Authors: Joseph von Eichendorff

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

German historian

Author Works


Zur Kunstliteratur, 1835

Die Wiederherstellung des Schlosses der deutschen Ordensritter zu Marienburg, 1844

ZurGeschichte der neueren romantischen Poesie in Deutschland, 1846

Über die ethische und religiöse Bedeutung der neueren romantischen Poesie in Deutschland, 1847

Brentano und seine Märchen, 1847

Die deutsche Salonpoesie der Frauen, 1847

Novellen von Ernst Ritter, 1847

Die neue Poesie Österreichs, 1847

Die geistliche Poesie in Deutschland, 1847

Die deutschen Volksschriftsteller, 1848

Zu den Gedichten von Lebrecht Dreves, 1849

Der deutsche Roman des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts in seinem Verhältnis zum Christentum, 1851

Zur Geschichte des Dramas, 1854

Erlebtes, 1857

Geschichte der poetischen Literatur Deutschlands, 1857 (2 volumes)


Gedichte, 1837 (Happy Wanderer, and Other Poems, 1925)

Neue Gesamtausgabe der Werke und Schriften in vier Bänden, 1957-1958

Long Fiction:

Ahnung und Gegenwart, 1815

Das Marmorbild, 1819 (novella; The Marble Statue, 1927)

Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts, 1826 (novella; Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing, 1866)

Viel Lärmen um nichts, 1833 (novella)

Dichter und ihre Gesellen, 1834

Eine Meerfahrt, 1835

Das Schloss Dürande, 1837 (novella)

Die Entführung, 1839

Die Glücksritter, 1841

Das Incognito: Ein Puppenspiel, 1841

Libertas und ihre Freier, 1849

Julian, 1853


Krieg den Philistern, pb. 1824

Ezelin von Romano, pb. 1828

Der letzte Held von Marienburg, pb. 1830

Die Freier, pb. 1833

Robert und Guiscard, pb. 1855 (verse play)


Neue Gesamtausgabe der Werke und Schriften in vier Bänden, 1957-1958


Romanticism has probably been the most enduring literary trend in German history, and without any doubt Joseph von Eichendorff (I-kuhn-dahrf) is one of the reasons that for a great number of Germans, Romanticism is still the most meaningful literature. Eichendorff, the “happy wanderer” who declares that everything is right in this world if only we will learn that even grief is part of something greater than ourselves, was born in 1788 in the well-sheltered castle of his parents at Lubowitz. He came from an old aristocratic family; one critic named him the “last knight of knights.” In his writings he identifies himself with the experiences of ordinary people and makes frequent use of folklore.{$I[AN]9810000596}{$I[A]Eichendorff, Joseph von}{$I[geo]GERMANY;Eichendorff, Joseph von}{$I[tim]1788;Eichendorff, Joseph von}

His happy childhood at the castle became the reservoir for all his Romantic outpourings until the very end. When the Napoleonic wars endangered the castle, his parents decided to send him to the faraway universities at Halle and Heidelberg. In Heidelberg his inclinations toward Romanticism were strengthened when he met the two writers Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, who achieved fame with their collection of purported old German folk songs, Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1805; the boy’s magic horn). He also met Joseph Görres, a fellow Romanticist and the literary leader of German Catholicism. Eichendorff, an unwavering Catholic throughout his life, was influenced by Görres’s enthusiasm for revolution and became a member of the resistance movement that was formed against Napoleon. In 1813 he enlisted in the much glorified Prussian Corps Luetzow, but he was spared the experience of battle.

In 1814 he married Luise von Larisch, the daughter of a country squire. When Napoleon returned from Elba, Eichendorff once again joined the army, but the defeat at Waterloo kept him from reaching the firing line. The aftermath of the war made it impossible for him to return to his childhood paradise in Silesia.

In spite of the fact that writing was still his primary interest, for financial reasons he accepted a position in the ministry for cultural and educational affairs. In 1844 he resigned when he realized that his uncompromising Catholic attitude was in conflict with the government policies of rejecting church influence in public life. Having more time for writing and travel, he compiled a history of literature.

Eichendorff’s marriage was a happy one. He had two sons and one daughter. His beloved daughter’s death at an early age was the only real tragedy of his life. His strong belief that even the early death of his child must be part of God’s plan made it possible for him to overcome this emotional crisis. In 1855 he retired to the country home of his son-in-law in Neisse. His wife died early in 1857; he died later that same year. As a consequence of World War II, his grave in Neisse is now located outside the German boundaries, as is his beloved castle, Lubowitz.

BibliographyGoebel, Robert Owen. Eichendorff’s Scholarly Reception: A Survey. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1993. A critical study of Eichendorff’s work and the German academic culture of his time. Includes bibliographical references and an index.Lukács, Georg. German Realists in the Nineteenth Century. Translated by Jeremy Gaines and Paul Keast. Edited by Rodney Livingstone. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1993. Seven essays on major nineteenth century figures in German literature, including Eichendorff, concerning the role of literature in history, society, and politics.Purver, Judith. Hindeutung auf das Höhere: A Structural Study of the Novels of Joseph von Eichendorff. New York: P. Lang, 1989. In this comprehensive study of Eichendorff’s novels in English Purver argues that the theological and didactic intentions in Eichendorff’s work are vitally important.Radner, Lawrence. Eichendorff: The Spiritual Geometer. Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Studies, 1970. Radner provides a comprehensive critical interpretation of Eichendorff’s works.Schwarz, Egon. Joseph von Eichendorff. New York: Twayne, 1972. A short biography with a bibliography of Eichendorff’s work.
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