Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, popularly known as Jean Paul, a German author, born at Wunsiedel, near Baireuth, March 21, 1763, died in Baireuth, Nov. 14, 1825. He studied in the gymnasium at Hof and in the university of Leipsic, and published his first work in 1783-4. Poverty drove him from Leipsic, and during ten years he taught in private families. Subsequently he resided at Hof until his mother's death in 1797, when he returned to Leipsic, and in 1798 joined Herder at Weimar. In 1801 he married Karoline Mayer in Berlin, and removed to Meiningen, and next to Coburg, and in 1804 to Baireuth, where he spent the rest of his life in the enjoyment of a pension of 1,000 florins. The death in 1820 of his only son gave a blow to his health from which he never recovered. His writings abound in a bewildering variety of playful, witty, pathetic, childlike, and sublime thoughts, and are pervaded by a high moral tone; but his style is so incongruous and intricate that Reinhold published in 1810 a special work to unravel his meaning.
His principal works are: Die unsichtbare Loge, a novel (2 vols., Berlin, 1793); Hesperus (4 vols., 1794; translated into English by Charles T. Brooks, Boston, 1865); Blumen-, Frucht- und Dornen-stücke (4 vols., 1796-'7; translated into English by E. H. Noel, with a memoir of the author by Carlyle, 2 vols., Boston, 1863); Das Kampaner-thal (Erfurt, 1797; English translation, "The Campanėr Thal and other Writings," Boston, 1863); Titan (Berlin, 1800-1803; translated by 0. T. Brooks, 2 vols. 12mo, Boston, 1862); Flegeljahre (4 vols., Tubingen, 1804-'5); Vor-schule der Aesthetik (3 vols., Hamburg, 1804); and Levana, oder Erziehungslehre (Brunswick, 1807; 4th ed., enlarged from his posthumous papers, Stuttgart, 1861; English translation, Boston, 1863). The last two express his views on philosophy, in which he sympathized with Herder and Jacobi, and opposed Fichte. His complete works comprise 65 vols. (Berlin, 1826-'38). E. Förster and Christian Otto published Wahrheit aus Jean Paul's Leben, partly founded upon his autobiography (8 vols., Bres-lau, 1826-'33), and Förster was the sole author of Denkwürdigkeiten aus Jean Paul's Leben (7 vols., Munich, 1863). Among the published correspondence of Jean Paul are his Briefe an eine Jugendfreundinn (Brandenburg, 1858). Carlyle was the first in 1827 to familiarize the English with Jean Paul's genius.
In the United States appeared a biographical sketch after the German, and extracts from Flegeljahre, translated by Eliza Buckminster Lee (Boston, 1842; new ed., 1864).