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Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805)

Author of William Tell

963+ Works 9,406 Members 94 Reviews 20 Favorited

About the Author

Friedrich Schiller was born in Marbach, Germany, the son of an army surgeon, a profession for which he himself was later educated. He never wanted to practice medicine, however, and found an outlet for his dissatisfaction in writing poetry and plays. Schiller's first play was to be performed was show more The Robbers (1781), a rallying cry for the freedom and idealism of youth against the tyranny and hypocrisy that Schiller saw all around him. The play was an immediate success, but Schiller, who had taken unauthorized leave from his regiment to watch the performance, was arrested and forbidden by the ruling Duke to write anything but medical books in the future. In defiance of the order, Schiller fled the duchy and, although suffering great poverty, continued to write. The remainder of Schiller's life was a struggle against poverty and, in his last years, a struggle against tuberculosis. Each of Schiller's nine plays is a masterpiece of situation, characterization, subtle psychology, and brilliant dramatic technique. Most of his plays focus on historical subjects, such as Mary Queen of Scots, Joan of Arc, or the Swiss hero William Tell. Schiller uses these period characters and settings to suit his own themes, which center on individual freedom, justice, and heroism. He often sacrifices historical accuracy in order to make a point. Schiller's place in German literature is very near the top. Among German dramatists there are none better, and perhaps only his friend German poet and playwright Goethe can be called an equal. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Credit: Andrzej Barabasz, 2004, Frankfurt, Germany


Works by Friedrich Schiller

William Tell (1804) 988 copies
Mary Stuart (1800) 845 copies
The Robbers (1781) 776 copies
Intrigue and Love (1784) 675 copies
Don Carlos (1787) 402 copies
The Maid of Orleans (1801) 274 copies
The Ghost-seer (1789) 237 copies
The Robbers / Wallenstein (1780) 231 copies
Schillers Werke (1830) 219 copies
Gedichte (1873) 210 copies
The Death of Wallenstein (1799) 156 copies
Don Carlos / Mary Stuart (1787) 128 copies
The History of the Thirty Years' War (1788) — Author — 85 copies
The Bride Of Messina (1802) — Author — 71 copies
On the Naive and Sentimental in Literature (1953) — Author — 65 copies
Fiesco's Conspiracy at Genoa (1783) — Author — 61 copies
Der Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Goethe (1983) — Author — 55 copies
Naive and Sentimental Poetry / On the Sublime (1966) — Author — 38 copies
Mary Stuart / The Maid of Orleans (1801) — Author — 34 copies
Revolt of the Netherlands (1974) 30 copies
The Robbers / Intrigue and Love / William Tell (1983) — Author — 30 copies
Don Carlos / William Tell (1990) — Author — 29 copies
Sämtliche Gedichte (1965) 27 copies
Turandot (1998) — Author — 27 copies
Dramen und Gedichte (1955) 27 copies
The Robbers / Fiesco / Intrigue and Love (1944) — Author — 26 copies
Wallenstein / Mary Stuart (1930) 21 copies
Das Lied von der Glocke (1799) 21 copies
Wallenstein's Camp (1800) 21 copies
Balladen (1952) 20 copies
Die Räuber (2009) — Author — 17 copies
The Bride of Messina / William Tell / Demetrius (1805) — Author — 17 copies
Xenien (1985) 15 copies
Demetrius (1987) — Author — 15 copies
Verhalen (1981) 14 copies
Jugenddramen (1966) 12 copies
Der Neffe Als Onkel (1889) 11 copies
Poesía filosófica (1998) 10 copies
Sämtliche Erzählungen (1967) 10 copies
Narraciones completas (2005) 9 copies
The Piccolomini (1800) — Author — 8 copies
Dramen 8 copies
Gedichte und Prosa (1984) 8 copies
Gesammelte Werke, Band 2 (1960) 8 copies
Theoretische Schriften (1966) 8 copies
Sämtliche Dramen (2009) 8 copies
Schriften zur Philosophie und Kunst (1959) — Author — 8 copies
The Robbers / Passion and Politics (1781) — Author — 7 copies
The Poems of Schiller Second period (2010) — Author — 6 copies
The Poems of Schiller First period (2010) — Author — 6 copies
Scritti storici 6 copies
Schiller's Works, Vol. II (2016) 6 copies
Gedichte und Balladen (1958) 6 copies
Schiller : Wilhelm Tell (1905) — Author — 5 copies
Die Bürgschaft (1995) 5 copies
Friedrich Schiller (2003) — Author — 5 copies
Teatro completo (1901) 5 copies
Del sublime (1972) 5 copies
Hundert Gedichte (1987) 5 copies
Dramen: Band 1 4 copies
Teatre 4 copies
Három dráma (1955) 4 copies
Erzählungen 4 copies
Historical Dramas (1889) — Author — 4 copies
Die Gedichte 3 copies
Die schönsten Gedichte (2003) 3 copies
Schiller für Kinder (2006) 3 copies
Die Rauber CD (2015) 3 copies
Schillers Werke - Band 2 — Author — 3 copies
Balladen, Dramen (1781) 3 copies
Die Kraniche des Ibykus (2014) 3 copies
Schillers Briefe (1997) 3 copies
Schillers sämmtliche Werke Band 1 - 3 (von 12) (1890) — Author — 3 copies
Die großen Dramen (2005) 3 copies
Schillers estetiska brev (1995) 3 copies
Escritos sobre estica (1991) 3 copies
Der Taucher (2009) 3 copies
Teatro (1969) 2 copies
Friedrich Schiller (2010) 2 copies
Dzieła wybrane (1985) 2 copies
Kallias, czyli O pięknie (2007) 2 copies
Die Räuber - REMIXED (2015) 2 copies
Pisma teoretyczne (2011) 2 copies
Dramen 2 (1983) — Author — 2 copies
Gedichte (2009) — Author — 2 copies
Textes esthétiques (1998) 2 copies
Eilėraščiai: Dramos (1989) 2 copies
Einige Gedichte (2011) 2 copies
Ti Digte 2 copies
O tragickém umění (2005) 2 copies
Der Taucher (2009) 2 copies
Saggi estetici 2 copies
Grazia e dignita (2010) 2 copies
Schöne Welt, wo bist du? (2005) 2 copies
Alemania (1984) — Contributor — 2 copies
Schiller-Brevier (2000) 2 copies
Briefe 1 copy
Laura Poems (1984) 1 copy
Drámák 1 copy
German Essays III: Schiller — Author — 1 copy
Felsefe ve Siir (2000) 1 copy
The Gamester 1 copy
Opere alese (2016) — Author — 1 copy
Dramen I 1 copy
Briefe 1 copy
Dramen 1 copy
Théâtre 1 copy
Schillers Dramen (1976) 1 copy
Ich liebe Edle Frauen (1988) 1 copy
Theater 1 copy
Selected Poems (1969) 1 copy
Thalia. Heft I-VI. (2015) 1 copy
Dramen 1 1 copy
Schiller Bd2 1 copy
Werke. Bd. 1. Dramen (1954) 1 copy
Werke. Bd. 2. Gedichte (1954) 1 copy
L'Al·lucinat (1986) 1 copy
Poésies 1 copy
Schiller : Maria Stuart (1965) — Writer — 1 copy
Viliam Tell 1 copy
Gedichte (2009) 1 copy
Schillers Werke Erster Band (1800) — Author — 1 copy
O lepom 1 copy
Nänie 1 copy
Drámák (1980) 1 copy
Poezija 1 copy

