August Wilhelm Schlegel

August Wilhelm von Schlegel ( born September 8, 1767 in Hannover, † May 12, 1845 in Bonn ) was a German literary historian, translator, writer, philosopher and Indologist. With his brother Friedrich Schlegel, he is considered a co-founder of German Romanticism.


The fourth son of the Lutheran pastor Johann Adolf Schlegel studied theology and philology at Göttingen. There he found in Gottfried August Bürger a mentor who gave him insights into the practice of translation from classical and modern languages ​​. Even as a tutor at the Golden Curve in Amsterdam 1791-95 he was active as a critic and reviewer, especially in Jena ( 1795-1801, 1798-1801 Professor ), where he in a circle around his wife Caroline Schlegel, his brother Friedrich Schlegel and his wife Dorothea Schlegel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, later Ludwig Tieck and Novalis the new " romantic school" determinative coined. For the purposes of this new critical direction - poetological worked 1798-1800 the journal Athenaeum, edited by him and his brother Friedrich. Already in 1796, partly in articles in Schiller's Horen, Schlegel had announced his translation of Shakespeare's plays, which appeared from 1797 to 1810 and 14 pieces included. This transfer, later supplemented by Dorothea Tieck and Wolf Heinrich Graf von Baudissin until today is the German standard version.

After failures ( end of 1801 his classical drama ion fell in Weimar by ) and polemics in Weimar and Jena Schlegel moved to Berlin in 1801. There he held from 1801 to 1804, the lecture series about beautiful art and literature (published 1884), in which he detailed the literature of classical antiquity, the Germanic and Provencal medieval and Romanesque (especially Spanish and Italian ) modern times as an equal.

After the dissolution of his marriage to Caroline Schlegel was 1803 to 1817, family friend and companion of Madame de Staël, who he followed her to her castle of Coppet on Lake Geneva to Italy as well as on longer trips to Vienna. At the same time he worked as an educator of Madame de Staël's son Albert. The highlight of this year were held in Vienna in 1808 Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature ( 1809-11 published) that emerged from his Shakespeare and Calderón - translations ( 1803-09 ); continues this they represent the ancient and the modern dramas art according to their religious, historical and artistic principles dar. Despite its altphilologischen training and despite its proximity to Weimar classicism of Goethe and Wilhelm von Humboldt, Schlegel took the view that the great medieval or early modern poet Dante, Cervantes, Calderón, Shakespeare the relevant models of modern poetry are.

Around 1810 he lived in Bern, but was forced to leave the city. He moved on to Russia, Denmark and Sweden and entered as a diplomat in the service of Bernadotte, the future Swedish king. In his later years, especially after his appointment as a professor of literature ( 1818) at the University of Bonn (where he was 1819/20 of Literature Teacher by Heinrich Heine ) Schlegel of Indian philology turned back to ( 1829-46 Râmâyana translation ). He was like Humboldt and Franz Bopp of the founders of comparative literature, ie of modern comparative linguistics and philology. But not only the pure philology interested him. He explicitly writes that he hoped for from the comparative linguistic research also gives information about the " natural history of man."

With age, the now famous Schlegel was often target of criticism (about his student Heinrich Heine ) who mocked his vanity. Its held in Berlin in 1827 Lectures on the Theory and History of Fine Arts were a failure. He died on 12 May 1845 in Bonn, his grave is there in the Old Cemetery.


August Wilhelm Schlegel regarded as the founders of the ancient Indian philology. He was a member of Schiller Horen, the Musenalmanach and the Jena Literary of newspaper. With his brother Frederick, he shared the editorship of the journal Athenaeum. Later he was editor of the Indian library. On literary works, he wrote sonnets, ballads and dramas. That left his own works also insignificant and without success, so are his contribution to the German literature in translation, partly in collaboration with Ludwig Tieck ( and his daughter Dorothea and Wolf Baudissin ), indubitable and authoritative. August Wilhelm Schlegel considered together with his brother Frederick as the most important initiator of literary romanticism in Germany. Both gathered a circle of high-ranking men of letters, such as Novalis, Ludwig Tieck and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling around and laid the foundation for a literary movement that the first third of the 19th century mastered and then still found numerous followers.



August Wilhelm Schlegel's estate was acquired in 1873 by the Royal Library in Dresden ( Saxon State Library - State and University Library Dresden ). The missing parts were auctioned estate at Christie's in London in 1998 from a Swiss private ownership and in 2004 presented to the public.


  • ( Translator's ): W. Shakespeare: Dramatic Works 9 vols Berlin: Unger 1797-1810. ( Supplemented and explained by Ludwig Tieck part 1-9 Berlin:. . Reimer 1825-33 )
  • Athenaeum 3 vols Berlin: Vieweg (1) or Berlin: Frölich (2-3) 1798-1800
  • Triumphal Arch and Arc de Triomphe for the theater - President of Kotzebue bey his hoped-for return to the homeland
  • Poems Tübingen: Cotta 1800
  • Characteristics and reviews 2 vols Königsberg: Nicolovius 1801
  • Muses almanac for the year 1802 eds. A. W. Schl. and L. Tieck. Tübingen: Cotta 1802
  • To the public. Complaint alleging generally in the literature Jenaische newspaper begangnen honor desecration Tübingen: Cotta 1802
  • Ion. A spectacle Hamburg: Perthes 1803
  • Bouquets Italian, Spanish and Portuguese poetry Berlin 1803
  • Spanish Theater 2 vols Berlin 1803-1809
  • About dramatic art and literature. Lectures 3 vols Heidelberg: Mohr & Rooms 1809-11
  • Poetical Works 2 vols Heidelberg: Mohr & Room 1811
  • (Ed.): Indian Library 3 vols ( Volume 3 Issue 1 only ). Bonn: Weber 1820-30
  • Bhagavad -gita Bonn: Weber 1823
  • The Rhine Journey of the King of Prussia at the Cölnischen steamships Friedrich Wilhelm to the inauguration of the same on September 14, 1825. Sung in Latin. In addition to a German translation of Justizrath Bardua in Berlin. For the burned town Friesac Berlin: Nauck 1825
  • Critical writings 2 vols Berlin: Reimer 1828
  • To Goethe 's birth ceremony on August 28, 1829 1829
  • Réflexions sur l' étude des Langues d'une lettre à Asiatiques suivies M. Horace Hayman Wilson Bonn: Weber 1832
  • Essais historiques et littéraires Bonn: Weber 1842
  • Oeuvres 1846 ( posthumously )
  • Eduard Bocking (ed.): August Wilhelm von Schlegel. Spanish theater. 10 vols Weidmann, Leipzig 1845
  • Complete Works Edited by Eduard Bocking. 16 volumes. I- XII: The Complete Works, XIII - XV: OEuvres, écrites en français, XVI: Opuscula, quae latine Schlegelius scripta reliquit. ISBN 3-487-03354-2, Leipzig 1846-48. Reprint Olms Verlag, Hildesheim, 1971f
  • Ralf Georg Czapla / Franca Victoria Schank Weiler ( eds.): My dear Marie- value Hester Professor. The correspondence between August Wilhelm von Schlegel and his housekeeper Marie Bonner Lobel. Bernstein -Verlag, Bonn, 2012.

Pictures of August Wilhelm Schlegel