Simon Dach, (born July 29, 1605, Memel, East Prussia [now in Lithuania]--died April 15, 1659, Konigsberg [now Kaliningrad, Russia]), Prussian poet who was best known as the leader of the 17th-century Konigsberg circle of middle-class poets, important in the early Baroque movement in literature, which reflects the stress and turmoil of the period of the Thirty Years' War.After earning his living for many years as a private tutor for wealthy families, he became a professor of poetry at the University of Konigsberg in 1639. His occasional poetry, which commemorated the births, deaths, and marriages..
Karl Ludwig von Knebel, (born Nov. 30, 1744, Castle Wallerstein, near Nordlingen, Franconia [Germany]--died Feb. 23, 1834, Jena, Saxony [Germany]), German poet who was a close friend of J.W. von Goethe and was one of the most talented of the Weimar circle of Neoclassicists.After serving in the Prussian army, Knebel became tutor to Prince Konstantine of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. While traveling with the prince and his older brother, the duke Karl August, Knebel brought about the introduction of Goethe to the duke, who gave Goethe several official positions. Knebel's work on Pindar and his translations..
Robert Hamerling, original name Rupert Johann Hammerling, (born March 24, 1830, Kirchberg am Walde, Austria--died July 13, 1889, Graz), Austrian poet remembered chiefly for his epics.After studying in Vienna, he became a teacher in Trieste (1855-66). He wrote several popular collections of lyrics, including Ein Schwanenlied der Romantik (1862; "A Swan Song of the Romantic"), which have some attractive rhythms but not much originality. His most important works are his epic poems: Ahasver in Rom (1866; "Ahasuerus in Rome"), a grandiosely romantic retelling of the myth of the wandering..
Johann Christian Gunther, (born April 8, 1695, Striegau, Silesia--died March 15, 1723, Jena), one of the most important German lyric poets of the period between the Middle Ages and the early Goethe.He studied medicine at Wittenberg but after two years of dissolute life went in 1717 to Leipzig, where an effort to procure him the post of stipendiary poet at the Saxon-Polish court at Dresden ended in a fiasco, for which Gunther was partly to blame. In 1719 his father, who for long had opposed his son's poetical ambitions, disinherited him, despite Gunther's pathetic attempts at reconciliation.In..
Theodor Korner, in full Karl Theodor Korner, (born Sept. 23, 1791, Dresden, Saxony--died Aug. 26, 1813, Gadebusch, Mecklenburg), German patriotic poet of the war of liberation against Napoleon in 1813 whose death in Lutzow's volunteer corps made him a popular hero.His father, Christian Gottfried Korner, was a friend of Friedrich Schiller. Korner grew up in a house frequented by writers and scientists. He studied philosophy in Berlin, where he attended the lectures of the famous philosophers Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Schleiermacher. By 1812 the Vienna Burgtheater had produced..
Christian Hofmann von Hofmannswaldau, (born Dec. 25, 1617, Breslau, Silesia--died April 18, 1679, Breslau), poet who was the leading representative of the "Second Silesian School," the German counterpart to the Baroque extravagance of the Italian poets Giambattista Marino and Giovanni Battista Guarini and the Spanish poet Luis de Gongora.While studying at Danzig, he met and was influenced by the great writer and theorist Martin Opitz. Having travelled widely, he returned to Breslau in 1646 to take a leading administrative post, which he held until his death. He wrote a quantity of verse,..
Friedrich von Hagedorn, (born April 23, 1708, Hamburg [Germany]--died Oct. 28, 1754, Hamburg), poet who introduced a new lightness and grace into German poetry and was highly esteemed by his contemporaries.Hagedorn's father was the Danish ambassador in Hamburg, and the young Hagedorn in 1729 became an unpaid private secretary to the Danish ambassador in London. He returned to Hamburg in 1731 and two years later was appointed secretary to the English trading company Englischer Hof, a position that gave him a great deal of leisure.Although he is usually grouped with the German Anacreontic..
