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Caroline Schlegel-Schelling (1763–1809)

Author of Die Kunst zu leben

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Caroline Schlegel-Schelling, née Michaelis, was born in Göttingen, Prussia, the daughter of a well-known scholar and professor. She received a good education and became one of the so-called Universitätsmamsellen, a group of five intellectual and literary women whose fathers were academics at Göttingen during this period. At age 20, she married her first husband, a physician named Böhmer with whom she had a daughter. In 1788, after his death, she returned to Göttingen, then went to live in Mainz, which was occupied by French army troops. She joined a French Revolutionary society along with her friend Therese Foster (later Huber). After the French were expelled by the Prussians, she was imprisoned for several months for her political opinions and had a son with a French officer. In 1796, she married Wilhelm Schlegel and moved to Jena. She's famous today for the significant role she played in the early Romantic movement in Germany. Her home became the center of German literary circles, and she helped shape the opinions of her many intellectual friends. She worked on the newly-founded Athenaeum, the sensational but short-lived publication of the Romantics, and assisted Schlegel in his pioneering translation of the works of Shakespeare. In her own name, she published only some literary reviews. In 1803, she divorced Schlegel and married the philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, who called her his muse. She died at age 46.
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