1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Stolberg, Friedrich Leopold, Graf zu

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STOLBERG, FRIEDRICH LEOPOLD, Graf zu (1750-1819), German poet, the younger son of Count Christian Stolberg, was born at Bramstedt in Holstein on the 7th of November 1750. He studied in Göttingen and was a prominent member of the famous Hain or Dichterbund. After leaving the university he made a journey to Switzerland with his brother Christian, in company with Goethe. In 1777 he was appointed envoy of the prince bishop of Lübeck at the court of Copenhagen, but often stayed at Eutin, where he was the intimate associate of his college friend and member of the Dichterbund, Johann Heinrich Voss. In 1782 he married Agnes von Witzleben, whom he celebrated in his poems. After her early death in 1788, he became Danish envoy at the court of Berlin, and contracted a second marriage with the countess Sophie von Redern in 1789. In 1791 he was appointed president of the Lübeck episcopal court at Eutin; he resigned this office in 1800, and retiring to Münster in Westphalia, there joined, with his whole family, the eldest daughter only excepted, the Roman Catholic Church. For this step he was severely attacked by his former friend Voss (Wie ward Fritz Stolberg ein Unfreier? 1819). After living for a while (from 1812) in the neighbourhood of Bielefeld, he removed to his estate of Sondermühlen near Osnabrück, where he died on the 5th of December 1819. He wrote many odes, ballads, satires and dramas—among the last the tragedy Timoleon (1784), translations of the Iliad (1778), of Plato (1796-1797), Aeschylus (1802), and Ossian (1806); he published in 1815 a Leben Alfreds des Grossen, and a voluminous Geschichte der Religion Jesu Christi (17 vols., 1806-1818).

Stolberg's brother, Christian, Graf zu Stolberg (1748-1821), was also a poet. Born at Hamburg on the 15th of October 1748, he became a magistrate at Tremsbüttel in Holstein in 1777, and died on the 18th of January 1821. Of the two brothers Friedrich was undoubtedly the more talented, but Christian, though not a poet of high originality, excelled in the utterance of gentle sentiment. They published together a volume of poems, Gedichte (edited by H. C. Boie, 1779); Schauspiele mit Chören (1787), their object in the latter work being to revive a love for the Greek drama; and a collection of patriotic poems Vaterländische Gedichte (1815). Christian von Stolberg was the sole author of Gedichte aus dem Griechischen (1782), a translation of the works of Sophocles (1787), and of a poem in seven ballads, Die weisse Frau (1814), which last attained considerable popularity.

The Collected Works of Christian and Friedrich Leopold zu Stolberg were published in twenty volumes in 1820-1825; 2nd ed. 1827. Friedrich's correspondence with F. H. Jacobi will be found in Jacobi's Briefwechsel (1825-1827) ; that with Voss has been edited by O. Hellinghaus (1891). Selections from the poetry of the two brothers will be found in A. Sauer's Der Göttinger Dichterbund, iii. (Kürschner's Deutsche Nationalliteratur, vol. 50, 1896). See also T. Menge, Der Graf F. L. Stolberg und seine Zeitgenossen (2 vols., 1862); J. H. Hennes, Aus F. L. von Stolbergs Jugendjahren (1876); the same, Stolberg in den zwei letzten Jahrzehnten seines Lebens (1875); J. Janssen, F. L. Graf zu Stolberg (2 vols., 1877), 2nd ed. 1882; W. Keiper, F. L. Stolbergs Jugendpoesie (1893).