Cover image for WILHELM MüLLER: The Poet of the Schubert Song Cycles By Cecilia C. Baumann

WILHELM MüLLER

The Poet of the Schubert Song Cycles

Cecilia C. Baumann

BUY

208 pages
6" × 9"
1981

WILHELM MüLLER

The Poet of the Schubert Song Cycles

Cecilia C. Baumann

Considered a German Byron by his contemporaries, Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827) is usually remembered today as the German Romantic poet whose lyrics Franz Schubert set to music in Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise. A philhellene who wrote impassioned lyrics in support of the Greeks in their struggle for independence from the Turks, Müller also collected and edited Italian and modern Greek folk songs. Goethe very likely became acquainted with Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus through Müller's 1818 translation of that work.

 

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Considered a German Byron by his contemporaries, Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827) is usually remembered today as the German Romantic poet whose lyrics Franz Schubert set to music in Die schöne Müllerin and Die Winterreise. A philhellene who wrote impassioned lyrics in support of the Greeks in their struggle for independence from the Turks, Müller also collected and edited Italian and modern Greek folk songs. Goethe very likely became acquainted with Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus through Müller's 1818 translation of that work.

Müller was an influential critic and scholar of the Romantic Era, a creative public librarian and publisher's consultant (with the prestigious firm of F. A. Brockhaus in Leipzig), a respected teacher, and a popular author of travel books—all this despite his sudden and somewhat mysterious death at 32. The son of a guild tailor in the duchy of Anhalt-Dessau and a precocious and sometimes rebellious student, he nonetheless received lifelong aid from the ducal family, including a scholarship to the new University of Berlin. Müller left the University before completing his studies and spent two years as a volunteer in the Prussian Army fighting Napoleon. During this time, he had an unhappy love affair in Brussels. At 26, Müller married into one of the leading Dessau families, and at 30 he was granted the title Hofrat.

In this first comprehensive study of Müller, Dr. Baumann presents a lively and vivid profile of the poet, prose writer, translator, critic, editor, philhellene, and traveler whose life reflects the landscape of literary concern from the Romantic movement to Junges Deutschland. A complete bibliography of works by and about Müller is included. This work in the words of one reader should interest "any person with a general concern for the complex interrelationship of cultural and socio-political forces and the contact of key persons in German-speaking culture with one another during the late 18th and early 19th centuries . . . as a veritable 'window' into the period of Goethe."

Cecilia C. Baumann is Director of the Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations and associate professor of German at Pomona College. She visited the Goethe-Schiller Archives in Weimar in 1971, when she was the first American scholar since World War II to visit the Dessau City Library in Müller's hometown. A graduate of Oberlin, she received her PhD from Northwestern University after a year at the University of Munich as a Fulbright scholar.

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