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Short biography
Caroline von Wolzogen, née von Lengefeld, was born in Rudolstadt, Germany, to a family of minor nobility. She and her younger sister Charlotte von Lengefeld were educated by their father and tutors in geography, natural science, history, literature, and foreign languages. After their father died in 1776, the family was in financial distress, and at age 16, Caroline accepted an arranged marriage with Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig von Beulwitz, an aristocrat and courtier. First she spent a long engagement in Switzerland, and returned to Germany to marry him in 1784. The union was unhappy from the start and was childless. Around this time, Caroline's cousin Wilhelm von Wolzogen introduced her and Charlotte to his friend Friedrich Schiller, then an impoverished young poet. In 1788, Schiller moved to a nearby town and the two sisters developed a close, perhaps passionate, friendship with him. Today Caroline is perhaps best known as the sister who did not marry Schiller; he married Charlotte in 1789. Caroline divorced her husband in 1793 and married von Wolzogen the following year. Societal disapproval compelled the couple to spend the next few years in exile in Switzerland. She wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, Agnes von Lilien, first published anonymously in 1796 in the periodical Die Horen, edited by Schiller. It was a big success and enabled the von Wolzogens to return in 1799 to Germany, where they settled in Weimar. Their home became the center of a circle of intellectuals and writers such as Goethe, the von Humboldt brothers, as well as local royalty. Madame de Staël read and admired Caroline's novel and initiated a lengthy friendship and correspondence with her. In 1807, Caroline accompanied her husband on a short diplomatic posting to Paris in the service of Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar. She continued to write short stories and poems, and produced a biography of Schiller, published in 1830. Nearly 10 years later, she issued another novel, Cordelia. Two years after her death in 1847, her letters and unpublished manuscripts were published under the title Literary Remains.
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