Wilhelm Hauff (November 29, 1802 - November 18, 1827) was a German poet and novelist
Wilhelm Hauff was born at Stuttgart, the son of a secretary in the ministry of foreign affairs.
Young Hauff lost his father when he was but seven years of age, and his early education was practically self-gained in the library of his maternal grandfather at Tübingen, to which place his mother had removed in 1818 he was sent to the Klosterschule at Blaubeuren, whence he passed in 1820 to the university of Tübingen. In four years he completed his philosophical and theological studies, and on leaving the university became tutor to the children of the famous Württemberg minister of war, General Baron Ernst Eugen von Hugel (1774-1849) and for them wrote his Märchen (fairy tales), which he published in his Märchen almanach auf das Jahr 1826. Some of these works are very popular in German speaking countries to this day, such as Der Kleine Muck, Kalif Storch, Die Geschichte von dem Gespensterschiff, Der Zwerg Nase - all playing in the Orient - Das kalte Herz or Das Wirtshaus im Spessart, both playing in Germany.
He also wrote there the first part of the Mitteilungen aus den Memoiren des Satan (1826) and Der Mann im Mond (1825). The latter, a parody of the sentimental and sensual novels of Heinrich Clauren (pseudonym of Karl Gottlieb Samuel Heun (1771-1854)), became in the course of composition a close imitation of that author's style and was actually published under his name. Clauren, in consequence, brought and won an action for damages against Hauff. Whereupon Hauff followed up the attack in his witty and sarcastic Kontroverspredigt über H. Clauren und den Mann im Mond (1826) and attained his original object: the moral annihilation of the mawkish and unhealthy literature with which Clauren was flooding the country. Meanwhile, inspired by Sir Walter Scott's novels, Hauff wrote the historical romance Lichtenstein (1826), which acquired great popularity in Germany and especially in Swabia, treating as it did the most interesting period in the history of that country, the reign of Duke Ulrich (1487-1550).
While on a journey to France, the Netherlands and north Germany he wrote the second part of the Memoiren des Satan and some short novels, among them the charming Die Bettlerin vom Pont des Arts and his masterpiece the Phantasien im Bremer Ratskeller (1827). He also published some short poems which have passed into Volkslieder, among them Morgenrot, Morgenrot, Leuchtest mir zum frühen Tod?; and Steh ich in finstrer Mitternacht. In January 1827, Hauff undertook the editorship of the Stuttgart Morgenblatt and in the following month married, but his happiness was prematurely cut short by his death from fever on the 28th of November 1827.
Considering his brief life, Hauff was an extraordinarily prolific writer. The freshness and originality of his talent, his inventiveness, and his genial humour have won him a high place among the south German prose writers of the early nineteenth century.
- Sämtliche Werke, with a biography, edited by Gustav Schwab (3 vols, 1830-1834; 5 vols, 18th ed., 1882), and by Felix Bobertag (1891-1897)
- Selection by M. Mendheim (3 vols, 1891).
For his life
- J. Klaiber, Wilhelm Hauff, ein Lebensbild (1881)
- M. Mendheim, Hauffs Leben und Werke (1894)
- H. Hofmann, W. Hauff (1902).
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