1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Uhland, Johann Ludwig

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UHLAND, JOHANN LUDWIG (1787-1862), German poet, was born at Tübingen on the 26th of April 1787. He studied jurisprudence at the university of his native place, but also devoted much time to medieval literature. Having graduated as a doctor of laws in 1810, he went for some months to Paris; and from 1812 to 1814 he worked at his profession in Stuttgart, in the bureau of the minister of justice. He had begun his career as a poet in 1807 and 1808 by contributing ballads and lyrics to L. von Seckendorff's Musenalmanach; and in 1812 and 1813 he wrote poems for J. Kerner's Poetischer Almanach and Deutscher Dichterwald. In 1815 he collected his poems in a volume entitled Gedichte, which almost immediately secured a wide circle of readers. To almost every new edition he added some fresh poems. He wrote two dramatic works — Ernst, Herzog von Schwaben and Ludwig der Baier — the former published in 1818, the latter in 1819. These, however, are unimportant in comparison with his Gedichte. As a lyric poet, Uhland must be classed with the writers of the romantic school, for, like them, he found in the middle ages the subjects which appealed most strongly to his imagination. But his style has a precision, suppleness and grace which sharply distinguish his most characteristic writings from those of the romantic poets. Uhland wrote manly poems in defence of freedom, and in the states assembly of Württemberg he played a distinguished part as one of the most vigorous and consistent of the liberal members. In 1829 he was made extraordinary professor of German literature at the university of Tübingen, but he resigned this appointment in 1833, when it was found to be incompatible with his political views. In 1848 he became a member of the Frankfort parliament.

Uhland was not only a poet and politician; he was also an ardent student of the history of literature. In 1812 he published an interesting essay on Das altfranzösische Epos; and ten years afterwards this was followed by an admirable work on Walther von der Vogelweide. He was also the author of an elaborate study of Der Mythus von Thôr nach nordischen Quellen (1836), and he formed a valuable collection of Alte hoch- und niederdeutsche Volkslieder, which appeared in 1844-1845. He died at Tübingen on the 13th of November 1862.

Uhland's Gesammelte Werke, edited by H. Fischer, were published in 1892 in 6 vols.; also by L. Fränkel (2 vols., 1893) and L. Holthof (1901). His Gedichte passed through nearly fifty editions in the poet's lifetime; jubilee edition of the Gedichte und Dramen (1886). A critical edition by E. Schmidt and J. Hartmann appeared in 1898 (2 vols.). Uhland's Schriften zur Geschichte der Dichtung und Sage were published in 8 vols. (1865-1873); his Tagebuch von 1810-1820 by J. Hartmann (1893). See F. Notter, L. Uhland, sein Leben und seine Dichtungen (1863); K. Mayer, L. Uhland, seine Freunde und Zeitgenossen (2 vols., 1867); L. Uhlands Leben (with Nachlass), by his widow (1874); A. von Keller, Uhland als Dramatiker (1877); H. Dederich, L. Uhland als Dichter und Patriot (1886); W. L. Holland, Zu Uhlands Gedächtnis (1886); H. Fischer, L. Uhland (1887); H. Maync, Uhlands Jugenddichtung (1899).