Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Poet, writer on æsthetics, and literary historian, the "Messias" of the Romantic School, b. at Hanover, 10 March, 1772; d. at Dresden, 12 January, 1829. Of the two brothers Schlegel, who are regarded as the real founders of the Romantic School, Friedrich the younger is the more important. The outward life of the "Messias" of the Romantic School, as Rahel named him, in its variety, is typical of the Romanticists. Destined at first for commercial life, he turned to higher studies in his sixteenth year, proceeded after a rapid preparation to the University of Gottingen, and there studied first jurisprudence and then philology. At Leipzig he devoted himself to the study of art and the history of ancient literature. After a short residence in Dresden, where he visited the art collections, he settled with his brother in Jena, but later moved to Berlin, where he formed a friendship with his later wife, Dorothea Veit (nee Mendelssohn), according to the principles which he had laid down in his notorious "Luzinde" (Berlin, 1799). In 1800 he returned to Jena to qualify as tutor, but in 1802 proceeded to Dresden and thence to Paris, where he delivered lectures on philosophy and edited the journal "Europa". In 1804 he married Dorothea, who had separated from her husband and embraced Protestantism ; both became Catholics in 1808 at Cologne, and henceforth begins for the restless and poverty-stricken Schlegel a period of peace. Recommended from Cologne, he secured a position as secretary in the court and state chancellery at Vienna, and in 1809 accompanied Archduke Charles to war, issuing fiery proclamations against Napoleon and editing the army newspaper. In 1811 while at Vienna he began his lectures — on modern history. He was full of bitterness against Napoleon and enthusiastically in favour of the medieval imperial idea. In the following year he delivered his famous lectures on the history of ancient and modern literature.

From 1815 to 1818 Schlegel resided at Frankfort as counsellor of the Austrian legation to the federal diet. He then accompanied Metternich to Italy, visiting Rome at the request of his wife. On his return to Vienna, he edited the journal "Concordia" (1820-3), wherein he championed the idea of a Christian state. After preparing the edition of all his works (10 vols., 1822-5), he again delivered lectures on the philosophy of life and the philosophy of history, continuing at Dresden in 1828 on the philosophy of speech and words. Here a stroke of apoplexy brought him to an early death. Schlegel essayed all three branches of poetry, but without much success. In 1805-6 he published a "Poetisches Tagebuch", which in addition to small lyrical pieces contains the epic "Roland". Three years later appeared his "Gedichte" (Berlin, 1809), which are models of metrical art and noble language, but sacrifice freshness to artificiality. The romance "Luzinde" he later condemned. His tragedy "Alarkos" possesses no enduring worth, although Goethe had it produced at Weimar. Schlegel's importance lies in his numerous literary-critical writings, and in his successful efforts to unite similarly minded friends (Tieck, Novalis, Schleiermacher) into an association, the "School of Romanticism" (1798). To establish and spread the principles of the new school, Schlegel founded with his brother August Wilhelm the journal "Athenaum" (1798); this was given up after years, but not until it had attained its object. It proclaimed the programme for the many-sided strivings of Romanticism.

Of the works of Schlegel two still maintain their high importance: "Ueber die Sprache und Weisheit der Inder" (Heidelberg, 1808; tr. into French, Paris, 1837), and "Die Geschichte der alten and neuen Literatur" (Vienna, 1815, tr. into French, Parish, 1829). While these two works may be surpassed in many particulars, they yet contain in embryo the modern achievements in both domains. P. Baumgartner, the latest author of a universal literature, thus regarded Friedrich von Schlegel as his guide and master, to whom he believed he owed his chief inspiration. The following works have been translated into English: "Philosophy of History" (London, 1869); "Lectures on modern History" (London, 1849); "Æsthetic and Miscellaneous Works" (London, 1875).


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter