The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Brentano, Clemens
BRENTANO, Clemens, a German poet and novelist, born at Frankfort-on-the-Main, Sept. 9, 1777, died at Aschaffenburg, July 28, 1842. He studied at the university of Jena, and afterward taught there as a Privatdocent. While here he married in 1804 Sophie Mereau, the divorced wife of a professor, a woman who shared many of the fantastic theories he had already begun to advance, and had written poems and romances of some merit. She died little more than a year after the marriage, in consequence of which he fell into a singular misanthropy. After making his home successively at Frankfort, Heidelberg, Vienna, and Berlin, he withdrew entirely from the world in 1818, retiring to the village of Dulmen near Münster. In the last years of his life, however, he again visited the larger towns, living in Ratisbon, Munich, Frankfort, and Aschaffenburg. His works, the first of which were published under the pseudonyme of Maria, were wild and fantastic. His original and audacious vagaries, together with the peculiarities of his sister Bettina von Arnim, his wife, and others connected with him, made the family name almost proverbial, and “mad as a Brentano” was a not uncommon phrase among German wits. Clemens Brentano's principal works are: Satyren und poetische Spiele (Leipsic, 1800); Godwi, oder das steinerne Bild der Mutter (2 vols., Frankfort, 1801); Die lustigen Musikanten (a musical drama, Frankfort, 1803); Ponce de Leon (Göttingen, 1804); Der Goldfaden (Heidelberg, 1809); Die Philister vor, in und nach der Geschichte (Berlin, 1811); Die Gründung Prags (Pesth, 1815); Victoria und ihre Geschwister (Berlin, 1817); Schneeglöckchen (Hamburg, 1819); Geschichte vom braven Kaspar und dem schönen Annerl (2d ed., Berlin, 1851). Brentano also aided his brother-in-law Achim von Arnim in the preparation of the Knabenwunderhorn.