Friedrich Ruckert, pseudonym Freimund Raimar, (born May 16, 1788, Schweinfurt, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha--died Jan. 31, 1866, Neuses, near Coburg), prolific German poet known for his facility with many different verse forms.Ruckert studied at Wurzburg and Heidelberg and qualified for, but withdrew from, an academic career. A gifted linguist, he was self-educated in Oriental languages and, through translations and imitations of Eastern literature, introduced his German readers to Arabic, Persian, Indian, and Chinese mythology and verse. He taught Oriental philology from 1826 at Erlangen..
Ewald Christian von Kleist, (born March 7, 1715, Zeblin, Pomerania [now Cybulino, Poland]--died August 24, 1759, Frankfurt an der Oder, Brandenburg), German lyric poet best known for his long poem Der Fruhling, which, with its realistically observed details of nature, contributed to the development of a new poetic style.Brought up by Jesuits, he studied law and mathematics and then became an army officer, first in Denmark and then in 1740 in Prussia. In Potsdam, while in service, he met Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim, through whose influence and friendship he first became a poet. The happiest..
Emanuel Geibel, in full Franz Emanuel August Geibel, (born Oct. 17, 1815, Lubeck [Germany]--died April 6, 1884, Lubeck, Ger.), German poet who was the centre of a circle of literary figures drawn together in Munich by Maximilian II of Bavaria. This group belonged to the Gesellschaft der Krokodile ("Society of the Crocodiles"), a literary society that cultivated traditional poetic themes and forms.After completing his university studies at Bonn and Berlin, Geibel devoted himself to travel and became, in 1838, tutor to the Russian ambassador in Athens. In 1840 his extremely successful Gedichte..
Tannhauser, (born c. 1200--died c. 1270), German lyric poet who became the hero of a popular legend.As a professional minnesinger, he served a number of noble patrons, and from his references to them it can be concluded that his career spanned the period c. 1230-c. 1270. Not much is known of his life, except that he traveled widely and almost certainly took part in the Crusade of 1228-29. There are six extant Leiche (lyric lays) by Tannhauser, a few dance songs and love songs (the latter in a parodistic vein), and a group of Spruche (gnomic poems).The Tannhauser legend is preserved in a popular ballad,..
Ludwig Uhland, in full Johann Ludwig Uhland, (born April 26, 1787, Tubingen, Wurttemberg [Germany]--died Nov. 13, 1862, Tubingen), German Romantic poet and political figure important to the development of German medieval studies.Uhland studied law and classical and medieval literature at the University of Tubingen. While in Tubingen he wrote his first poems, which were published in Vaterlandische Gedichte (1815; "Fatherland Poems"). It was the first of some 50 editions of the work issued during his lifetime. The collection, which was inspired by the contemporary political situation..
Georg Herwegh, (born May 31, 1817, Stuttgart, Wurttemberg [Germany]--died April 7, 1875, Baden-Baden, Ger.), poet whose appeal for a revolutionary spirit in Germany was strengthened by a lyric sensitivity.Herwegh was expelled from the theological college at Tubingen and began his literary career as a journalist. Called up for military duty, he tactlessly insulted an officer and was forced to flee to Switzerland. There he found a publisher for his best-known collection, Gedichte eines Lebendigen (1841, 1843; "Poems of One Living"), political poems expressing the aspirations of German..
Johann Heinrich Voss, (born February 20, 1751, Sommersdorf, Mecklenburg [Germany]--died March 29, 1826, Heidelberg, Baden), German poet remembered chiefly for his translations of Homer.Voss was the son of a farmer. In 1772 he went to Gottingen, where he studied theology (briefly) and philology and became one of the leading spirits of the Gottinger Hain, a group of young poets. He also became editor of the Gottinger Musenalmanach. From 1778 to 1802 Voss was headmaster of schools, first at Otterndorf, Hanover, where he began to translate the Odyssey, then at Eutin; but he found the work uncongenial..
Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, (born March 24, 1739, Obersontheim, Swabia--died Oct. 10, 1791, Stuttgart, Wurttemberg), German poet of the Sturm und Drang period, known for his pietistic and nationalistic leanings.He entered the University of Erlangen in 1758 but left after two years. After he attempted to earn a livelihood as a private tutor and an assistant preacher, his musical talents gained him the appointment of organist in Geislingen and subsequently in Ludwigsburg; but in consequence of a somewhat dissolute life, which found expression in a parody of the litany, he was expelled..
Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, (born July 2, 1724, Quedlinburg, Saxony [Germany]--died March 14, 1803, Hamburg), German epic and lyric poet whose subjective vision marked a break with the rationalism that had dominated German literature in the early 18th century.Klopstock was educated at Schulpforta, a prestigious Protestant boarding school, where he read John Milton's Paradise Lost in the translation by the influential Swiss critic Johann Jakob Bodmer. That experience prompted Klopstock to begin planning a great religious epic poem. In 1749 the first three cantos of his Der Messias..
Ferdinand Freiligrath, (born June 17, 1810, Detmold, Westphalia [Germany]--died March 18, 1876, Cannstatt, near Stuttgart, Ger.), one of the outstanding German political poets of the 19th century, whose verse gave poetic expression to radical sentiments.After working as an accountant in a bank in Amsterdam (1831-39), Freiligrath abandoned commerce for literature with the success of his first poems, the Romantic Gedichte (1838; "Poems"). Influenced by Victor Hugo, these early poems are characterized by vividly imaginative and evocative exotic scenes and technical virtuosity; they..
Richard Dehmel, (born Nov. 18, 1863, Wendisch-Hermsdorf, Brandenburg, Prussia [Germany]--died Feb. 8, 1920, Blankenese, near Hamburg), German poet who exerted a major influence on young writers through his innovations in form and content.After completing his studies at Berlin and Leipzig in 1887, Dehmel worked as an insurance official and then, in 1895, became a freelance writer. He chose naturalistic social themes for his early works and was one of the first major poets to write about the misery of the working classes. Influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche, he extolled individualism and..
Sebastian Brant, Brant also spelled Brandt, (born 1457, Strassburg [now Strasbourg, France]--died May 10, 1521, Strassburg), satirical poet best known for his Das Narrenschiff (1494; The Ship of Fools), the most popular German literary work of the 15th century.Brant studied in Basel, where he received his B.A. in 1477 and doctor of laws in 1489; he taught in the law faculty there from 1484 to 1500. In 1500, when Basel joined the Swiss Confederation (1499), he returned to Strassburg, where in 1503 he was made municipal secretary. Maximilian I appointed him imperial councillor and count palatine.Brant's..
Gottfried August Burger, (born Dec. 31, 1747, Molmerswende bei Halberstadt, Brandenburg, Prussia [Germany]--died June 8, 1794, Gottingen, Hanover), one of the founders of German Romantic ballad literature whose style reflects the renewed interest in folk song (Volkspoesie) in Europe during the late 1700s.Burger was educated in theology at the University of Halle and in law at the University of Gottingen. It was in Gottingen that he first came into contact with a group of Sturm und Drang poets known as the Gottinger Hain, who drew inspiration from folk ballads.In 1773 Burger published the..
Eduard Friedrich Morike, (born Sept. 8, 1804, Ludwigsburg, Wurttemberg [Germany]--died June 4, 1875, Stuttgart), one of Germany's greatest lyric poets.After studying theology at Tubingen (1822-26), Morike held several curacies before becoming, in 1834, pastor of Cleversulzbach, the remote Wurttemberg village immortalized in Der alte Turmhahn, where inhabitants and pastor are seen through the whimsical but percipient eyes of an old weathercock. All his life Morike suffered from psychosomatic illnesses, which were possibly intensified by an unconscious conflict between his humanist..
Martin Opitz, in full Martin Opitz von Boberfeld, (born December 23, 1597, Bunzlau, Silesia [now Boleslawiec, Poland]--died August 20, 1639, Danzig [now Gdansk, Poland]), German poet and literary theorist who introduced foreign literary models into German poetry and who was a pioneer in establishing a national German literature.Opitz studied at universities in Frankfurt an der Oder, Heidelberg, and Leiden, where he met the Dutch poet Daniel Heinsius. He led a wandering life in the service of various territorial nobles. In 1625, as a reward for a requiem poem on the death of Charles Joseph..
