Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (German: [ˈjoːhan ˈkʁɪstɔf ˈfʁiːdʁɪç fɔn ˈʃɪlɐ]; 10 November 1759 – 9 May 1805) was a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with the already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien, a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents of their philosophical vision.
Portrait of Schiller by Ludovike Simanowiz (1794)
|Born||Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller|
10 November 1759
Marbach am Neckar, Duchy of Württemberg in the Holy Roman Empire
|Died||9 May 1805 (aged 45)|
Weimar, Duchy of Saxe-Weimar in the Holy Roman Empire
|Occupation||Poet, playwright, writer, historian, philosopher|
|Literary movement||Sturm und Drang, Weimar Classicism|
Charlotte von Lengefeld (m. 1790)
|Relatives||Johann Kaspar Schiller (father), Elisabeth Dorothea Schiller, born Kodweiß (mother), Christophine Reinwald (sister)|
Friedrich Schiller was born on 10 November 1759, in Marbach, Württemberg, as the only son of military doctor Johann Kaspar Schiller (1733–1796) and Elisabeth Dorothea Kodweiß (1732–1802). They also had five daughters, including Christophine, the eldest. Schiller grew up in a very religious family and spent much of his youth studying the Bible, which would later influence his writing for the theatre. His father was away in the Seven Years' War when Friedrich was born. He was named after king Frederick the Great, but he was called Fritz by nearly everyone. Kaspar Schiller was rarely home during the war, but he did manage to visit the family once in a while. His wife and children also visited him occasionally wherever he happened to be stationed. When the war ended in 1763, Schiller's father became a recruiting officer and was stationed in Schwäbisch Gmünd. The family moved with him. Due to the high cost of living—especially the rent—the family moved to the nearby town of Lorch.
Although the family was happy in Lorch, Schiller's father found his work unsatisfying. He sometimes took his son with him. In Lorch, Schiller received his primary education. The quality of the lessons was fairly bad, and Friedrich regularly cut class with his older sister. Because his parents wanted Schiller to become a pastor, they had the pastor of the village instruct the boy in Latin and Greek. Pastor Moser was a good teacher, and later Schiller named the cleric in his first play Die Räuber (The Robbers) after him. As a boy, Schiller was excited by the idea of becoming a cleric and often put on black robes and pretended to preach.
In 1766, the family left Lorch for the Duke of Württemberg's principal residence, Ludwigsburg. Schiller's father had not been paid for three years, and the family had been living on their savings but could no longer afford to do so. So Kaspar Schiller took an assignment to the garrison in Ludwigsburg.
There the boy Schiller came to the attention of Karl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg. He entered the Karlsschule Stuttgart (an elite military academy founded by the Duke), in 1773, where he eventually studied medicine. During most of his short life, he suffered from illnesses that he tried to cure himself.
While at the Karlsschule, Schiller read Rousseau and Goethe and discussed Classical ideals with his classmates. At school, he wrote his first play, The Robbers, which dramatizes the conflict between two aristocratic brothers: the elder, Karl Moor, leads a group of rebellious students into the Bohemian forest where they become Robin Hood-like bandits, while Franz Moor, the younger brother, schemes to inherit his father's considerable estate. The play's critique of social corruption and its affirmation of proto-revolutionary republican ideals astounded its original audience. Schiller became an overnight sensation. Later, Schiller would be made an honorary member of the French Republic because of this play. The play was inspired by Leisewitz' earlier play Julius of Tarent, a favourite of the young Schiller.
In 1780, he obtained a post as regimental doctor in Stuttgart, a job he disliked. In order to attend the first performance of The Robbers in Mannheim, Schiller left his regiment without permission. As a result, he was arrested, sentenced to 14 days of imprisonment, and forbidden by Karl Eugen from publishing any further works.
He fled Stuttgart in 1782, going via Frankfurt, Mannheim, Leipzig, and Dresden to Weimar. Along this journey he had an affair with an army officer's wife Charlotte von Kalb. She was at the centre of an intellectual circle, and she was known for her cleverness and instability. Schiller needed help from his family and friends to extricate himself from his financial situation and attachment to a married woman. Schiller settled in Weimar in 1787. In 1789, he was appointed professor of History and Philosophy in Jena, where he wrote only historical works. He was ennobled in 1802, thereby adding the honorific von to his name.
