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Sebastian Brunner

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A versatile and voluminous writer, b. in Vienna, 10 December, 1814; d. there, 27 November, 1893. He received his college education from the Benedictines of his native city, his philosophical and theological training at the Vienna University, was ordained priest in 1838, and was for some years professor in the philosophical faculty of the Vienna University. The University of Freiburg honored him with the degree of Doctor of Theology. In the revolutionary year, 1848, he founded the "Wienver Kirchenzeitung", which he edited until 1865, and in which he scourged with incisive satire the Josephinist bondage of the Church. It is mainly owing to his fearless championship, which more than once brought him into conflict with the authorities, that the Church in Austria today breathes more freely. He wrote some ascetical books and many volumes of sermons, also a biography of Clemens Hofbauer, the apostle of Vienna. His books of travel dealing with Germany, France, England, Switzerland, and especially Italy, are distinguished by keen observations on men and manners, art and culture, and most of all on religion, and are thus connected closely with his apologetic and controversial writings. Among the latter may be mentioned his book on "The Atheist Renan and his Gospel". Brunner's voluminous historical works are very valuale, particularly those on the history of the Church in Austria. It is, however, as a humorist that Brunner takes a permanent place in the history of literature, for he counts among the best modern German humorous writers. His works of this class were composed partly in verse, which at times reminds the reader of Hudibras, and partly in the form of prose stories. One of the best of the former is "Der Nebeljungen Lied "; of the latter, "Die Prinzenschule zu Möpselglück". These works, conceived with a high and noble purpose, are marked by brilliant satire, inexhaustible wit, and genuine humour, combined with great depth of feeling. A collection of his stories in prose and verse was published in eighteen volumes at Ratisbon in 1864. It is not surprising, though it is regrettable, that an author whose literary output was so vast and varied, often shows signs of haste and a lack of artistic finish. In his later years he turned his satirical pen against the undiscriminating worship of modern German literary celebrities.

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