Tieck, Ludwig

views updated Jun 27 2018

TIECK, Ludwig

Nationality: German. Born: Berlin, 31 May 1773. Education: Progressive gymnasium, Berlin, graduated 1792; studied theology at the Prussian University of Halle, 1792; university of Göttingen, Hannover, 1792-94. Family: Married Amalie Alberti in 1798 (died 1837); two daughters. Career: Writer from an early age with promising works composed during his gymnasium days; worked in publishing for Christoph Friedrich Nicolai, Berlin, 1794-98; associated with a group of intellectuals and writers called the Jena Romantics, which included Friedrich Schlegel, August Wilhelm Schlegel, and Friedrich Schelling, 1798-1800; commuted between Hamburg, Berlin, and Dresdon, seeking various employment, 1800-02; extensive traveling to Prague and England, 1811-17; literary historian and editor, Dresden Theater; stage director, Prussian Theater, Berlin. Died: 28 April 1853.


Short Stories

Die sieben Weiber des Blaubart: Eine wahre Familiengeschichte. 1797.


Der Geheimnißvolle: Novelle. 1823.

Die Verlobung: Novelle. 1823.

Musikalische Leiden und Freunden: Novelle. 1824.

Die Reisenden: Novelle. 1824.

Der Aufruhr in den Cevennen: Eine Novella in vier Abschnitten. 1826; as The Rebellion in the Cevennes: An Historical Novel, 1845.

Gesammelte Novellen. 1828.

Der Alte vom Berge, und: Die Gesellschaft auf dem Lande: Zwei Novellen. 1828; as The Old Man of the Mountain, 1831.

Die Gemälde: Novella. 1829; as The Pictures in Foreign Tales and Traditions, 1829.

Epilog zum Andenken Goethes: Nach Darstellung der Iphigenie in Dresden den 29. 1832.

Novellenkranz. 1831-35.

Der junge Tischlermeister: Novelle in sieben Abschnitten. 1836.


Thaten und Feinheiten renommirter Kraftund Kniffgenies. 1790-91.

Abdallah: Eine Erzählung. 1793.

Eine Gesichte ohne Abentheuerlichkeiten. 1795-96.

Geschichte des Herrn William Lovell. 1795-96.

Der betrügliche Schein, oder: Man muß nicht glauben, was man sieht. 1796.

Ritter Blaubart: Ein Ammenährchen. 1797.

Herzensergießungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders. 1797.

Der Abschied: Ein Traumspiel in zwey Aufzügen. 1798.

Alla-Moddin. 1798.

Ein Schurke über den andern oder die Fuchsprelle: Ein Lutspiel in drei Aufzügen. 1798.

Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen: Eine altdeutsche Geschichte. 1798.

Phantasien über die Kunst, für Freunde der Kunst. 1799.

Sämmtliche Schriften. 1799.

Romantische Dichungen. 1799.

Das Ungeheur und der verzauberte Wald: Ein musikalisches Mährchen in vier Aufzügen. 1800.

Kaiser Octavianus: Ein Lustspiel in zwei Theilen. 1804.

Phantasus: Eine Sammlung von Mährchen, Erzählungen, Schuauspielen und Novellen. 1812-16.

Sämmtliche Werke. 1817-24.

Das Buch über Shakespeare: Handschriftliche Aufzeichnung. 1920.

Pietro von Abano oder Petrus Apone: Zaubergeschichte. 1825.

Schriften. 1828.

Sämmtliche Werke. 1837.

Vittoria Accorombona. 1845.

Gedichte: Neue Ausgabe. 1841.

Kritische Schriften. 1852.

Bibliotheca Tieckiana. 1849.

Epilog zur hundertjähringen Geburtsfeier Goethes. 1849.

Dramaturgische Blätter. 1852.

Die Sommernacht: Eine Jugenddichtung. 1854; as The Midsummer Night, 1854.

Nachgelassene Schriften: Auswahl und Nachlese. 1855.

Werke: Kritisch durchgesehene und erläuterte Ausgabe. 1892.


Der gestiefelte Kater: Ein Kindermärchen in drey Akten, mit Zwischenspielen, einem Prologe und Epiloge. 1797; as "Puss in Boots" in The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century, 1913.

Leben und Tod der heiligen Genoveva: Ein Trauerspiel. 1820.


Editor, with Johann Karl August Musaeus and Johann Georg Miller, Straußfedern. 1795.

Editor and translator, Der Sturm: Ein Schauspiel, für das Theater bearbeitet, by William Shakespeare. 1796.

Editor, Volksmährchen. 1797.

Editor, Poetisches Journal. 1800.

