Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel


1772 – 1829


Who was Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel?

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel was a German poet, literary critic, philosopher, philologist and indologist. With his older brother, August Wilhelm Schlegel, he was one of the main figures of the Jena romantics. He was a zealous promoter of the Romantic movement and inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Adam Mickiewicz and Kazimierz Brodziński. Schlegel was a pioneer in Indo-European studies, comparative linguistics, in what became known as Grimm's law, and morphological typology. As a young man he was an atheist, a radical, and an individualist. Ten years later, the same Schlegel converted to Catholicism. Around 1810 he was a diplomat and journalist in the service of Metternich, surrounded by monks and pious men of society.

Famous Quotes:

  • Good drama must be drastic.
  • An aphorism ought to be entirely isolated from the surrounding world like a little work of art and complete in itself like a hedgehog.
  • Genius is, to be sure, not a matter of arbitrariness, but rather of freedom, just as wit, love, and faith, which once shall become arts and disciplines. We should demand genius from everybody, without, however, expecting it.
  • Every uneducated person is a caricature of himself.
  • Virtue is reason which has become energy.
  • Irony is the form of paradox. Paradox is what is good and great at the same time.
  • It is peculiar to mankind to transcend mankind.
  • A critic is a reader who ruminates. Thus, he should have more than one stomach.
  • In actual life every great enterprise begins with and takes its first forward step in faith.
  • What is called good society is usually nothing but a mosaic of polished caricatures.


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"Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 May 2020. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/karl_wilhelm_friedrich_von_schlegel>.

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Mar 1, 1772
Also known as
  • Von Schlegel, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich
  • Friedrich Schlegel
  • Friedrich von Schlegel
  • Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel
  • Catholicism
  • Germany
  • University of Göttingen
Lived in
  • Hanover
Jan 12, 1829

on July 23, 2013