1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Brentano, Klemens

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5815461911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 4 — Brentano, Klemens

BRENTANO, KLEMENS (1778–1842), German poet and novelist, was born at Ehrenbreitstein on the 8th of September 1778. His sister was the well-known Bettina von Arnim (q.v.), Goethe’s correspondent. He studied at Jena, and afterwards resided at Heidelberg, Vienna and Berlin. In 1818, weary of his somewhat restless and unsettled life, he joined the Roman Catholic Church and withdrew to the monastery of Dülmen where he lived for some years in strict seclusion. The latter part of his life he spent in Regensburg, Frankfort and Munich, actively engaged in Catholic propaganda. He died at Aschaffenburg on the 28th of July 1842. Brentano, whose early writings were published under the pseudonym Maria, belonged to the Heidelberg group of German romantic writers, and his works are marked by excess of fantastic imagery and by abrupt, bizarre modes of expression. His first published writings were Satiren und poetische Spiele (1800), and a romance Godwi (1801–1802); of his dramas the best are Ponce de Léon (1804), Victoria (1817) and Die Gründung Prags (1815). On the whole his finest work is the collection of Romanzen vom Rosenkranz (published posthumously in 1852); his short stories, and more especially the charming Geschichte vom braven Kasperl und dem schönen Annerl (1838), which has been translated into English, are still popular. Brentano also assisted Ludwig Achim von Arnim, his brother-in-law, in the collection of folk-songs forming Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1806–1808).

Brentano’s collected works, edited by his brother Christian, appeared at Frankfort in 9 vols. (1851–1855). Selections have been edited by J. B. Diel (1873), M. Koch (1892), and J. Dohmke (1893). See J. B. Diel and W. Kreiten, Klemens Brentano (2 vols., 1877–1878), the introduction to Koch’s edition, and R. Steig, A. von Arnim und K. Brentano (1894).