Wolfram von Eschenbach, (born c. 1170--died c. 1220), German poet whose epic Parzival, distinguished alike by its moral elevation and its imaginative power, is one of the most profound literary works of the Middle Ages.An impoverished Bavarian knight, Wolfram apparently served a succession of Franconian lords: Abensberg, Wildenberg, and Wertheim are among the places he names in his work. He also knew the court of the landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia, where he met the great medieval lyric poet Walther von der Vogelweide. Though a self-styled illiterate, Wolfram showed an extensive acquaintance..
Friedrich Holderlin, in full Johann Christian Friedrich Holderlin, (born March 20, 1770, Lauffen am Neckar, Wurttemberg [Germany]--died June 7, 1843, Tubingen), German lyric poet who succeeded in naturalizing the forms of classical Greek verse in German and in melding Christian and classical themes.Holderlin was born in a little Swabian town on the River Neckar. His father died in 1772, and two years afterward his mother married the burgomaster of the town of Nurtingen, where Friedrich attended school. But his mother was again widowed, in 1779, and left alone to bring up her family--which..
Klaus Groth, (born April 24, 1819, Heide, Holstein--died June 1, 1899, Kiel, Ger.), German regional poet whose book Quickborn (1853) first revealed the poetic possibilities of Plattdeutsch (Low German).Groth was originally a schoolteacher, but his tireless self-education finally enabled him to win a chair at Kiel University (1866). Inspired by the Scots dialect poems of Robert Burns and the Swabian-Swiss writings of Johann Peter Hebel, he explored the potentials of his native Dithmarschen dialect as a vehicle of lyrical expression. His poems have the simplicity of folk songs and have..
Heinrich Von Morungen, (died 1222, near Leipzig), German minnesinger, one of the few notable courtly poets from east-central Germany.A native of Thuringia, he spent much of his later life in the service of Duke Dietrich of Meissen. His poems, of which some 33 are to be found in the Heidelberg manuscript, are all devoted to the fashionable cult of love. His poems show more originality and spontaneity than those of his contemporaries because of his vivid imagination and the intensity of his emotion. As a result his poems appeal to the modern reader more than those of any other minnesinger with the..
Petrus Lotichius Secundus, (born Nov. 2, 1528, Niederzell, near Schluchtern, Hesse--died Oct. 22, 1560, Heidelberg, Lower Palatinate), one of Germany's outstanding neo-Latin Renaissance poets.Lotichius studied in Frankfurt, Marburg, and Wittenberg. He participated in the Protestant defense of Magdeburg (1547) and later studied at Montpellier and Padua, where he received his medical degree. Appointed professor of medicine and botany at Heidelberg (1557), he remained there until his death.Lotichius' elegies, poems, and eulogies were first published in 1551; the complete works,..
Reinmar von Hagenau, byname Reinmar the Elder, German Reinmar der Alte, (died c. 1205), German poet whose delicate and subtle verses constitute the ultimate refinement of the classical, or "pure," Minnesang (Middle High German love lyric; see minnesinger).A native of Alsace, Reinmar became court poet of the Babenberg dukes in Vienna. Among his pupils was Walther von der Vogelweide, who later became his rival. The purity of Reinmar's rhymes, the evenness of his rhythms, and the fastidious taste that rejected any phrase or emotion that might offend courtly sensibilities made him idolized..
Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim, (born April 2, 1719, Ermsleben, near Halberstadt, Saxony--died Feb. 18, 1803, Halberstadt), German Anacreontic poet.Gleim studied law at Halle and was successively secretary to Prince William of Brandenburg-Schwedt at Berlin, to Prince Leopold of Dessau, and secretary (1747) of the cathedral chapter at Halberstadt. "Father Gleim" was the title accorded him throughout literary Germany on account of his generosity to young poets. Although he looked with some suspicion on their revolutionary tendencies, he helped them none the less. Gleim himself wrote feeble..
