Author Birthday 11/10: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

@msiduri (5732)
United States
November 10, 2015 12:02pm CST
Author name: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller Birthplace: Marbach am Neckar, Duchy of Württemberg, Holy Roman Empire (near the present city of Stuttgart in Germany) Date of birth: 10 November 1759 Date of death: 9 May 1805 Language: German Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet and playwright. One of his least favorite poems, “Ode to Joy” (“An der Freude”) was used by Beethoven for the chorus in the final movement of his 9th Symphony. Schiller was friends with another German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) who wrote The Sorrows of Young Werther (UGH.) Their discussions of philosophy and aesthetics led to a short-lived literary movement referred to as Weimar Classicism, a mixture of Romanticism, Classicism and Enlightenment thinking. An early play of Schiller, titled "The Robbers" ("Die Räuber"), was about a struggle between two aristocratic brothers. The older son, Karl, becomes something of a Robin Hood character, leading rather violent band of men into the Bohemian Forest for the sake of anarchy and perhaps revolution. Younger son Franz is scheming and rapacious, wanting to get his hands on his brother’s inheritance. The play may seem hackneyed now, but was a sensational in its time and made Schiller an overnight success. His contribution to speculative fiction is an unfinished novel, first published in serialized form beginning in 1787, "The Ghost-Seer" ("Der Geisterseher"). The audiences for it were largest during his lifetime of any of Schiller’s works. While there are themes on duty, passion and morality, the basic plot involved a secret Jesuit society trying to convert a Protestant German prince to Roman Catholicism and then install him on a throne. I don’t think it would be considered a page-turner these days. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost-Seer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Schiller https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode_to_Joy
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3 people like this
5 responses
• United States
10 Nov 15
I wasn't aware that Beethoven ever used poetry for his music! That is pretty cool. I think I'll check this guy out when I have a chance after my looooonnng book list that I have currently.
2 people like this
@msiduri (5732)
• United States
10 Nov 15
I hope you find stuff to satisfy your curiosity! Thanks for your note.
@JudyEv (141837)
• Bunbury, Australia
11 Nov 15
@Kazemononoke Schubert was another who put many poems to music including Goethe's The Erl King.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Nov 15
@JudyEv Hey, my German students memorized that poem each Halloween. I can still recite it from memory because I helped them every year.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (141837)
• Bunbury, Australia
10 Nov 15
Fashions in literature change over the years don't they? And I wonder how many times people have heard 'Ode to Joy' yet it wasn't a favourite evidently in its time.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5732)
• United States
11 Nov 15
I think it's safe to say the if Beethoven or Schiller were alive today, they both would be quite wealthy off the royalties from "Old to Joy."
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (141837)
• Bunbury, Australia
11 Nov 15
@msiduri Apparently 'Happy Birthday' is the piece played most often. I've forgotten the stats now but they were huge.
2 people like this
• United States
11 Nov 15
I had a college course entitled Lessing and Schiller. I have read many of his works, in the original German, of course.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5732)
• United States
12 Nov 15
My German, what remains of it, is what I picked up from family, and, as I have found out time and again to my chagrin, dialect. To be able to read any of these guys in the original would take some, um, reeducation, I'm afraid. I realize you took is in school so have that advantage, but reading the original must be great. One book I sorely regret not being able to read in German is Hesse's "Siddhartha."
@wetnosedogs (1554)
• United States
10 Nov 15
Thank you for continuing this discussion series.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5732)
• United States
10 Nov 15
@wetnosedogs Thanks for your kind words. I do intend to keep this up.
@MALUSE (46019)
• Uzbekistan
10 Nov 15
I find it odd that you should write about Schiller without mentioning why. Have you read / watched anything by him? What is one of the best known German dramatists to an American?
@msiduri (5732)
• United States
10 Nov 15
"What is one of the best known German dramatists to an American?" What an odd question. I state this without hostility. I just find it puzzling. My introduction to Schiller was, of course, the "Ode to Joy." IMHO, without Beethoven's exuberant setting (even if he didn't used the whole poem) it probably would have been filed away somewhere, of interest to Schiller biographers only. But apparently Beethoven like it well enough. I have read only a few excerpts of his works other than that. Are there works you'd like to recommend?
• United States
11 Nov 15
Bitte? Americans cannot appreciate quality writing? Sure, most could not read his works in their original German, but some of us have. I switched my major in college from French to German because I far preferred reading German literature to French.
@msiduri (5732)
• United States
11 Nov 15
@ElizabethWallace If I may stick my nose in, I didn't take @MALUSE's remarks to mean that we American rubes can't appreciate something sophisticated like Schiller and would be better served sticking with—oh, I don't know—Beavis and Butthead. I think she was simply trying to draw my reaction to Schiller.