1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Houwald, Christoph Ernst, Freiherr von

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 13
Houwald, Christoph Ernst, Freiherr von

HOUWALD, CHRISTOPH ERNST, Freiherr von (1778–1845), German dramatist and author, was born at Straupitz in Lower Lusatia, a son of the president of the district court of justice, on the 28th of November 1778. He studied law at the university of Halle, and on completion of his academic studies returned home, married, and managed the family estates. In 1816 he afforded a home to his friend K. W. S. Contessa (1777–1825), himself a poet, who had met with serious reverses of fortune; Contessa lived with Houwald, assisting and stimulating him in his literary work, for eight years. In 1821 Houwald was unanimously elected syndic for Lower Lusatia, an office which placed him at the head of the administration of the province. He died at Neuhaus, near Lübben, on the 28th of January 1845.

Houwald is remembered as the author of several so-called “Fate tragedies” (see German Literature), of which the best known are Das Bild, Der Leuchtturm, Die Heimkehr, Fluch und Segen (all published in 1821). They have, however, small literary value, and Houwald is seen to better advantage in his narratives and books for juvenile readers, such as Romantische Akkorde (publ. by W. Contessa, Berlin, 1817); Buch für Kinder gebildeter Stände (1819–1824); and Jakob Thau, der Hofnarr (1821). Houwald’s collected works, Sämtliche Werke, were published in five volumes (Leipzig, 1851; 2nd ed., 1858–1859). See J. Minor, Die Schicksalstragödie in ihren Hauptvertretern (Frankfurt, 1883), and Das Schicksalsdrama in Kürschner’s Deutsche Nationalliteratur, vol. cli. (Stuttgart, 1884); O. Schmidtborn, C. E. von Houwald als Dramatiker (1909).