Editor, with August Wilhelm Schlegel, Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1802. 1802.

Editor, with Friedrich Schlegel Novails Schriften, by Friedrich von Hardenberg. 1802.

Editor, Minnelieder aus dem Schwäbischen Zeitalter. 1803.

Editor, with F. Batt and Le Pique, Mahler Müller's Werke, by F.Müller. 1811.

Editor and translator, Alt Englisches Theater: Oder Supplement zum Shakespeare. 1811.

Editor, Frauendienst oder: Geschichte und Liebe de Ritters und Sängers Ulrich von Lichtenstein, von ihm selbst beshreiben. 1812.

Editor, Deutches Theater. 1871.

Editor, Hinterlassene Schriften by Heinrich von Kleist. 1821.

Editor, Shakespeare's Vorschule. 1823.

Editor, William Shakespeare: Dramatische Werke translated by A. W. Schlegel. 1825.

Editor, Gesammelte Schriften by Kleist. 1826.

Editor, with F. von Raumer, Nachgelassene Schriften und Briefwechsel by K. W. F. Solger. 1826.

Editor, Leben und Bergebenheiten des Escudero Marcus Obregon: Oder Autobiographie des Spanischen Dichters Vicente Espinel. 1827.

Editor, Gesammelte Schriften. 1828.

Editor, Die Insel Felsenburg oder wunderliche Fata einger Seefahrer: Eine Geschichte aus dem Anfange des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts by Johann Gottfried Schnabel. 1828.

Editor, Evermont: Roman by Sophie Bernhardi. 1836.

Editor, König Sebastian. 1839.

Editor, Gesammelte Novellen by F. Berthold. 1842.

Editor, Gedichte by K. Förster. 1843.

Editor, Goethes ältestes Liederbuch by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 1844.

Editor, Novalis Shcriften: Dritter Theil by Hardenberg. 1846.

Translator, Leben und Thaten des scharfsinnigen Edlen Don Quixote von La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. 1799.

Translator, Vier Schauspiele by Shakespeare. 1836.


Critical Studies:

Ludwig Tieck. Erinnerungen aus dem Leben des Dichters nach dessen mündlichen und schriftlichen Mitteilungen by Rudolf Köpke, 1855; "Tieck's Novellenbegriff" by Paul Johann Arnold in Euphorian, 1921; A Note on Tieck's Early Romanticism by Edwin Hermann Zeydel, 1926; "Ludwig Tieck's Künstlerdichtungen" by Pauline Bruny, 1934; Ludwig Tieck and the Mediaeval Church by Sister Mary Magdalita Scheiber, 1939; The Esthetic Intent of Tieck's Fantastic Comedy by Immerwahr, 1953; Ludwig Tieck. From Gothic to Romantic by Trainer, 1961; "Tieck's Romantic Fairy Tales and Shakespeare" by Hubbs, in Studies in Romanticism, Summer 1969; The Motif of Fate in the Works of Ludwig Tieck by Alan Corkhill, 1978; The Boundless Present: Space and Time in the Literary Fairy Tales of Novalis and Teick by Gordon Birrell, 1979; Reality's Dark Dream by William J. Lillyman, 1979; "The Relevance of the Incest Motif in Der blonde Eckbert " by Kurt J. Fickert in Germanic Notes, 1982, pp. 33-35; "The Perceptive Non-Artist: a Study of Tieck's Der Runenberg " by Victor Knight in New German Studies, Spring 1982, pp.21-31; "Self-Reflexive Siblings: Incest as Narcissism in Tieck, Wagner, and Thomas Mann" by Gail Finney in German Quarterly, 1983, pp. 243-56; Ludwig Tieck: A Literary Biography by Roger Paulin, 1985; The Intercontexuality of Self and Nature in Ludwig Tieck's Early Works by Heather I. Sullivan, 1997.

* * *

Among Ludwig Tieck's major contributions to German romanticism are two hauntingly suggestive short stories, "Blond Eckbert" (Der Blonder Eckbert) and "The Runenberg" (Der Rünenberg). "Blond Eckbert" begins very calmly, presenting a fair-haired 40-year-old knight, who lives a retired life in his castle in the Harz Mountains. Though guests come only rarely, Eckbert regularly welcomes Philipp Walther, a Franconian, and one day, feeling a certain affinity of spirit, he cannot resist the temptation of persuading his wife, Bertha, to relate to her guest the story of her youth. It is a strange tale. The daughter of impoverished parents, Bertha fled from home and ran deep into the dark forest. At last she came upon a decrepit old woman dressed in black who took her into her hut and told her that she must earn her keep by doing chores. Lonely but having found companionship in a dog whose name escapes her, Bertha settled down for four years. As she ruefully remarks, human beings gain their wits only to forfeit their innocence: turning 14, Bertha set out on her journeys again and, despite being insistently told that only morality leads to happiness, she took with her a lot of the precious jewels that the old woman had been mysteriously bringing back to the hut. Bertha then wandered on uneasily until she met Eckbert, whom she married.

