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The New International Encyclopædia/Uhland, Ludwig

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UHLAND, ōō'länt, Ludwig (1787-1862). A distinguished German poet, philologist, and literary historian. Born at Tübingen, April 26, 1787, he studied jurisprudence there, in 1802-08, at the same time cultivating mediæval literature, especially old German and French poetry, the study of which he subsequently pursued for eight months in Paris. On his return he began the practice of law at Stuttgart, worked in the Ministry of Justice, and when in 1815 Württemberg was to be granted a new constitution, his lyrics in praise of liberty were received with enthusiasm. As a member of the Legislature from 1819 to 1839 he sided with the opposition. In 1848 he was elected to the German National Assembly, but in 1850 retired from political life and settled at Tübingen, devoting himself henceforth exclusively to his literary pursuits. From 1829 to 1833, he had held the professorship of German literature at the University of Tübingen. As a lyric poet Uhland is remarkable for truth and simplicity of sentiment and his picturesque view of nature. His ballads and romances rank among the most precious ideal treasures of the German nation. During all his early life he labored to revive mediæval forms of poetry, especially the ballad, with an interest born of intimate knowledge and careful study. None has caught the spirit of the old folk-song so fully as he. Of his songs the most universally popular are “Der Wirtin Töchterlein” and “Der gute Kamerad;” of the ballads, “Das Schloss am Meer,” “Das Glück von Edenhall,” “Des Goldschmieds Töchterlein,” “Roland Schildträger,” “Der schwarze Ritter,” and “Des Sängers Fluch” are in all anthologies. He was the first of the Swabian school of poets who sought to combine a classic purity of style with brevity and vigor, and to interpenetrate all with romantic sentiment. Although poetically effective, his glorifications of German faith, the dramas Ernst, Herzog von Schwaben (1817), and Ludwig der Bayer (1819) lack the power of dramatic action and had only moderate success. As a Germanic and Romance philologist, Uhland must be counted among the founders of that science. Besides the treatise Ueber das altfranzösische Epos (1812) and an essay Zur Geschichte der Freischiessen (1828), there are to be especially mentioned Walther von der Vogelweide, ein altdeutscher Dichter (1822); Der Mythus von Thôr (1836), the result of the most painstaking original investigation; and the masterly collection Alte hoch- und niederdeutsche Volkslieder (1844-45; 3d ed. 1892). His poetical works were repeatedly published as Gedichte und Dramen, while his scientific work is embodied in Schriften zur Geschichte der Dichtung und Sage, edited by Holland, Keller, and Pfeiffer (1865-72). For his biography, consult: Pfeiffer (Vienna, 1862), Notter (Stuttgart, 1863), Jahn (Bonn, 1863), Dederich (Gotha, 1880), Holland (Tübingen, 1886), and Fischer (Stuttgart, 1887); also Mayer, Ludwig Uhland, seine Freunde und Zeitgenossen (ib., 1867), and Ludwig Uhlands Leben. Aus dessen Nachlass und aus eigener Erinnerung zusammengestellt von seiner Wittwe (ib., 1874).