1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Auersperg, Anton Alexander

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AUERSPERG, ANTON ALEXANDER, Graf von (1806-1876), Austrian poet, who wrote under the pseudonym of Anastasius Grün, was born on the 11th of April 1806, at Laibach, the capital of the Austrian duchy of Carniola, and was head of the Thurn-am-Hart branch of the Carniolan cadet line of the house of Auersperg. He received his university education first at Graz and then at Vienna, where he studied jurisprudence. In 1830 he succeeded to his ancestral property, and in 1832 appeared as a member of the estates of Carniola on the Herrenbank of the diet at Laibach. Here he distinguished himself by his outspoken criticism of the Austrian government, leading the opposition of the duchy to the exactions of the central power. In 1832 the title of “imperial chamberlain” was conferred upon him, and in 1839 he married Maria, daughter of Count Attems. After the revolution of 1848 at Vienna he represented the district of Laibach at the German national assembly at Frankfort-on-the-Main, to which he tried in vain to persuade his Slovene compatriots to send representatives. After a few months, however, disgusted with the violent development of the revolution, he resigned his seat, and again retired into private life. In 1860 he was summoned to the remodelled Reichsrat by the emperor, who next year nominated him a life member of the Austrian upper house (Herrenhaus), where, while remaining a keen upholder of the German centralized empire, as against the federalism of Slavs and Magyars, he greatly distinguished himself as one of the most intrepid and influential supporters of the cause of liberalism, in both political and religious matters, until his death at Graz on the 12th of September 1876.

Count Auersperg’s first publication, a collection of lyrics, Blätter der Liebe (1830), showed little originality; but his second production, Der letzte Ritter (1830), brought his genius to light. It celebrates the deeds and adventures of the emperor Maximilian I. (1493-1519) in a cycle of poems written in the strophic form of the Nibelungenlied. But Auersperg’s fame rests almost exclusively on his political poetry; two collections entitled Spaziergänge eines Wiener Poeten (1831) and Schutt (1835) created a sensation in Germany by their originality and bold liberalism. These two books, which are remarkable not merely for their outspoken opinions, but also for their easy versification and powerful imagery, were the forerunners of the German political poetry of 1840-1848. His Gedichte (1837), if anything, increased his reputation; his epics, Die Nibelungen im Frack (1843) and Der Pfaff vom Kahlenberg (1850), are characterized by a fine ironic humour. He also produced masterly translations of the popular Slovenic songs current in Carniola (Volkslieder aus Krain, 1850), and of the English poems relating to “Robin Hood” (1864).

Anastasius Grün’s Gesammelte Werke were published by L. A. Frankl in 5 vols. (Berlin, 1877); his Briefwechsel mit L. A. Frankl (Berlin, 1897). A selection of his Politische Reden und Schriften has been published by S. Hock (Vienna, 1906). See P. von Radics, Anastasius Grün (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1879).