On 22 February 1790, Schiller married Charlotte von Lengefeld (1766–1826). Two sons (Karl Friedrich Ludwig and Ernst Friedrich Wilhelm) and two daughters (Karoline Luise Henriette and Luise Henriette Emilie) were born between 1793 and 1804. The last living descendant of Schiller was a grandchild of Emilie, Baron Alexander von Gleichen-Rußwurm, who died at Baden-Baden, Germany, in 1947.
Schiller returned with his family to Weimar from Jena in 1799. Goethe convinced him to return to playwriting. He and Goethe founded the Weimar Theater, which became the leading theater in Germany. Their collaboration helped lead to a renaissance of drama in Germany.
For his achievements, Schiller was ennobled in 1802 by the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, adding the nobiliary particle "von" to his name. He remained in Weimar, Saxe-Weimar until his death at 45 from tuberculosis in 1805.
The coffin containing what was purportedly Schiller's skeleton was brought in 1827 into the Weimarer Fürstengruft (Weimar's Ducal Vault), the burial place of the house of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach in the Historical Cemetery of Weimar and later also Goethe's resting place. On 3 May 2008, scientists announced that DNA tests have shown that the skull of this skeleton is not Schiller's, and his tomb is now vacant. The physical resemblance between this skull and the extant death mask as well as to portraits of Schiller, had led many experts to believe that the skull was Schiller's.
Friedrich Schiller, the German poet, philosopher, historian, and dramatist, statue on Belle Isle in Detroit Michigan. This statue of the German poet and playwright was commissioned by Detroit's German-American community in 1908 at a cost of $12,000; the designer was Herman Matzen.
In 1787, in his tenth letter about Don Carlos, Schiller wrote:
In a letter from 1829, two Freemasons from Rudolstadt complain about the dissolving of their Lodge Günther zum stehenden Löwen that was honoured by the initiation of Schiller. According to Schiller's great-grandson Alexander von Gleichen-Rußwurm, Schiller was brought to the Lodge by Wilhelm Heinrich Karl von Gleichen-Rußwurm. No membership document has been found.
Schiller wrote many philosophical papers on ethics and aesthetics. He synthesized the thought of Immanuel Kant with the thought of the German Idealist philosopher, Karl Leonhard Reinhold. He elaborated Christoph Martin Wieland's concept of die schöne Seele (the beautiful soul), a human being whose emotions have been educated by reason, so that Pflicht und Neigung (duty and inclination) are no longer in conflict with one another; thus beauty, for Schiller, is not merely an aesthetic experience, but a moral one as well: the Good is the Beautiful. The link between morality and aesthetics also occurs in Schiller's controversial poem, "Die Götter Griechenlandes (The Gods of Greece)." The "gods" in Schiller's poem are thought by modern scholars to represent moral and aesthetic values, which Schiller tied to Paganism and an idea of enchanted nature. In this respect, Schiller's aesthetic doctrine shows the influence of Christian Theosophy.
There is general consensus among scholars that it makes sense to think of Schiller as a liberal, and he is frequently cited as a cosmopolitan thinker. Schiller's philosophical work was particularly concerned with the question of human freedom, a preoccupation which also guided his historical researches, such as the Thirty Years' War and the Dutch Revolt, and then found its way as well into his dramas (the Wallenstein trilogy concerns the Thirty Years' War, while Don Carlos addresses the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain.) Schiller wrote two important essays on the question of the sublime (das Erhabene), entitled "Vom Erhabenen" and "Über das Erhabene"; these essays address one aspect of human freedom—the ability to defy one's animal instincts, such as the drive for self-preservation, when, for example, someone willingly sacrifices themselves for conceptual ideals.
Schiller is considered by most Germans to be Germany's most important classical playwright. Critics like F.J. Lamport and Eric Auerbach have noted his innovative use of dramatic structure and his creation of new forms, such as the melodrama and the bourgeois tragedy. What follows is a brief, chronological description of the plays.
