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Friedrich von Schiller
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. Next to Goethe (and sometimes even more so than him), Schiller is considered to be Germany's most important classical playwright. Critics have noted his innovative use of dramatic structure and his... show more
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright.

Next to Goethe (and sometimes even more so than him), Schiller is considered to be Germany's most important classical playwright. Critics have noted his innovative use of dramatic structure and his creation of new forms, such as the melodrama and the bourgeois tragedy. He wrote his first play, Die Räuber (The Robbers), while still enrolled at an elite military academy in Stuttgart, where he studied medicine. The play dramatizes the conflict between two aristocratic brothers: the elder leads a group of rebellious students into the Bohemian forest where they become Robin Hood-like bandits, while the younger brother, schemes to inherit his father's considerable estate. The play's critique of social corruption and its affirmation of proto-revolutionary republican ideals astounded its original audience. Schiller became an overnight sensation. Later, he would be made an honorary member of the French Republic because of this play.

Among Schiller's most notable plays in addition to The Robbers are Intrigue and Love (Kabale und Liebe), a tragic love story in the vein of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that attacks absolutism and bourgeois hypocrisy and was adapted as an opera by Giuseppe Verdi under the name Luisa Miller, a trilogy based on the life and career of Thirty Years' War general Albrecht von Wallenstein, the likewise historical dramas Mary Stuart (Maria Stuart) – portraying Elizabeth I's cousin and rival as a misunderstood martyr –, The Maid of Orleans (Die Jungfrau von Orleans) and William Tell (Wilhelm Tell), both styled as biographies of important freedom fighters; as well as, significantly, Schiller's first historical drama Don Carlos, whom Schiller similarly portrays as a republican figure in his attempt to free Flanders from the despotic grip of his father, King Phillip II. The play's probably most famous speech, however, is not delivered by its eponymous hero but by his friend, the Marquess of Posa, who voices Schiller's own belief in personal freedom and democracy when he exhorts the king to grant freedom of thought ("Geben Sie Gedankenfreiheit!").

Schiller also wrote many philosophical papers on ethics and aesthetics. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788 – 1805), he struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They co-founded the Weimar Theater, which became the leading theater in Germany; and their collaboration helped lead to a renaissance of drama in Germany. They also frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics, and Schiller encouraged Goethe to finish works he left as sketches. This relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism. They also worked together on Xenien (Xenias), a collection of short satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe challenge opponents to their philosophical vision.

For his achievements, Schiller was ennobled in 1802 by the Duke of Weimar. His works were received enthusiastically not only in Germany but also abroad, particularly in Italy and Russia. His 100th birthday in 1859 was celebrated all over Europe, as well as in the United States. By 1867, his publisher Cotta had sold 2.4 million copies of his works worldwide. Replicas of Weimar's 1857 joint monument to Goethe and Schiller have been erected in San Francisco, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Syracuse and Shanghai. In September 2008, Schiller was voted by the audience of the TV channel Arte as the second most important playwright in Europe after William Shakespeare.
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Birth date: 1759-11-10
Died: 1805-05-09
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Beyond Strange New Words
Beyond Strange New Words rated it 2 years ago
Love and Intrigue* is a play from the German Classicism era, although its tone is more that of Romanticism. Ferdinand von Walter, a premier’s son, and Louisa, a music teacher’s daughter, fall in love; their love, however, stands little to no chance against their vastly different social statuses and ...
between4walls rated it 5 years ago
This is Schiller still in his younger throw-in-everything-and-the-kitchen-sink phase (cross-dressing, republicanism, oaths, assassination plots, adultery, betrayal, rebellion!), recounting the twists and turns of the titular "Genoese Conspiracy." Highly entertaining, though I keep reading Schiller t...
buchflimmern rated it 5 years ago
Wer hätte gedacht, dass es mich so nerven würde, dass die Geschichte keine Auflösung hat und einfach mittendrin aufhört?! Diese Story hat alles, was zu ihrer Entstehungszeit hip war: Geisterbechwörungen, Italien, philosophische Diskussionen, anonyme Prinzen mit dunklen Geheimnissen, Geheimgesellscha...
Bettie's Books
Bettie's Books rated it 5 years ago
bookshelves: fradio, radio-3, play-dramatisation, autumn-2012 Read from September 23 to 30, 2012 Just Mary Stuart from this collection. Seeing as I forgot to locate the details at the time, I owe the following via the sleuthing skills of flister Nick:Mary StuartDuration: 1 hour, 30 minutesFirst b...
Helen, the Hermit
Helen, the Hermit rated it 6 years ago
I remember liking Die Räuber better than Kabale und Liebe. Ironically, since I generally dislike both melodrama (which it practically started) and Werther (which it is often lumped together with as seminal work of Sturm und Drang). I guess that in the case of melodrama, it's another case of people a...
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