The New International Encyclopædia/Grillparzer, Franz

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The New International Encyclopædia
Grillparzer, Franz
Edition of 1905. See also Franz Grillparzer on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

GRILLPARZER, grĭl'pär-tsẽr, Franz (1791-1872). An Austrian poet and dramatist, born in Vienna, January 15, 1791. His father, a lawyer, died in 1809, leaving the family needy. After a harsh schooling at home, Grillparzer studied law in Vienna (1807-11), without making a brilliant success. Afterwards he made himself familiar with French, English, Italian, and Spanish. In 1813 he entered Government service in the financial department; in 1833 he was put over the archives; in 1847 he became a member of the Academy of Sciences, and in 1856 he retired. In the outer life of Grillparzer there is nothing very interesting. If we add to what has been said the fact that Grillparzer was once betrothed to a lady whom he always liked and never wedded; that he visited Italy in 1819, France and England in 1838, and went to Turkey and Greece in 1843, and finally that he died in great honor on the 21st of January, 1872, we know the most striking incidents in his life.

In German literature he is a link between Goethe, Herder, Schiller, and Lessing, who helped to shape his ideals, and a more modern school. Grillparzer was catholic in his theatrical likings. The suburban theatres pleased him, but he was also a methodical student of Haydn, Jlozart, and Beethoven. In 1807-09 he wrote a drama, Blanca von Kastilien; later he turned to Goethe and Shakespeare. Die Ahnfrau, a fatalistic tragedy, was played first at Vienna (1817) and afterwards aroused enthusiasm throughout Germany. Sappho (1818), also a tragedy, caused the critics to class Grillparzer with Zacharie Werner, Müllner, and Houwald. This long vexed the poet. In 1822 followed Das Goldne Vlies, a trilogy, which fell somewhat flat. This failure Grillparzer laid to the oppressive rule of Metternich. In König Ottokars Glück und Ende the dramatist portrayed the rivalry between Rudolph of Hapsburg and Ottokar of Bohemia. For two years the censor kept this play waiting, on the ground that it was unseemly to put the founder of the dynasty on the stage. Thanks to the Empress, the piece was played with great success in 1824. After the cool reception of the tragedy Ein treuer Diener seines Herrn (1828) Grillparzer held aloof for ten years. On the refusal of Wehe dem der lügt, a comedy (1838), Grillparzer was utterly disheartened. Der Traum ein Leben (1834), after La vida es sueño, by Calderon, a dramatic tale, is played still with success in Germany. Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen (1840) handles the theme of Hero and Leander. In 1848 the public seemed to be eager for the poet's reappearance, but he held aloof until his death. Consult: Sauer's Biographical Introduction to Grillparzer's Collected Works (Stuttgart, 1892); the Jahrbuch of the Grillparzer Gesellschaft (Vienna, 1890 ff.); Traube, Grillparzer's Lebensgeschichte (Stuttgart, 1884); Littrow-Bischoff, Aus dem persönlichen Verkehr mit Franz Grillparser (Vienna, 1873); Lange, Grillparzer, sein Leben, Dichten und Denken (Gütersloh, (1894); Friedmann, Il dramma tedesco del nostro secolo (vol. iii.), Francesco Grillparzer (Milan, 1893).