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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 330 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KARL WILHELM FRIEDRICH VON SCHLEGEL (1772-1829), German poet, critic and scholar, was the younger brother of August Wilhelm von Schlegel. He was born at Hanover on the loth of March 1772. He studied law at Gottingen and Leipzig, but ultimately devoted himself entirely to literary studies. He published in 1797 the important book Die Griechen and Romer, which was followed by the suggestive Geschichte der Poesie der Griechen and Romer (1798). At Jena, where he lectured as a Privatdozent at the university, he contributed to the Athenaeum the aphorisms and essays in which the principles of the Romantic school are most definitely stated. Here also he wrote Lucinde (1799), an unfinished romance, which is interesting as an attempt to transfer to practical ethics the Romantic demand for complete individual freedom, and Alarcos, a tragedy (1802) in which, without much success, he combined romantic and classical elements. In 1802 he went to Paris, where he edited the review Europa (1803), lectured on philosophy and carried on Oriental studies, some results of which he embodied in an epoch-making book, Uber die Sprache and Weisheit der Indier (18o8). In the same year in which this work appeared, he and his wife Dorothea (1763-1839), a daughter of Moses Mendelssohn, joined the Roman Catholic Church, and from this time he became more and more opposed to the principles of political and religious freedom. He went to Vienna and in 1809 was appointed imperial court secretary at the headquarters of the archduke Charles. At a later period he was councillor of legation in the Austrian embassy at the Frankfort diet, but in 1818 he returned to Vienna. Meanwhile he had published his collected Gedichte (1809) and two series of lectures, Uber die neuere Geschichte (1811) and Geschichte der alten and neuen Literatur (1815). After his return to Vienna from Frankfort he edited Concordia (1820-1823), and began the issue of his Samtliche Werke. He also delivered lectures, which were re-published in his Philosophic des Lebens (1828) and in his Philosophic der Geschichte (1829). He died on the Ifth of January 1829 at Dresden. A permanent place in the history of German literature belongs to Friedrich Schlegel and his brother August Wilhelm as the critical leaders of the Romantic school, which derived from them most of its governing ideas as to the characteristics of the middle ages, and as to the methods of literary expression. Of the two brothers, Friedrich was unquestionably the more original genius. He was the real founder of the Romantic school; to him more than to any other member of the school we owe the revolutionizing and germinating ideas which influenced so profoundly the development of German literature at the beginning of the 19th century. Friedrich Schlegel's wife, Dorothea, was the author of an unfinished romance, Florentin (18o,), a Sammlung romantischer Dichtungen des Mittelalters (2 vols., 1804), a version of Lolher and Mailer (1805), and a translation of Madame de Stael's Corinne (18o7-,8o8)-all of which were issued under her husband's name. By her first marriage she had a son, Philipp Veit, who became an eminent painter. Friedrich Schlegel's Sdmtliche Werke appeared in io vols. (1822— botanists of his time as to have earned from Anton de Bary the title of reformer of scientific botany. His botanical labours practically ceased after 185o, when he entered on various philosophical and historical studies.

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