Friedrich von

Friedrich von

Gentz, Friedrich von, 1764-1832, German conservative political theorist. Admirer of the English political system of checks and balances, Gentz was critical of the French Revolution. He translated (1793) Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. He conducted a relentless polemical campaign against Napoleon I, advocating civic liberties and the rule of law against egalitarian autocracy and illegitimate imperialism. Prussian neutrality led him to move from Berlin to Vienna (1802), where he advised on Austrian foreign policy and (1812) became secretary to Metternich. A powerful figure in Austrian and European politics, he served as secretary-general of the Congresses of Vienna, Aachen, Laibach, Troppau, and Verona, supporting the old order against the new without exception: in the Balkans, Spain, and Latin America.

See his The French and American Revolutions Compared (tr. by J. Q. Adams, 1803, new ed. 1955). See also biography by P. R. Sweet (1941, repr. 1970); G. Mann, Secretary of Europe (tr. 1946, repr. 1970); study by P. F. Reiff (1912, repr. 1967).

Hardenberg, Friedrich von: see Novalis.
Holstein, Friedrich von, 1837-1909, German diplomat. After the Congress of Berlin (1878) he became a powerful figure in shaping German foreign policy. His official position was (1878-1906) political counselor in the foreign office, and during his life he was almost totally unknown outside government circles. During the 1880s he attempted to thwart Chancellor Bismarck's Russian policy, favoring instead closer ties with Austria-Hungary; after Bismarck's fall (1890) he allowed the 1887 Reinsurance Treaty with Russia to lapse. He favored rapprochement with Great Britain but set the terms too high, mistakenly believing that Britain would never come to terms with France or Russia. When Britain and France reached agreement in 1904, Holstein tried to break their entente by provoking (1905) a crisis over Morocco. His advice was ignored by Chancellor Bülow, who feared war with Britain, and Holstein resigned. Germany subsequently found itself isolated at the international conference at Algeciras on Morocco.

See his papers, ed. by N. Rich and M. H. Fisher (4 vol., tr. 1955-63); study by N. Rich (2 vol., 1965).

Bernhardi, Friedrich von, 1849-1930, German general and military writer. His book Germany and the Next War (1912, tr. 1912) was widely publicized by the Allies as an example of Pan-Germanism and German ambition.
Flotow, Friedrich von, 1812-83, German operatic composer. Flotow's operas show the influence of French opéra comique, which set the tone for light opera in the 19th cent. Many of his 29 operas were translated into English, French, or Italian for performances throughout Europe. The most successful were Alessandro Stradella (1844) and Martha (1847), which incorporates the Irish tune "The Last Rose of Summer."
Schiller, Friedrich von, 1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, and historian, one of the greatest of German literary figures, b. Marbach, Württemberg. The poets of German romanticism were strongly influenced by Schiller, and he ranks as one of the founders of modern German literature, second only to Goethe.


The son of an army captain, Schiller attended the duke of Württemberg's military academy, the Karlsschule, and was forced by the domineering duke to study medicine. After graduating in 1780 he became an army surgeon, attached to a military life he abhorred. Turning to writing, he created a striking attack on political tyranny in Die Räuber (1781), one of the great plays of the Sturm und Drang period. Its performance (1782) in Mannheim won him public acclaim as well as the wrath of the duke, who forbade him to write.

Schiller fled from his post in Stuttgart and, after great deprivation, worked as a dramatist (1783-84) for the Mannheim theater. His second youthful success, Don Carlos, appeared in 1785 and was performed in revised form in 1787. While living in the great cultural center of Weimar, Schiller wrote a history (1788) of the revolt of the Netherlands against Spain. This work, together with the mediation of Goethe, gained him (1789) a professorship of history at the Univ. of Jena (now Friedrich Schiller Univ. of Jena). In 1790 Schiller married the gifted writer Charlotte von Lengefeld. Plagued by poor health, Schiller rejected subsequent offers of positions and from 1793 to the end of his life lived in Weimar, enjoying the friendship of Goethe.


Schiller's great dramas are alike in being tragedies or epics with historical and political backgrounds; they exemplify his idealism, high ethical principles, and insistence on freedom and nobility of spirit. In Die Räuber and other early works his heroes are pure idealists who perish because of the villainy of evil opponents. As Schiller moved from the phase of Sturm und Drang, he saw dangers in rampant individualism and even in fanatic idealism; thus his later Don Carlos has been interpreted both as a cry for political liberty and as a plea against excessive idealistic zealousness.