Eckbert loses no time praising his wife, but when Walther replies, he lets slip the name of the dog. Plainly Walther knows more about the story than ever seemed likely. Bertha and her husband grow suspicious, and when, though without really intending, Eckbert shoots Walther with his crossbow, he feels relieved until discovering that his wife has died, too. After meeting an old knight who uncannily reminds him of Walther, Eckbert rides out into the wild forest. There he meets the hag who had taken in Bertha all those years ago, and she tells him dreadful truths. Walther and the old knight were nothing other than transmogrifications of herself. As for Bertha, whom he had married, she was his sister. The abandoned illegitimate daughter of a king, Bertha had been brought up by shepherds, and, had she but served out her years of trial virtuously, evil would have been purged. Dim recollections of something about the start of all this stir in Eckbert. They only add to his anguish: driven out of his wits, he falls to the ground and dies.

Contrasting the homely with the uncanny and orderly domestic life with the wilderness, where strange and powerful forces threaten humanity's precarious dominion over nature, "Blond Eckbert" exploits the recently rediscovered literary resources of the German fairy tale to develop profoundly disquieting themes through a beguiling blend of dream and nightmare with rational consciousness. Reason is shown as weak and insecure when threatened by the primal forces of nature. Journeying through forests and mountains takes on a symbolic significance as humanity's often vain quest for an escape from intractable dilemmas, and the male and female roles invite interpretation not only about the nature of sexual differences but also about the two sides of an individual's personality.

Similar comments apply to "The Runenberg," although the fact that the main character is not a knight but a much more lowly individual and the emphasis on the effects of poverty make it easier for most people to identify with this story. The inclusion of several poems in the story adds to its romantic dimension. Young Christian—the choice of name can hardly be insignificant—is impelled by inexplicable inner discontent to leave the village where his father works as a gardener. He longs to go to a mountainous region. Realism gives way to something more like a fairy tale when he idly tugs at a root; as it comes out of the ground, he hears a mysterious groan. Soon after, he meets a stranger, who as darkness falls, leads Young Christian toward the inaccessible and mysterious Runenberg. There he see a woman—tall, commanding, powerfully built—with an otherworldly aura; as she strips naked, he becomes conscious that his whole personality is transformed. Approaching him as he stands at a window, the woman hands him a jewel-encrusted tablet as a keepsake. Waking after sleep, Christian comes down from the mountain to an idyllic village, where he is charmed by the harvest festival that is being celebrated with simple religious rites.

It is not long before he marries a local girl and settles down to enjoy modest prosperity. But the thought of seeing his parents again and telling them that he too is now enjoying working as a gardener tempts him to venture out from the village. Though deeply disquieted, he is delighted to meet his father coming to meet him, and the pair return to the village. Five years later a stranger calls, stays for a while, and on departing leaves behind a large sum of money, saying that Christian can have it if he does not return within a year. As he waits greed consumes him, and he becomes obsessed with riches concealed in the mountains. He deserts his family and home, where penury ensues. Returning much later, he reveals that he is still in the thrall of the beautiful woman in the Runenberg. His wife looks up to see only an ancient crone, but Christian strides off to join her, never to be seen again.

Apart from an emphasis on poverty and the significance of dreams, Life's Superfluence (Des Lebens Überfluss), another work of short fiction by Tieck, belongs to quite a different world from the fairy tales Tieck wrote nearly 40 years before it. Categorized as belonging to the "novelle" tradition because of Tieck's focus on a single issue and his use of the structural device of the flashback from a striking initial event, the story opens with reports of a town abuzz with wild rumors after some strange happening in a house in the suburbs. Then the narrative, by an anonymous but quietly amused third-person storyteller, doubles back to present a young couple living in total penury in rooms on an upper floor. The husband, a man of spirit and style, refuses to be depressed, and his wife gamely helps him remain cheerful. Gradually we learn the facts: he has held a post in some embassy, she is a young lady of position, and to the fury of her father, they have eloped. By now, they have pawned or sold everything they possess, including a rare edition of Chaucer that the well-read young man cherishes. To keep warm during a particularly cold winter, he decides to start chopping up the oak staircase for firewood. The landlord returns, sees what has been done to his property, and is far from amused by the young man's witty insouciance. Things are stopped from taking an ugly turn only by a conventional happy ending involving a change of heart by the young woman's father and the return of the edition of Chaucer. Though lightweight, this is an amusing tale, given life by the enterprising character of its irrepressibly and irresponsibly optimistic hero.

