Wilhelm Müller: German poet (1794 - 1827) | Biography, Bibliography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Wilhelm Müller
German poet

Wilhelm Müller

Wilhelm Müller
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German poet
Was Musician Poet Writer Composer
From Germany
Field Literature Music
Gender male
Birth 7 October 1794, Dessau
Death 30 September 1827, Dessau (aged 33 years)
Wilhelm Müller
The details (from wikipedia)


Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller (October 7, 1794 – September 30, 1827) was a German lyric poet, most well known as the author of Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, the famous Franz Schubert song cycles.


Wilhelm Müller was born on October 7, 1794 at Dessau, the son of a tailor. He was educated at the gymnasium of his native town and at the University of Berlin, where he devoted himself to philological and historical studies. In 1813-1814 he took part, as a volunteer in the Prussian army, in the national rising against Napoleon. He participated in the battles of Lützen, Bautzen, Hanau and Kulm. In 1814 he returned to his studies at Berlin. From 1817 to 1819, he visited southern Germany and Italy, and in 1820 published his impressions of the latter in Rom, Römer und Römerinnen. In 1819, he was appointed teacher of classics in the Gelehrtenschule at Dessau, and in 1820 librarian to the ducal library. He remained there the rest of his life, dying of a heart attack aged only 32. His grandson Wilhelm Max Müller was an American Oriental scholar.


Müller's earliest lyrics are contained in a volume of poems, Bundesbluten, by several friends, which was published in 1816. That same year he also published Blumenlese aus den Minnesängern (Flowers harvested from the minnesingers). His literary reputation was made by the Gedichte aus den hinterlassenen Papieren eines reisenden Waldhornisten (2 vols., 1821–1824), and the Lieder der Griechen (1821–1824). The latter collection was Germany's chief tribute of sympathy to the Greeks in their struggle against the Turkish yoke, a theme which inspired many poets of the time. Two volumes of Neugriechische Volkslieder, and Lyrische Reisen und epigrammatische Spaziergänge, followed in 1825 and 1827. Many of his poems imitate the German Volkslied.

Müller also wrote a book on the Homerische Vorschule (1824; 2nd. ed., 1836), translated Marlowe's Faustus, and edited a Bibliothek der Dichtungen des 17. Jahrhunderts (1825–1827; 10 vols.), a collection of lyric poems.


Müller's Vermischte Schriften (Miscellaneous writings) were edited with a biography by Gustav Schwab (3 vols., 1830). Wilhelm Müller's Gedichte were collected in 1837 (4th ed., 1858), and also edited by his son, Friedrich Max Müller (1868). There are also numerous more recent editions, notably one in Reclam's Universalbibliothek (1894), and a critical edition by J. T. Hatfield (1906).


Müller's grave in Dessau

Müller excelled in popular and political songs that attracted great composers, notably two of Franz Schubert's song cycles, Die schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, are based on the sets of poems of the same name by Müller. He also influenced Heinrich Heine's lyric development.

Andres Neuman wrote a novel, El viajero del siglo (Traveller of the Century, 2009), inspired by the poems of Winter Journey (Wanderlieder von Wilhelm Müller. Die Winterreise. In 12 Liedern), giving life to several of its characters. Neuman had previously translated Müller's Winter Journey poems to the Spanish language.


Müller's son, Friedrich Max Müller, was an English orientalist who founded the comparative study of religions. His grandson was Wilhelm Max Müller, a United States orientalist.

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