Associated Works

Phaedra (1677) — Translator, some editions — 1,953 copies
Critical Theory Since Plato (1971) — Contributor, some editions — 397 copies
Iphigenia in Aulis (0405) — Translator, some editions — 368 copies
Deutsche Gedichte (1956) — Contributor, some editions — 135 copies
Great German Short Novels and Stories (1933) — Contributor — 104 copies
The Classic Theatre Volume II Five German Plays (1959) — Contributor — 80 copies
Great German Short Novels and Stories (1933) — Contributor — 59 copies
Treasury of the Theatre: From Aeschylus to Ostrovsky (1967) — Contributor — 48 copies
English National Opera Guide : Verdi : Don Carlos (1992) — some editions — 36 copies
Five German Tragedies (1969) — Author — 30 copies
The Romantic Influence (1963) 27 copies
Fragmentos para una teoría romántica del arte (1987) — Contributor — 13 copies
Friedrich von Schiller : William Tell (2011) — Original author — 4 copies
Die edlen Wilden (1989) — Contributor — 3 copies
Am Borne deutscher Dichtung (1927) — Contributor — 1 copy
Der Briefwechsel (2005) — Contributor — 1 copy
Concert for Europe [programme] (2019) — Contributor — 1 copy
Deutsche Erzählungen (1957) — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



luvucenanzo06 | Sep 8, 2023 |
Astonishing characters speak in griping poetic prose. I long to see the text brought to life on stage.
rebwaring | 6 other reviews | Aug 14, 2023 |
The rise of Gothic fiction in the second half of the 18th Century, also referred to as “first wave Gothic”, is generally portrayed as a peculiarly English phenomenon. This is hardly surprising, considering that the novel widely (if not uncontroversially) considered to be the first Gothic novel is Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764). It set the blueprint for a dark literary genre, obsessed with terror, death and the otherworldly, and was soon followed by works in the same vein by other English authors such Ann Radcliffe, William Beckford and Matthew “Monk” Lewis.

It would be a mistake, however, to consider this movement in ‘splendid isolation’ from what was happening in the rest of Europe. Indeed, some of the defining elements of the Gothic are shared with Continental literature of the period, shaped by the ideals of Early Romanticism and the proto-Romantic Sturm und Drang movement. German readers, in particular, had a particular appetite for horror novels, some of which were translated into English or adapted by English authors. In writing “The Monk”, Lewis drew upon homegrown Gothic, but also upon German ‘horrid novels’.

