1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dingelstedt, Franz von

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DINGELSTEDT, FRANZ VON (1814–1881), German poet and dramatist, was born at Halsdorf, in Hesse Cassel, on the 30th of June 1814. Having studied at the university of Marburg, he became in 1836 a master at the Lyceum in Cassel, from which he was transferred to Fulda in 1838. In 1839 he produced a novel, Unter der Erde, which obtained considerable success, and in 1841 published the book by which he is best remembered, the Lieder eines kosmopolitischen Nachtwächters. These poems, animated as they are by a spirit of bitter opposition to everything that savours of despotism, were an effective contribution to the political poetry of the day. The popularity of this book determined Dingelstedt to take up a literary career, and in 1841 he obtained an appointment on the staff of the Augsburger allgemeine Zeitung. In 1843, however, the satirist of German princes accepted, to the general surprise, the appointment of private librarian to the king of Württemberg, and in the same year he married the celebrated Bohemian opera singer, Jenny Lutzer. In 1845 he published a volume of poems, some of which, treating of modern life, possessed great literary rather than strictly poetical merit. A subsequent collection, published in 1852, attracted little attention. The success of his tragedy Das Haus der Barneveldt (1850) obtained for him the position of intendant at the court theatre at Munich, where he soon became the centre of literary society. He incurred, however, the animosity of the Jesuit clique at the court, and in 1856 was suddenly dismissed on the most frivolous charges. A similar position was offered to him at Weimar through the influence of Liszt, and he remained there until 1867. His administration was most successful, and he especially distinguished himself by presenting all Shakespeare’s historical plays upon the stage in an unbroken cycle. In 1867 he became director of the court opera house in Vienna, and in 1872 of the Hofburgtheater, a position he held until his death on the 15th of May 1881. Among his other works may be noticed an autobiographical sketch of his Munich career, entitled Münchener Bilderbogen (1879), Die Amazone, an art novel of considerable merit (1869), translations of several of Shakespeare’s comedies, and several writings dealing with questions of practical dramaturgy. He was ennobled in 1867 by the king of Bavaria and in 1876 was created Freiherr by the emperor of Austria.

Dingelstedt’s Sämtliche Werke appeared in 12 vols. (1877–1878), but this edition is far from complete. On his life see, besides the autobiography mentioned above, J. Rodenberg, Heimaterinnerungen an F. Dingelstedt (Berlin, 1882), and by the same author, F. Dingelstedt, Blätter aus seinem Nachlass (2 vols., 1891). Also an essay by A. Stern in Zur Literatur der Gegenwart (Leipzig, 1880).