BEER, MICHAEL (1800–1833), German poet and playwright; brother of the composer Giacomo *Meyerbeer and of the astronomer Wilhelm *Beer. In one of his earliest works, the classical tragedy Klytemnestra (1823), he attempted to gain sympathy for a heroine who murders her husband. Beer's play was successfully performed in 1819 at the Berlin Hoftheater and later in Vienna. In 1825, he achieved a triumph with the poetic drama Der Paria, a disguised plea for Jewish emancipation, which won high praise from Goethe. Beer moved to Paris in 1824, and in 1827 settled in Munich, where he enjoyed the goodwill of King Ludwig of Bavaria and the friendship of Eduard von Schenk, the minister of interior. Struensee, generally regarded as his best play, was produced by the Bavarian Royal Theater in 1828, when it was favorably reviewed by Heine. The incidental music for Struensee was composed by his brother Meyerbeer. Beer's narrative poems include only one with a Jewish theme, a legend entitled Der fromme Rabbi. His collected plays and poems appeared in 1835, with an introductury biographical sketch by Eduard von Schenk and verse tributes by Schenk and M.G. *Saphir. Two years later, Schenk published Beer's collected letters.
kahn, in: ylbi, 12 (1967), 149–60. add. bibliography: J. Stenzel, in: Jahrbuch des freien deutschen Hochstifts (1987), 314–35; R. Heuer (ed.), Lexikon deutsch-juedischer Auto-ren, 1 (1992), 442–44, bibl.; H. Olbrich, in: A. Kilcher (ed.), Metzler Lexikon der deutsch-juedischen Literatur (2000), 39–41.
[Sol Liptzin /
Marcus Pyka (2nd ed.)