—Christopher Smith

Ludwig Tieck

views updated May 18 2018

Ludwig Tieck

The German author Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853) was perhaps the most versatile and productive writer of the German romantic movement.

Ludwig Tieck was born in Berlin on May 5, 1773. His intellectual and imaginative gifts were evident from early youth, when he considered himself a rationalist and follower of the Enlightenment. In 1792 he began his university studies, first at Halle and then at Göttingen, where he began his first novel, William Lovell, completed in 1796. This is the story of a young Englishman who begins as an idealist but falls into a life of sensuality and various misdeeds. After he has seduced and abandoned the sister of a friend, the friend seeks him out and eventually kills him in a duel.

In 1793 Tieck, together with the young writer Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, began a wandering tour of southern Germany, where they discovered the riches of medieval German culture. On the basis of these experiences, Tieck and Wackenroder undertook joint authorship of a novel, Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen (Franz Sternbald's Wanderings). Wackenroder died in 1798, and Tieck completed the novel alone. The book is one of the first Künstlerromane, or novels about artists. Franz Sternbald is a pupil of the 16th-century painter Albrecht Dürer. He wanders about Europe learning and practicing his art, experiencing life, and seeking his mysterious Marie, whom he finally rejoins in Rome. The novel conveys much of Wackenroder's and Tieck's enthusiasm for older art.

By 1794 Tieck had returned to Berlin, where he wrote treatises in the spirit of rationalistic philosophy but also showed his developing romantic tastes in his edition and adaptation of old German folktales. In addition he wrote fairy tales of his own, such as Der blonde Eckbert (1797; The Blonde Eckbert), a tale of guilt, incest, and supernatural happenings.

About this time Tieck also wrote the experimental dramas Prinz Zerbino and Der gestiefelte Kater (Puss in Boots). In the latter play he uses the basic plot of the children's story as an occasion, or framework, for various satirical actions and comments. The play intentionally destroys theatrical illusion, and the poet and even the audience are given parts to speak; thus it may be regarded as a precursor of the 20th century's experimental theater. More conventional plays of the same period were the historical dramas Leben und Tod der heiligen Genoveva (1799; Life and Death of Holy Genoveve) and Kaiser Octavianus (1804).

In 1799 Tieck established contact with the group of romantic writers living in Jena, principally Novalis and August Wilhelm and Friedrich von Schlegel. He collaborated with them in editing medieval poetry. He also translated Cervantes's Don Quixote and helped edit the literary remains of Wackenroder, Novalis, and the dramatists Heinrich von Kleist and Jakob Lenz. His most important work as a translator was his contribution to the complete German version of Shakespeare which had been begun by August Wilhelm von Schlegel. Completed in 1833, the Tieck-Schlegel Shakespeare became a standard work of German literature.

During his later years Tieck's own creative work underwent a gradual change. His later novels and short stories show a more realistic attitude and depiction of life than his earlier, more romantic works. For example, the story Des Lebens Überfluss (1839; Life's Abundance) describes in accurate detail the life of an impoverished young married couple. In addition to such stories Tieck also wrote a historical novel, Vittoria Accorombona (1840), which shows the influence of Sir Walter Scott.

After leaving Jena, Tieck spent several years at a country estate and then in 1819 moved to Dresden, where he became dramaturgical consultant for the city theater. In 1841 King Frederick William IV of Prussia summoned him to Berlin, where he remained as court author-in-residence. Tieck died in Berlin on April 28, 1853, a romantic writer who had outlived virtually his entire generation.

Further Reading

Perhaps the best general book on Tieck in English is Edwin H. Zeydel, Ludwig Tieck, the German Romanticist (1935), which serves as a good introduction to his life and writings. More specialized book-length works are Zeydel's Ludwig Tieck and England (1931); R. M. Immerwahr, The Esthetic Intent of Tieck's Fantastic Comedy (1953); and Percy Matenko, Ludwig Tieck and America (1954). R. M. Wernaer, Romanticism and the Romantic School in Germany (1910), contains a chapter on Tieck's notion of "romantic irony, " and Ralph Tymms, German Romantic Literature (1955), provides an excellent brief introduction to Tieck's life and work.

Additional Sources

Paulin, Roger. Ludwig Tieck, Stuttgart: Metzler, 1987.

Paulin, Roger. Ludwig Tieck: a literary biography, Oxford Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, 1985. □