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Wilhelm Volk

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(Pseudonym, LUDWIG CLARUS).

Born at Halberstadt 25 Jan., 1804; died at Erfurt 17 March, 1869. He came from a Lutheran family ; his father was a lawyer. After going to school at Halberstadt and Magdeburg, he studied from 1823 law at the Universities of Gottingen and Berlin. In 1826 he became an auscultator at Magdeburg, and in 1829 a referendar . In 1832 he made the acquaintance at Berlin of the law-professor George Philips , who was later a convert to Catholicism. Volk kept up their friendship by repeated visits to Munich. In this city he also formed friendships with Clemens Brentano and Joseph Görres, and was induced by them to devote himself to the study of mysticism and legend, which he continued to pursue during the rest of his life. In 1838 he was made a government councillor at Erfurt, and in 1858 he retired from active life. For a long time a son of the Catholic Church at heart, he entered it in 1855. He describes his inner change in the fascinating writing on his conversion, "Simeon, Wanderungen und Heimkehr eines christlichen Forschers" (3 vols., 1862-3). He also wrote a large number of pamphlets on religious, political and ecclesiastico-political questions of the time. Among the considerable number of large works should be mentioned: the biographies of St. Brigitta (4 vols., Ratisbon, 1856; 2nd ed., 1888), of St. Francis de Sales (Schaffhausen, 1860); 2nd ed., 1887), of St. Matilda (Quedlinburg, 1867); translations from Augustine, Petrarch, St. Theresa of Jesus, etc.; the historical compendium of Italian literature (1832-34), the account of Spanish literature in the Middle Ages (1846). He also wrote a number of original poems and translations from the Spanish, Italian, and Swedish.

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