible
Put
Used
Usual
Were
Because it appears to me a hazardous thing to exchange my soul for my shadow.
Appears
Because
Exchange
Hazardous
Me
My soul
Shadow
Soul
Thing
I ordered gold in the meantime to be showered down without ceasing among the happy multitude.
Among
Down
Gold
Happy
Meantime
Multitude
Ordered
Without
My first care the following morning was, to devise some means of discovering the man in the grey cloak.
Care
Cloak
Discovering
First
Following
Grey
Man
Means
Morning
Some
Of what use were wings to a man fast bound in chains of iron?
Bound
Chains
Fast
Iron
Man
Use
Were
Wings
In this watering-place I acted an heroic character, badly studied; and being a novice on such a stage, I forgot my part before a pair of lovely blue eyes.
Acted
Badly
Before
Being
Blue
Blue eyes
Character
Eyes
Forgot
Heroic
Lovely
Novice
Pair
Part
When I spoke, I was listened to; and I was at a loss to know how I had so easily acquired the art of commanding attention, and giving the tone to the conversation.
Acquired
Art
Attention
Commanding
Conversation
Easily
Giving
Had
How
Know
Listened
Loss
Spoke
Tone
After a prosperous, but to me very wearisome, voyage, we came at last into port. Immediately on landing I got together my few effects; and, squeezing myself through the crowd, went into the nearest and humblest inn which first met my gaze.
After
Came
Crowd
Effects
Few
First
Gaze
Got
Humblest
Immediately
Inn
Landing
Last
Me
I will give you three days to seek your shadow. Return to me in the course of that time with a well-fitted shadow, and you shall receive a hearty welcome; otherwise, on the fourth day - remember, on the fourth day - my daughter becomes the wife of another.
Another
Becomes
Course
Daughter
Day
Days
Fourth
Give
Hearty
Me
Otherwise
Receive
Remember
Return
My vanity was flattered by having been mistaken for our revered sovereign. I ordered a banquet to be got ready for the following evening, under the trees before my house, and invited the whole town.
Banquet
Been
Before
Evening
Flattered
Following
Got
Having
House
Invited
Mistaken
Ordered
Our
Ready
On recovering my senses, I hastened to quit a place where I hoped there was nothing further to detain me. I first filled my pockets with gold, then fastened the strings of the purse round my neck, and concealed it in my bosom.
Bosom
Concealed
Detain
Filled
First
Further
Gold
Hoped
Me
Neck
Nothing
Place
Pockets
Purse
The word majesty was now dropped; but, with the deepest respect and humility, I was addressed as the count. What could I do? I accepted the title, and from that moment I was known as Count Peter.
Accepted
Could
Count
Deepest
Dropped
Humility
Known
Majesty
Moment
Now
Peter
Respect
Title
Word
This man, although he appeared so humble and embarrassed in his air and manners, and passed so unheeded, had inspired me with such a feeling of horror by the unearthly paleness of his countenance, from which I could not avert my eyes, that I was unable longer to endure it.
Air
Although
Appeared
Could
Countenance
Embarrassed
Endure
Eyes
Feeling
Had
He
His
Horror
Humble

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