Under the influence of the philosophy of Kant, Schiller developed his aesthetic theories, which stressed the sublime and emphasized the creative powers of humanity. These views and his concept of historical inevitability are manifest in the outstanding dramatic trilogy Wallenstein (1798-99, tr. of last two parts by S. T. Coleridge, 1800), in which the general, ennobled by Schiller as a great creative statesman, bows before inexorable fate. Wallenstein reflects Schiller's labors on a large historical study (1791-93) of the Thirty Years War. Mary Stuart (1800, tr. by Stephen Spender, 1959), his most popular play, and Die Jungfrau von Orleans (1801) deal with guilt and redemption. Wilhelm Tell (1804), which places history and hero in favorable conjunction, shows Schiller's technical mastery at its best.

Schiller's interest in classical antiquity, inspired by Winckelmann, is reflected in the play Die Braut von Messina (1803), essays, and poems. An unfinished novel, Die Geisterseher, and the "Ode to Joy" (1785), used by Beethoven for the finale of his Ninth Symphony, indicate the range of his literary activity. Also noteworthy are his ballades and philosophical lyrics—graceful, compelling, often pathetic in mood. Along with Goethe, he edited the literary periodicals Horen (1795-97) and Musenalmanach (1796-1800). Schiller wrote several significant treatises on aesthetics and created his finest plays and poetry in this period; he also translated Shakespeare's Macbeth (1801), Racine's Phèdre (1805), and other works.


See biography by T. Carlyle (1899, repr. 1974); studies by E. L. Stahl (1954), T. Mann (tr. 1959), R. M. Longyear (1966), and I. Graham (1974).

Schlegel, Friedrich von, 1772-1829, German philosopher, critic, and writer, most prominent of the founders of German romanticism. Educated in law at Göttingen and Leipzig, he turned to literature, writing Die Griechen und Römer (1797). It was followed by experimental literary works, notably Lucinde (1799) and Alarcos (1802). With his brother, August Wilhelm von Schlegel, he founded and edited the Athenaeum, the principal organ of the romantic school. His lectures at Jena (1800) and in Paris (1802) had a widespread influence. His study in Paris of Sanskrit and of Indian civilization later contributed to his outstanding work, Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier [on the language and wisdom of India] (1808). From 1808 to 1819 he engaged in political and diplomatic activities and also wrote works in history and literature. At Vienna, after 1818, he edited Concordia, issued his collected works (1822-25), and lectured on philosophy. Schlegel, during his early period, held that comprehension of life depends on the richness and variety of experience. He called it "romantic irony" that truth changes from experience to experience and that wisdom depends on the recognition of the fickleness of truth. Later, after he and his wife, Dorothea von Schlegel, had joined (1808) the Roman Catholic Church, he became more conservative. Among his translated lectures are The Philosophy of History (tr. 1835), The Philosophy of Life and the Philosophy of Language (tr. 1847), and The History of Literature (tr. 1859).
Wieser, Friedrich von, 1851-1926, Austrian economist and sociologist. He is noted for his formulas applying the principle of marginal utility to cost phenomena. He taught at Prague (1884-1903) and Vienna (1903-17, 1919-22) and served (1917-18) as Austrian secretary of commerce. His works include Der natürliche Wert (1889, tr. Natural Value, 1893) and Theorie der gesellschaftlichen Wirtschaft (1914, tr. Social Economics, 1927).

Friedrich Freiherr von Wieser (July 10, 1851July 22, 1926) was an early member of the Austrian School of economics.

Born in Vienna the son of a high official in the War Ministry (“Freiherr”, literally "Free Lord", is a title, equivalent to baron, not a personal name), he first trained in sociology and law. He was the brother-in-law of another prominent Austrian school economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. Wieser held posts at the universities of Vienna and Prague until succeeding Austrian-school founder Carl Menger in Vienna in 1903 where with Böhm-Bawerk he shaped the next generation of Austrian economists including Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and Joseph Schumpeter in the late 1890s and early 1900s. He became Austrian Finance Minister in 1917.

Wieser is renowned for two main works, Natural Value (1889), which carefully details the alternative-cost doctrine and the theory of imputation, and his Social Economics (1914), which is an ambitious attempt to apply it to the real world.

The economic calculation debate started with his notion of the paramount importance of accurate calculation to economic efficiency. Prices to him represented, above all, information about market conditions, and are thus necessary for any sort of economic activity. A socialist economy, therefore, would require a price system in order to operate.

He also stressed the importance of the entrepreneur to economic change, which he saw as being brought about by “the heroic intervention of individual men who appear as leaders toward new economic shores”. This idea of leadership was later taken up by Joseph Schumpeter in his treatment of economic innovation.

Unlike almost all Austrian School economists he rejected classical liberalism, writing that “freedom has to be superseded by a system of order”.

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