Barthold Heinrich Brockes, (born Sept. 22, 1680, Hamburg [Germany]--died Jan. 16, 1747, Ritzebuttel, Cuxhaven), poet whose works were among the most influential expressions of the early Enlightenment in Germany.The scion of a wealthy patrician family, he traveled widely before becoming a merchant in his hometown. In 1720 he was appointed a member of the Hamburg senate, and in 1735 he became a magistrate in Ritzebuttel. Influenced by the 18th-century British poets James Thomson and Alexander Pope, whose works he translated, he wrote nature poetry, such as Irdisches Vergnugen in Gott (1721-48;..
Friedrich von Matthisson, (born Jan. 23, 1761, Hohendodeleben, near Magdeburg, Saxony--died March 12, 1831, Worlitz, Anhalt-Dessau), German poet whose verses were praised for their melancholy sweetness and pastoral descriptive passages.After studying philology at the University of Halle, Matthisson was appointed (1781) master at the once-famous Philanthropin, a seminary in Dessau, and then accepted a travelling tutorship (1784). Appointed reader and travelling companion to Princess Louisa of Anhalt-Dessau, he entered the service of the king of Wurttemberg (1812), who made him..
Hrosvitha, also spelled Hrosvit, Hroswitha, Hrotsvit, Hrotsvitha, Rosvita, and Roswitha, (born c. 935--died c. 1000), regarded as the first German woman poet.Of noble birth, Hrosvitha spent most of her life as a nun in the Benedictine convent at Gandersheim. In an effort to counteract the pagan morality expressed in classical works, Hrosvitha wrote (c. 960) six comedies in Latin, based on Terence, but embodying Christian themes. Written in a rough, partly rhymed prose, they were meant to provide edification for her sister nuns and were not to be compared to the vain pleasures of more felicitous..
Neidhart von Reuenthal, (born c. 1180, Bavaria [Germany]--died c. 1250), late medieval German knightly poet who, in the period of the decline of the courtly love lyric, introduced a new genre called hofische Dorfpoesie ("courtly village poetry"). It celebrated, in dancing songs, the poet's love of village maidens rather than noble ladies.Neidhart's poems are usually divided into Sommerlieder ("summer songs") and Winterlieder ("winter songs"). The summer songs open with a description of the season, followed by a dance on the village green and a love episode dealing with a knight's (Neidhart's)..
Frauenlob, byname of Heinrich Von Meissen, (born c. 1260, Meissen, Thuringia [Germany]--died Nov. 29, 1318, Mainz, Franconia [Germany]), late Middle High German poet. He was the original representative of the school of middle-class poets who succeeded the knightly minnesingers, or love poets, adapting the minnesinger traditions to poems dealing with theological mysteries, scientific lore, and philosophy. His nickname, meaning "extoller of ladies," supposedly derives from his championship of the title Vrowe (lady) over Wip (woman) in a contest with a rival poet.Well-educated and..
Rudolf von Ems, (born c. 1200, Hohenems, Swabia [now in Austria]--died c. 1254, Italy), prolific and versatile Middle High German poet. Between about 1220 and 1254 he wrote five epic poems, totaling more than 93,000 lines.Though the influence of earlier masters of the courtly epic is evident in his work--his style is modeled on Gottfried von Strassburg, while his moral outlook derives from Hartmann von Aue--Rudolf's poems show considerable originality in subject matter. His earliest preserved poem, Der guote Gerhart ("Gerhard the Good"), is the story of a Cologne merchant who, despite his..
Wilhelm Muller, (born Oct. 7, 1794, Dessau, duchy of Anhalt [Germany]--died Sept. 30, 1827, Dessau), German poet who was known both for his lyrics that helped to arouse sympathy for the Greeks in their struggle for independence from the Turks and for his verse cycles "Die schone Mullerin" and "Die Winterreise," which Franz Schubert set to music.After studying philology and history at the University of Berlin, Muller volunteered in the Prussian uprising against Napoleon (1813-14). On his return from a trip to Italy (1817), he was appointed teacher of classics (1818) and librarian at the ducal..
Konrad von Wurzburg, (born c. 1225, Wurzburg, Wurzburg--died Aug. 31, 1287, Basel, Switz.), Middle High German poet who, during the decline of chivalry, sought to preserve the ideals of courtly life.Of humble origin, he served a succession of patrons as a professional poet and eventually settled in Basel. His works range from love lyrics and short didactic poems (Spruche) to full-scale epics, such as Partonopier und Meliur, on the fairy-lover theme, and Der Trojanerkrieg (The Trojan War), an account of the Trojan War. He is at his best in his shorter narrative poems, the secular romances Engelhart,..
