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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 667 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHRISTIAN HEINRICH SPIESS (1755-1799), German writer of romances, was born at Freiberg in Saxony on the 4th of April 1755. For a time an actor, he was appointed in 1788 controller on the estate of a certain Count Kiinigl at.Betzdikau in Bohemia, where he died, almost insane, the result of his weird fancies, on the 17th of August 1799. Spiess, in his Ritter-, Rduber- and Geister-Romane, as they are called—stories of knights, robbers and ghosts of the " dark " ages—the idea of which he borrowed from Goethe's GOaz' von Berlichingen and Schiller's Rduber and Geisterseher, was the founder of the German Schauerroman (shocker), a style of writing continued, though in a finer vein, by Karl Gottlob Cramer (1758-1817) and by Goethe's brother-in-law, Christian August Vulpius. These stories, though appealing largely to the vulgar taste, made Spiess one of the most widely read authors of his day. The most popular was a ghost story of the 13th centtiry, Das Petermdnnchen (1793) among others were Der alte Uberall and Nirgends (1792); Die Lowenritter (1794), and Hans Heiling, vierter and letzter Regent der Erd- Luft- Feuer- and Wasser-Geister (1798). Beside numerous comedies, Spiess wrote, anticipating Schiller, a tragedy Maria Stuart (1784), which was in the same year performed at the court theatre in Vienna. See Karl Goedeke, Grundriss, v. 506 sqq. ; Muller-Fraureuth, Die Ritter- and Rduberromane (Halle, 1894).
End of Article: CHRISTIAN HEINRICH SPIESS (1755-1799)
SPIKENARD, or NARD (O. Fr. spiquenard, Lat. spica n...

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