Johann Christoph Friedrich Von Schiller, a German poet, born at Marbach, Würtemberg, Nov. 10, 1759, died in Weimar, May 9, 1805. He attended a Latin school at Ludwigsburg, to which town his parents had removed in 1768. His father then became inspector of the palace of Solitude, near Stuttgart, where Friedrich in 1773 entered the ducal military seminary, which in 1775 was transferred to Stuttgart as a military academy. Schiller was first destined for the church, and next for the law, but he chose medicine, and in 1780 became a surgeon in the army. At an early age he had composed poetry and dramas, and for several years he had been engaged on the tragedy Die Räu-ber, which on its publication in 1781 created an immense sensation. The duke of Würtem-berg, fearing the effect of this work, which idealized brigandage, ordered the author to adhere to his profession. Schiller nevertheless remodelled the play for the stage, and was arrested at Stuttgart for stealthily witnessing its first performance at Mannheim. He escaped from Würtemberg in October, 1782, to Baden, and subsequently found a refuge in the house of Frau von Wolzogen at Bauerbach, near Meiningen, whose sons had been his fellow pupils, and in September, 1783, became connected as a dramatist with the Mannheim theatre.
He remained there about 18 months, during which he translated "Macbeth," and wrote the tragedies Die Verschwörang des Fies-co and Kabale und Liebe. He also founded the Rheinische Tlialia, and published in that periodical the opening acts of his drama Bon Carlos and some poems. About the same time appeared his Philosophische Briefe. In 1785 he went to Leipsic, and thence to Dresden, where he finished Don Carlos, and in 1787 to Weimar. Here he met Charlotte von Lenge-feld (who afterward became his wife), Herder, and Wieland. In 1788 he for the first time saw Goethe, but their intimate acquaintance began several years later at Jena. In 1788 appeared the first and only volume of Schiller's unfinished Geschichte des Abfalls der Nieder-lande. In 1789 he was appointed professor of history at Jena, and in 1791 finished his "History of the Thirty Years' War," according to Carlyle "the best historical performance which Germany could boast of." Between these two works appeared his strange fragmentary story Der Geisterseher. Another of his anomalous productions was Der Verbrecher aus verlorener Ehre. After recovering from a severe pulmonary attack, he continued to work with the same intensity as before, and became absorbed in Kant, whose philosophy suggested to him many profound aesthetic disquisitions.
He also wrote essays and minor poems for the Horen, and edited the Musenal-manach, in which he and Goethe retorted upon their critics with metrical epigrams (Xenien). For some time he worked almost all night, taking stimulants, which undermined his health. His beautiful ballads appeared mostly during this period. In 1799 appeared his drama Wal-lenstein, one of his greatest works, upon which he was engaged for seven years. It is in three parts, Wallenstein's Lager, Die Piccolomini, and Wallenstein's Tod; the last two were translated by Coleridge. Soon afterward he removed to Weimar, where his genius was stimulated by a closer communion with Goethe. Between 1799 and 1801 he produced the dramas Marie Stuart, Die Jungfrau von Orleans, and Die Braut von Messina, and Das Lied von der Glocke, besides many other exquisite poems. In 1804 he completed Wilhelm Tell, the last and one of the noblest of his dramatic works. Shortly before his death he said: "Many things are now becoming intelligible and clear to me." The grand ideal pervading all his writings is that of the highest intellectual and moral culture as a groundwork of liberty, and he expressed his thoughts in prose and poetry with impassioned eloquence and at the same time with artistic grace and felicity.
As a picturesque dramatist, whose ideality and genius soared highest in depicting the triumphs of virtue, liberty, and patriotism, and in creating lofty types of womanhood and manhood, he imparted to others his own enthusiasm, and impressed the heart of the people more powerfully than any other German poet. In person Schiller was tall and spare, his complexion was pale, his brow high and instinct with thought, his nose aquiline, his mouth of exquisite beauty; his hair inclined to auburn, and his eyes were blue and full of fire. Dan-necker's bust in the Weimar library is the best likeness of him. In 1827 his remains were removed to the prince's vault in the new Weimar cemetery. The finest statues of him are by Thor-waldsen in Stuttgart (1839) and by Rietschel in the Schiller-Goethe monument at Weimar (1857). The celebration of his centennial in 1859 resulted in a number of monuments being erected in his honor in Germany and elsewhere. Among the latest are those erected in 1871 in Berlin and in 1874 in Vienna; and one is to be erected in 1876 at Marbach. In 1859 the Schiller funds for relieving indigent authors were merged with the central association in Dresden, which in 1872 had a surplus of about $300,000. - The complete and partial editions of Schiller's works, which include translations and adaptations, short historical sketches, and various fragments, are exceedingly numerous.
The first, incomplete, was published by his friend Körner (12 vols., 1812-'15). The most recent and complete has been published under the supervision of Gödeke (1867-'75), and Schiller's youngest daughter published in 1867 Schiller's Dramatische Ent-würfe. The most celebrated English versions of his poems are by Bulwer, and many of his other works have also been translated into English. Among: American translators of his poems are C. T. Brooks, J. S. Dwight, N. L. Frothingham, and W. H. Furness. The best English biographies of Schiller are Carlyle's (1825; German translation, with an introduction by Goethe, 1830) and Bulwer's (1847). The principal German biographies are by Schiller's sister-in-law, Caroline von Wolzogen (2 vols., 1830; new eds., 1845 and 1851), Hoffmeister (5 vols., 1837-42; new ed. enlarged by Viehoff, 1846-'53; completed, 3d ed:, 3 vols., 1873), Schwab (1840; 4th ed., 1859), and Palleske (2 vols., 1858-'9; English' translation by Lady Wallace, 1859; 5th German ed., 1872). See also Schiller's Jugendjahre, by Boas (2 vols., 1856); Goethe und Schiller, by Gödeke (1859); Schiller und seine Zeit, by Scherr (1859); Schiller's Kalender, 1795-1805, by his daughter Emilie von Gleichen-Russwurin (1865); his correspondence with Goethe (6 vols., 1828; new ed., 1856, and one including Düntzer's Schiller und Goethe, 1859; English translation by G. H. Calvert, Boston, 1845), with Wilhelm von Humboldt (1830), with Körner (4 vols., 1847; new ed., enlarged by Gödeke, 1874); Schiller's Briefe .(3 vols., 1846; with historical comments, 1854-'7); his correspondence with his sister Christophine and her husband Reinwald, edited by Maltzahn (1874); and Schiller's Ver-hältniss zu dem Publikum seiner Zeit, by Oskar Brosin (1875). - Schiller's widow died in 1826. They had two sons and two daughters.
The youngest of the latter, the baroness von Gleichen-Russwurm, died in 1872. His only surviving male descendant (1875) is his grandson, Friedrich Ludwig Ernst von Schiller, an officer in the Austrian army.