Friedrich Schiller Additional Biography


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

0111201578-Schiller.jpg Friedrich Schiller (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

In his play The Robbers (Die Räuber) Schiller, then a cadet at the prestigious ducal academy in Stuttgart, created Karl Moor, a young German nobleman who turned rebel to combat the injustices and tyranny of his brother, the Duke, and social ills. For this radicalism the French National Assembly awarded Schiller honorary citizenship in 1792, after Schiller himself had been made a nobleman and begun to distance himself from revolutionary politics. Because The Robbers could not be staged in Stuttgart, it opened in the somewhat more liberal city of Mannheim, only seventy miles away. Such differences in censorship were typical of Germany in those times.

Throughout the eighteenth century German censorship varied in extent and degree in each of the more than one hundred independent principalities, city states, and territories. Although The Robbers could be staged in Mannheim, Schiller had to make significant changes stipulated by the stage director and the Roman Catholic court. He removed offensive language and changed a treacherous “clergyman” into a “city councilor.” Moreover, the stage director shifted the contemporary setting of the play to the Middle Ages in order to obscure the play’s contemporary political allusions. Censorship of Schiller focused on “good taste” in language, conventional morality, church dogma, and overt political ramifications. Interestingly, censors distinguished sharply between...

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(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

The early years of Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller were deeply imprinted with the tyranny of two fathers. Johann Kaspar Schiller, barber-surgeon, military officer, and later, Royal Head Forester, ruled his family with an iron hand. Duke Karl Eugen, founder of a military academy for promising young men, considered himself the father of the talented boys he chose to attend the school. After two invitations, Johann Schiller no longer had any choice about sending his son, who had wanted to become a pastor, to the duke’s academy.

The academy was strict in a sense of the word no longer meaningful today. Every moment of the day was organized. No boy had any time to himself, not even on the compulsory “pleasure” strolls. Army officers maintained discipline. Duke Karl had a discriminating eye for talented men; many of the teachers he brought to his new school were gifted. Professor Abel, for example, who taught Latin and Greek, expounded principles of the Enlightenment, particularly a quest for the ideal not dependent on religious conviction.

The duke’s academy was unusual for its time because it admitted both Protestant and Catholic boys. The atmosphere of religious tolerance, when combined with the secular idealism of the Enlightenment, tended to dilute the students’ religious convictions, including Schiller’s. Young Schiller was Professor Abel’s finest student of Latin and Greek. He learned French partly to communicate with some of his fellow students from the French-speaking section of the Duchy of Württemberg. Soon, as the reputation of the school grew, boys began to appear from northern German areas, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and even from England.

Young Schiller studied law, but it was the duke’s choice, not his, and after a few years, illness began making serious inroads into his accomplishments. As a result he was allowed to study medicine, including surgery. Anatomy classes never bothered Schiller, and it is possible that he escaped rigorous supervision because the military watchdogs were less vigilant in the dissection room. He was not permitted to visit his family more than one or two days a year. These ties were cut early; by age twelve, he was already at the academy.

By age twenty, Schiller had written one dissertation, which had been turned down as too speculative and theoretical, had seen himself relegated to another year at the academy to write another research paper, and had finished a manuscript of his first play,...

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(Literary Essentials: Great Poems of the World)

The early life of Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was shaped by two powerful influences: the Swabian Pietism of his origins, and the “benevolent” despotism of Karl Eugen, Duke of Württemberg. After serving as a lieutenant in Bavarian, French, and Swabian regiments, Schiller’s father was rewarded with an appointment as superintendent of the duke’s gardens and plantations. While Schiller’s parents had planned for him to enter the ministry, those intentions were frustrated when the duke insisted that he be enrolled in a military academy at Stuttgart in 1773. After a brief and inconclusive period of legal studies at the academy, Schiller left the institution to become a medical officer in Karl Eugen’s army. His...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

ph_0111201578-Schiller.jpg Friedrich Schiller Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Poet and playwright Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (SHIHL-ur) was born on November 10, 1759, in Marbach, Württemberg (now in Germany). His father was Johannes Kaspar Schiller, a captain, surgeon, and royal forester under Duke Charles Eugene of Württemberg. His mother, Elisabeth Dorothea Kodweiss, was a stout-minded, religious woman who had a strong influence on Schiller’s early years. He had five sisters.

Schiller began his education at the age of seven, when he was enrolled in a Latin school at Ludwigsburg to be groomed for the clergy. During his time there, it was discovered that he had a great intellectual gift. When Schiller was thirteen, the duke of Württemberg ordered him to attend his military...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Friedrich Schiller looms like a colossus on the German stage. He dominates the literary history of his period. A writer of strong convictions, he took the subject of humankind as his theme. Liberal idealism is at the foundation of Schiller’s work. It permeates his politics, philosophy, historical works, aesthetic writings, poetry, and plays. Schiller ranks today as Germany’s leading playwright and poet-philosopher. He has become a part of the nation’s cultural heritage. One cannot find a city or town in Germany that does not have a street, square, or statue in his honor. Rarely has any literary figure ever made such an impact on his or her country.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (SHIHL-ur), born on November 10, 1759, at Marbach, Germany, was the son of an officer in the army of the duke of Württemberg. His parents intended that Johann should enter the ministry of the Lutheran church, and to this end they sent him to the Latin school at Ludwigsburg, then the ducal residence. Duke Karl Eugen of Württemberg, in common with other semi-independent German princelings, had delusions of grandeur, and he tried to imitate the “grand style” of the Bourbons by making his court into a kind of Bavarian Versailles. He lived lavishly, if crudely, ruling largely through sycophants and irresponsible adventurers. At Ludwigsburg young Schiller saw much of the ways of the world and...

(The entire section is 1103 words.)