A pivotal work by Schiller was On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters (Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen), first published 1794, which was inspired by the great disenchantment Schiller felt about the French Revolution, its degeneration into violence and the failure of successive governments to put its ideals into practice. Schiller wrote that "a great moment has found a little people"; he wrote the Letters as a philosophical inquiry into what had gone wrong, and how to prevent such tragedies in the future. In the Letters he asserts that it is possible to elevate the moral character of a people, by first touching their souls with beauty, an idea that is also found in his poem Die Künstler (The Artists): "Only through Beauty's morning-gate, dost thou penetrate the land of knowledge."
On the philosophical side, Letters put forth the notion of der sinnliche Trieb / Sinnestrieb ("the sensuous drive") and Formtrieb ("the formal drive"). In a comment to Immanuel Kant's philosophy, Schiller transcends the dualism between Formtrieb and Sinnestrieb with the notion of Spieltrieb ("the play drive"), derived from, as are a number of other terms, Kant's Critique of the Faculty of Judgment. The conflict between man's material, sensuous nature and his capacity for reason (Formtrieb being the drive to impose conceptual and moral order on the world), Schiller resolves with the happy union of Formtrieb and Sinnestrieb, the "play drive," which for him is synonymous with artistic beauty, or "living form." On the basis of Spieltrieb, Schiller sketches in Letters a future ideal state (a eutopia), where everyone will be content, and everything will be beautiful, thanks to the free play of Spieltrieb. Schiller's focus on the dialectical interplay between Formtrieb and Sinnestrieb has inspired a wide range of succeeding aesthetic philosophical theory, including notably Jacques Rancière's conception of the "aesthetic regime of art," as well as social philosophy in Herbert Marcuse. In the second part of his important work Eros and Civilization, Marcuse finds Schiller's notion of Spieltrieb useful in thinking a social situation without the condition of modern social alienation. He writes, "Schiller's Letters ... aim at remaking of civilization by virtue of the liberating force of the aesthetic function: it is envisaged as containing the possibility of a new reality principle."
Ludwig van Beethoven said that a great poem is more difficult to set to music than a merely good one because the composer must rise higher than the poet – "who can do that in the case of Schiller? In this respect Goethe is much easier," wrote Beethoven.
There are relatively few famous musical settings of Schiller's poems. Notable exceptions are Beethoven's setting of "An die Freude" (Ode to Joy) in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony, Johannes Brahms' choral setting of "Nänie" and "Des Mädchens Klage" by Franz Schubert, who set 44 of Schiller's poems as Lieder, mostly for voice and piano, also including "Die Bürgschaft". In 2005 Graham Waterhouse set Der Handschuh (The Glove) for cello and speaking voice.
The Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi admired Schiller greatly and adapted several of his stage plays for his operas: I masnadieri is based on The Robbers; Giovanna d'Arco on The Maid of Orleans; Luisa Miller on Intrigue and Love; La forza del destino is based partly on Wallenstein; and Don Carlos on the play of the same title. Donizetti's Maria Stuarda is based on Mary Stuart, and Rossini's Guillaume Tell is an adaptation of William Tell. Nicola Vaccai's Giovanna d'Arco (1827) is based on The Maid of Orleans and his La sposa di Messina (1839) on The Bride of Messina. Tchaikovsky's 1881 opera The Maid of Orleans is partly based on Schiller's work. The 20th-century composer Giselher Klebe adapted The Robbers for his first opera of the same name, which premiered in 1957.
A poem written about the poet's burial:
Two dim and paltry torches that the raging storm
And rain at any moment threaten to put out.
A waving pall. A vulgar coffin made of pine
With not a wreath, not e'en the poorest, and no train –
As if a crime were swiftly carried to the grave!
The bearers hastened onward. One unknown alone,
Round whom a mantle waved of wide and noble fold,
Followed this coffin. 'Twas the Spirit of Mankind.
Schiller's complete works are published in the following excellent editions:
Other valuable editions are:
Documents and other memorials of Schiller are in the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv in Weimar.
