Wihl, Ludwig

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WIHL, LUDWIG (1807–1882), German poet and journalist. Born in Wevelinghofen, near Aachen, Wihl received a good Jewish education and then studied philosophy and Oriental languages. His doctoral thesis on Phoenician inscriptions so impressed his teacher at the Munich University, the philosopher F.W. von Schelling, that he was recommended for a professorship. As he refused to abandon Judaism, the post was denied him, and he had to earn his living as a journalist. Wihl contributed to the periodicals of the Young Germany movement, especially to *Gutzkow's Phoenix. After the publication of his first volume of poems in 1836 he visited Paris. There he met *Heine, about whom he wrote in unflattering terms, and Heine's retaliatory attack was so vicious that it destroyed Wihl's reputation as a poet. During the revolution of 1848 Wihl published an article which was so outspoken that he had to flee to France to escape a prison sentence. He taught German literature and philosophy at Grenoble until the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, when he sought a final refuge in Brussels.

Wihl's works include Geschichte der deutschen National-literatur (Altona, 1840); Westoestliche Schwalben (Mannheim, 1847), a collection of verse; and Le mendiant pour la Pologne (Paris, 1864), poems in French and German.


L. Fraenkel, in: adb, 42 (1897), 469–72 (incl. bibl.); T. Zlocisti, in: Ost und West, 1 (1901), 269–70.

[Sol Liptzin]