Gottfried Kinkel, (born Aug. 11, 1815, Oberkassel, near Bonn [Germany]--died Nov. 13, 1882, Zurich, Switz.), German poet who owes his reputation chiefly to his sympathy with the Revolutions of 1848.Kinkel studied in Bonn and lectured on church history in Berlin, although he later abandoned Christianity. He married the liberal writer Johanna Matthieux in 1843, the same year his Gedichte ("Poems") appeared and was favourably received. In 1845 he became a professor of art and cultural history in Bonn, and in 1848 he turned to journalism, founding the newspaper Demokratischer Verein ("Democratic..
Paul Fleming, (born Oct. 5, 1609, Hartenstein, Saxony [now in Germany]--died April 2, 1640, Hamburg), outstanding lyrical poet of 17th-century Germany. He brought a new immediacy and sincerity to the innovations of metre and stanza introduced by his teacher, Martin Opitz.The son of a Lutheran pastor, Fleming was studying medicine and composing Latin verse at Leipzig when he met Opitz and became his ardent disciple. Fleming spent years with a trade mission in Russia and Iran. In Revel (now Tallinn, Est.) he experienced a disappointing love affair. He later continued studying medicine in Leyden,..
Adolf Ludwig Follen, also called August Adolf Follenius, (born Jan. 21, 1794, Giessen, Hesse--died Dec. 26, 1855, Bern), German political and Romantic poet, an important founder and leader of radical student groups in the early 19th century.While studying at Giessen in 1814, he founded the democratic Deutsche Lesegesellschaft (German Reading Society). Expelled for his political views in 1815, he went to Heidelberg, where he was among the founders of the political student association Teutonia. With his brother, Karl, he was also the leader of the Unbedingten (Uncompromising Ones), or..
Hartmann von Aue, (born c. 1160--died c. 1210), Middle High German poet, one of the masters of the courtly epic.Hartmann's works suggest that he received a learned education at a monastery school, that he was a ministerialis at a Swabian court, and that he may have taken part in the Third Crusade (1189-92) or the ill-fated Crusade of the Holy Roman emperor Henry VI in 1197. Hartmann's extant works consist of four extended narrative poems (Erec, Gregorius, Der arme Heinrich, Iwein), two shorter allegorical love poems (Buchlein I and II), and 16 lyrics (13 love songs and three Crusading songs). The..
Georg Philipp Harsdorfer, Harsdorfer also spelled Harsdorffer, (born November 1, 1607, Nurnberg [Germany]--died September 17?, 1658, Nurnberg), German poet and theorist of the Baroque movement who wrote more than 47 volumes of poetry and prose and, with Johann Klaj (Clajus), founded the most famous of the numerous Baroque literary societies, the Pegnesischer Blumenorden ("Pegnitz Order of Flowers").Of patrician background, Harsdorfer undertook university studies and an extended Bildungsreise ("educational journey") through England, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. In 1632..
Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Holty, (born Dec. 21, 1748, Mariensee, Hanover--died Sept. 1, 1776, Mariensee), German poet who is considered the most gifted lyric poet of the Gottinger Hain, a group of young poets who saw themselves as heirs of the great lyric poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and whose work was characterized by love of nature and the expression of national feeling.In 1769 Holty went to Gottingen to study theology. There he became close friends with the poets Johann Martin Miller, Johann Heinrich Voss, Heinrich Boie, and Christian and Friedrich Leopold Stolberg. Together they..
August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, (born April 2, 1798, Fallersleben, near Braunschweig, Hanover [Germany]--died Jan. 19, 1874, Corvey Castle, near Hoxter, Ger.), German patriotic poet, philologist, and literary historian whose poem "Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles" was adopted as the German national anthem after World War I. (See Deutschlandlied.) His uncomplicated verses, expressing his deep love of country, were of great significance to the German student movement.Having studied at the Universities of Gottingen and Bonn, he was custodian of the university library..