Beloved Sisters (German: Die geliebten Schwestern) is a 2014 German biographical film written and directed by Dominik Graf. The film is based on the life of the German poet Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) and upon his long relationships with two sisters, Caroline and Charlotte von Lengefeld. Schiller was ultimately married to Charlotte von Lengefeld.
The film was nominated for the Golden Bear Award at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, and had its premiere at the festival. It was selected as the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.Der Taucher
"Der Taucher" ("The Diver") is a ballad by Friedrich Schiller, written in 1797, the year of his friendly ballad competition with Goethe.Die Bürgschaft
"The Pledge" (German: "Die Bürgschaft") is a ballad published by the German poet Friedrich Schiller in his 1799 Musen-Almanach. He took the idea out of the ancient legend of Damon and Pythias issuing from the Latin Fabulae by Gaius Julius Hyginus, as rendered in the medieval collection of the Gesta Romanorum. It magnifies the belief in the love of friendship and fidelity.Don Carlos (play)
Don Carlos (German: Don Karlos, Infant von Spanien) is a (historical) tragedy in five acts by Friedrich Schiller; it was written between 1783 and 1787 and first produced in Hamburg in 1787. The title character is Carlos, Prince of Asturias and the play as a whole is loosely modeled on historical events in the 16th century under the reign of King Philip II of Spain.Festgesang an die Künstler
Felix Mendelssohn composed the cantata Festgesang an die Künstler, Op. 68, in 1846 as an entry to a German-Flemish song competition, and it was published later that same year. Some sources confuse this Festgesang with one written in 1840 for the Gutenberg Festival at Leipzig, the Festgesang (Gutenberg cantata). The piece is a setting of verses by Friedrich Schiller for a men's choir and 13 brass instruments.Friedrich Schiller (train)
The Friedrich Schiller was an express train in Germany, initially linking Düsseldorf and Stuttgart. The train was named after the philosopher and playwright Friedrich Schiller.In 1971, the Deutsche Bundesbahn started an inner German network of first-class-only InterCity services modeled after the TEE criteria, but more frequent than the TEE, one train per hour instead of one train a day. At 1 October 1972, the Friedrich Schiller was added to this network, initially linking Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. The route was extended northward to Dortmund on 1 June 1975. During the 1970s, the introduction of second-class coaches in the Intercities was proposed and tested on some routes, resulting in the IC79 project. One of these "second-class tests" was carried out with the Friedrich Schiller in the summer of 1977. The route was extended farther north to Hamburg in the summer of 1978. The IC79 project was implemented at 28 May 1979 but the Friedrich Schiller was converted to a first-class-only train and classed as TEE to distinguish it from the two class InterCity. After three years as TEE, the TEE Friedrich Schiller was withdrawn and replaced by other Intercities.Friedrich Schiller – The Triumph of a Genius
Friedrich Schiller – The Triumph of a Genius (German: Friedrich Schiller – Der Triumph eines Genies) is a 1940 German film, based on the novel Passion by Norbert Jacques. The film focuses on the early career of the German poet Friedrich Schiller.
The film was released in Italy under the title I masnadieri. It was also released in Sweden and Denmark.Kallias-Briefe
The Kallias-Briefen was a collection made by Schiller of his thoughts on beauty from his correspondence with his friend Christian Gottfried Körner. He planned to turn them into a major treatise entitled Kallias oder Über die Schönheit but in the end did not have time to do so.Mary Stuart (play)
Mary Stuart (German: Maria Stuart) is a verse play by Friedrich Schiller that depicts the last days of Mary, Queen of Scots. The play consists of five acts, each divided into several scenes. The play had its première in Weimar, Germany on 14 June 1800. The play formed the basis for Donizetti's opera Maria Stuarda (1835).Nänie
Nänie (the German form of Latin naenia, meaning "a funeral song" named after the Roman goddess Nenia) is a composition for SATB chorus and orchestra, Op. 82 by Johannes Brahms, which sets to music the poem "Nänie" by Friedrich Schiller. Brahms composed the piece in 1881, in memory of his deceased friend Anselm Feuerbach. Nänie is a lamentation on the inevitability of death; the first sentence, "Auch das Schöne muß sterben", translates to "Even the beautiful must die". An average performance has a duration of approximately 15 minutes.Ode to Joy
"Ode to Joy" (German: "An die Freude" [an diː ˈfʁɔʏdə]), is an ode written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in Thalia. A slightly revised version appeared in 1808, changing two lines of the first and omitting the last stanza.
