SCHLEGEL, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich

SCHLEGEL, Karl Wilhelm Friedrich (von). Hannover 10.3.1772 — Dresden 12.1. 1829. German Literate and Pioneer of Indology. Brother of —> A. W. von S. Student of law at Leipzig, soon became more interested in literature and art, especially in ancient Greek. After a while in Jena he moved in 1797 to Berlin. With his brother AW et al. he started the romantic school. In 1798-1800 literary critic of the Athäneum. In 1802 he went to Paris in order to study art, became friend with Alexander Hamilton, who lived in his place during his internment and taught him Sanskrit in 1803-04. Further studies among the manuscripts in library. In 1808 he adopted Roman Catholicism and turning with time more and more conservative he became estranged from Indology. From 1809 Secretary to Hof- und Staatskanzlei in Vienna preparing political propaganda. From 1820 he published the journal Concordia, wich supported the Holy Alliance. From 1797 living together and 1804 married with Dorothee, the daughter of Moses Mendelssohn and a noted authoress.

FS was a sharp critic, but rather mediocre as a poet. In Indology, his Sprache und Weisheit was an important pioneer work, with knowing subtitle “Beitrag zur Begründung der Alterthumskunde”. Its “Erstes Buch. Von der Sprache” was a predecessor of Bopp, but also established the erroneous doctrine of Sanskrit as the IE Ursprache. It was followed by “Zweites Buch. Von der Philosophie” and “Drittes Buch. Historische Ideen”. To these were appended the very first direct translations from Sanskrit into German ever published: “I. Anfang des Ramayon, II. Indische Kosmogonie aus dem ersten Buch der Gesetze des Monu, III. Aus dem Bhogovotgita, IV. Aus der Geschichte der Sokuntala nach dem Mohabharat”, all culled from manuscripts in Paris. In addition, he already knew the Hitopadeśa and the Śakuntalā in original language.  Unlike his brother, FS did not acceot the hereditary title (“von”) until 1814, when the Pope made him knight of the Supreme Order of Christ”.

Publications: Von der Schulen der griechischen Poesie. 1794; Lucinde. 1799 (novel); Alarcos. 1802 (a tragedy).

Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier. Ein Beitrag zur Begründung der Alterthumskunde. Heidelberg 1808, new ed. with intr. 57+16+324 p. Amst. Classics in Linguistics 1. Amsterdam 1977.

Geschichte der alten und neuen Literatur. 1815; Philosophie der Geschichte. 1829; Philosophische Vorlesungen. 1830; a great number of articles, reviews, poems, etc.

Sources: *Oppenberg, Quellenstudien zu F.S.’s Übersetzungen aus dem Sanskrit. Marburg 1965 (cf. de Jong, IIJ 9, 196?, 309-311); *A. Parel, “F.S. and the Beginning of Sanskrit Studies in Germany”, JIH 1976, 547-5??; *P. Schmitter, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 833-835; *U. Struc, “Zu F.S.’s Handschriften seiner Übersetzungen aus dem Sanskrit”, ZDMG 118, 1968, 320-3??; S. Timpanaro, introduction to the 1977 edition of Sprache und Weisheit; Windisch 57f.; J. Zovko, N.D.B. 23, 2007, 40-42; Wikipedia with two portraits and further references; Rau 5.


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