One of the seminal works in the Continental canon is Der Geisterseher – Aus den Papieren des Grafen von O** (generally rendered in English as “The Ghost-Seer” or “The Apparitionist”), a strange novel by the poet, dramatist, novelist and philosopher Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805). It first appeared in instalments in the journal Thalia between 1787 and 1789, only to be abandoned and left unfinished by Schiller who, apparently, developed a great antipathy to his own creation. It has just been published on the Alma Classics imprint, in a translation by Andrew Brown who also provides an introduction, placing the novel in the philosophical and cultural context of its period.

The protagonist of the novel is the Prince of ------------------ who, we are given understand, is the third in line to the throne of Protestant state. On a sojourn in Venice, the Prince becomes involved in a secret society known as the “Bucentauro”, a group of debauched members of high society, amongst whom count several influential prelates. He also falls in love with a mysterious “Greek” woman. All of this, however, could well be a front for an even shadowier Catholic group intent on converting the Prince to “the only Church outside of which there is no salvation”, fleecing him of his family’s riches in the process. The Prince is, in fact, being stalked by an elusive figure he refers to as “the Armenian” who is, according to some accounts, a protean spy for the Inquisition and, according to others, a Faust or Melmoth-like figure who has achieved immortality through devilish means.

It all sounds very convoluted, and it is. On his part, Schiller purposely adds to the confusion through the narrative devices he opts for. The first part of the story is recounted in the first person by the Count of O***, a friend and companion of the Prince. After the Count leaves Venice to attend to personal business, the story continues in epistolary form, through letters sent by Baron von F_________ , a member of the Prince’s retinue, to the Count, updating him on the latest developments in connection with the Prince. Both chroniclers are, by their own admission, unreliable narrators, who do not always understand the strange goings-on in which they find themselves in. The narrators cannot trust their senses – we, as readers, cannot take them at their word. This is truly a novel where, to quote the Bard, “nothing is, but what is not”. The work’s fragmentary nature is compounded by the fact that it was left unfinished. Reaching the last page of book feels like stepping out of a dream or hallucination, whose details and meaning lie tantalisingly out of reach.

The philosophy behind “The Ghost-Seer” is also curiously ambivalent. It is often held up as an example of Schiller’s Enlightenment ideals – to me, this is not that obvious. Take the author’s approach towards the supernatural. On the one hand, much of the novel’s atmosphere (and its title) is drawn from the otherworldly aspects of the plot, with one of its key scenes a seance-like occult ceremony presided by a shady character based on the Count of Cagliostro. Subsequently, Radcliffe-like, Schiller has his Prince unravel the supernatural elements, revealing them to be mere smoke and mirrors. Yet, the explanation is so complicated, that like the Count, we are almost tempted to reject it in favour of a belief that something otherworldly must have been going on. The same could be said of Schiller’s attitude towards religion. Unsurprisingly for a Gothic novel, Catholics get quite a lot of bad press. But Schiller also seems equally critical both of the drearier, stricter strains of Protestantism and of, at the other extreme, ‘freethinking’ unbelief.

For an unfinished, slim novel(la), The Ghost-Seer has proven surprisingly influential, possibly because of the questions it poses only to leave unanswered. It gave rise to a particular sub-genre of the Gothic – the “secret society novel”, variously referred to in German as the Bundesroman or the Geheimbundroman. It is also one of the first works to exploit Venice as a backdrop for dark and/or supernatural fiction, a tradition which continued with E.T.A. Hoffmann, Heinrich Zschokke and in the 20th century, Thomas Mann and Daphne du Maurier. La Serenissima it may be called, but its alleys and canals, decaying palaces and hidden campielli whisper strange secrets, if only one were to listen...

For the complete review, including illustrations and suggestions for Schiller-related music, head to http://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2019/03/friedrich-schiller-ghost-seer.html
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JosephCamilleri | 2 other reviews | Feb 21, 2023 |



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Franz Keim Author
Dorothy Sayers Contributor
Leo Tolstoy Contributor
Karl Goedeke Introduction, Editor, Composer
Herbert G. Göpfert Composer, Contributor
Sarah Walker Mezzo-soprano
Wolfgang Seeliger Chorus master
Gerhard Storz Contributor
Jean Racine Contributor, Author
Erwin Ackerknecht Introduction
Carlo Gozzi Contributor
H.J. Heller Contributor
Euripides Author
Friedrich Düsel Introduction
Joachim Müller Introduction
G. Ras Editor
F. J. Lamport Translator
A. Funke Editor, Introduction
Bodo Plachta Editor, Herausgeber
J.J.L. ten Kate Translator
Francis Lamport Translator
Barbara Piatti Afterword
Stephen Spender Translator
L. L. Zamenhof Translator
David Bryer Translator
Andrew Brown Translator
Giovanni Berchet Translator
Hermann Missenharter Editor, Introduction
Golo Mann Afterword
Daniel Chodowiecki Illustrator
Walter Hinderer Translator
Wolf D. Zimmermann Cover designer
Michael Görden Introduction
Julio Izquierdo Translator
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Werner Rebhuhn Cover designer
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