"Ode to Joy" is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final (fourth) movement of his Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. Beethoven's text is not based entirely on Schiller's poem, and introduces a few new sections. His tune (but not Schiller's words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972 and subsequently by the European Union.Resignation (Friedrich Schiller)
"Resignation" is a poem by Friedrich Schiller, published in 1786 in the journal Thalia.
What one refuses in a minute
No eternity will return.Schaumrolle
Schaumrollen, or Schillerlocken, are an Austrian confection. They consist of a cone or tube of pastry, often filled with whipped cream or meringue. Also called foam rollers, they are a bags or roll-shaped puff pastry, which is sweetened with whipped cream or meringue, or sometimes filled with an unsweetened cream puree. They are about 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide. The pastries are made by wrapping thin pastry strips spirally around a cone shaped sheet metal tube, which is then coated and baked. The sweet version is often rolled in coarse sugar or powdered sugar before baking.Schillerosaurus
Schillerosaurus (originally named Schilleria, but this name turned out to be preoccupied) was a genus of prehistoric lizard of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation of Western North America.Possibly present in stratigraphic zone 5.The Maid of Orleans (play)
The Maid of Orleans (German: Die Jungfrau von Orleans) is a tragedy by Friedrich Schiller, written in 1801 in Leipzig. During his lifetime, it was one of Schiller's most frequently-performed pieces.The Robbers
The Robbers (Die Räuber) is the first drama by German playwright Friedrich Schiller. The play was published in 1781 and premiered on 13 January 1782 in Mannheim, Germany, and was inspired by Leisewitz' earlier play Julius of Tarent. It was written towards the end of the German Sturm und Drang ("Storm and Stress") movement, and many critics, such as Peter Brooks, consider it very influential in the development of European melodrama. The play astounded its Mannheim audience and made Schiller an overnight sensation. It later became the basis for Verdi's opera of the same name, I masnadieri.University of Jena
Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU; German: Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, shortened form Uni Jena) is a public research university located in Jena, Thuringia, Germany.
The university was established in 1558 and is counted among the ten oldest universities in Germany. It is affiliated with six Nobel Prize winners, most recently in 2000 when Jena graduate Herbert Kroemer won the Nobel Prize for physics. It was renamed after the poet Friedrich Schiller who was teaching as professor of philosophy when Jena attracted some of the most influential minds at the turn of the 19th century. With Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, G. W. F. Hegel, F. W. J. Schelling and Friedrich von Schlegel on its teaching staff, the university has been at the centre of the emergence of German idealism and early Romanticism.
As of 2014, the university has around 19,000 students enrolled and 375 professors. Its current president, Walter Rosenthal, was elected in 2014 for a six-year term.William Tell (play)
William Tell (German: Wilhelm Tell) is a drama written by Friedrich Schiller in 1804. The story focuses on the legendary Swiss marksman William Tell as part of the greater Swiss struggle for independence from the Habsburg Empire in the early 14th century. Gioachino Rossini's four-act opera Guillaume Tell was written to a French adaptation of Schiller's play.Xenien
Xenien is a Germanization of the Greek Xenia "host gifts", a title originally applied by the Roman poet Martial (1st century) to a collection of poems which were to accompany his presents.
Following this precedent, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe named a collection of distichs, which he wrote together with Friedrich Schiller, Die Xenien, in which the two friends avenged themselves on opposing critics. They were first published in the Musenalmanach. The Xenien were prompted by the indifference and animosity of contemporary criticism, and its disregard for what the two poets regarded as the higher interests of German poetry. The Xenien succeeded as a retaliation on the critics, but the masterpieces which followed them proved in the long run much more effective weapons against the prevailing mediocrity.