RÜCKERT, Friedrich

RÜCKERT, Friedrich. Schweinfurt 16.5.1788 — Neusess bei Coburg, Franken 31.1.1866. German Poet, Translator, Oriental Scholar and Indologist. Professor in Erlangen and Berlin. Son of Johann Adam R. (1763–1831), a lawyer, and Maria Barbara Schoppach (1766–1835). After gymnasium in Schweinfurt (1802–05) studies of law, languages and literature at Würzburg (1805-09) and Jena (1810-12), without too much interest. More enthusiasm he had in the newly founded German nationalism and devoted much political work on it. In 1809 in Austrian army. Ph.D. 1811 Jena. In 1811-12 PD at Jena, in 1815-17 journalist in Stuttgart, in between at home. After the downfall of German hopes he went to Switzerland and Italy in 1817-18. Back from Italy he started Oriental studies prompted by the Westöstliche Diwan and Indische Bibliothek. In 1818-19 studied in Vienna Islamic languages under Hammer-Purgstall. In 1819-20 lived in Coburg, 1820-26 in Nürnberg (unclear, perhaps Coburg 1821 or 1819/20-26) as private scholar and journalist. In 1826-41 Professor of Oriental Languages at Erlangen (teaching also Sanskrit), in 1841-49 at Berlin. In Berlin he did not thrive well and had very few students (yet Max Müller). From 1849 lived in retirement near Coburg. Married 1821 with Luise Wiethaus-Fischer (1797–1857), of children five sons and two daughters survived. His son Heinrich R. (1823–1875) edited several of father’s posthumous works.

FR was a poet and a scholar interested in literature and poetry, which he was able to study in a great number of languages. His own poetry (mainly patriotic and love poetry) is rather forgotten, but his translations from many languages not. Perhaps the most close to him was Persian, in which he saw a combination of IE and Islam. Among Persian authors his favourites were Firdausi and Jami. At Erlangen he taught Sanskrit almost every years and once even Tamil. As a teacher he also taught Avesta and had Spiegel among his students (also in Sanskrit). His other main interests included Hebrew and Arabic, to a lesser extent also Ethiopian. Sanskrit he learnt by himself in the 1820s from Bopp’s Nala, Wilkins’ grammar, and Wilson’s dictionary (he copied himself the whole of the expensive book by hand!) and was mainly interested in epics and classical poetry, to some extent also in Veda. Although a romantic himself, he criticized Schlegel. In addition to these he knew Armenian, Pashto and Turkish, in his later years also Tamil, Coptic, and Finnish, only Chinese remained outside. He supposed Arabic to be the most archaic of the Semitic languages and Coptic to be the missing link between Semitic and IE.

Publications: hab.diss. Dissertatio philologico-philosophica de idea philologiae. 86 p. Jena 1811.

tr. from Persian: Östliche Rosen. 1822 (Hāfiz et al.); Jalaladdīn Rūmī 1819 or later; “Heft Qolsum”, Wiener Jb. f. Litt. 1827ff.; Firdausī: Rostem und Suhrab. 1838 (adaptation); several poems by Jāmī in the ZKM and ZDMG.

transl. from Arabic: Al-Harīrī. 1822/26; Erbauliches und Beschauliches aus dem Morgenlande. 1-2. 1836-38; Sieben Bücher morgenländischer Sagen und Geschichten. 1-2. St. 1837; Amrilkais. St. 1843; Ḥamāsa. 1-2. St. 1846; “Antara”, ZDMG 1848.

tr. from Hebrew: Hebräische Propheten. Lp. 1831ff.; several translations from Greek and Latin.

Schi-king. Chinesisches Liederbuch. 1833 (adapted from a Latin version).

Review of Rosenzweig’s Josepg und Suleïcha, Jb. f. wiss. Kr. 1828:2, 1-107; critical notes on Mohls Shahname in ZDMG 1854-56.

translated from Sanskrit: Nal und Damajanti. Eine indische Geschichte. 6+246 p. Frankfurt M. 1828, 2nd ed. 303 p. ibid. 1838; 38 poems by Amaru in Wendtsche Musenalmanach 1831; 5 poems by Bhartrhari, ZKM 1, 1837, 14-19; “Gita-Gowinda”, ZKM 1, 1837, 129-173 (& 286-296 notes); Brahmanische Erzählungen. 1839; Sakuntala. Aus nachlass hrsg. von H. Rückert. Lp. 1867.

Weisheit der Brahmanen. 1-6. 1836-39, abridged ed. 1843.

Indological reviews in Jahrbücher f. wiss. Kr.: Dursch, Ghatakarparam in 1829:1, 521-551; Benary, Nalodaya in 1831:1, 1-27; Bopp, Sündfluth in 1831:1, 532-549; Bopp, Glossarium in 1831:2, 84-101; Schlegel, Ramayana in 1831:55, 154-187 & 1831:56, 68-98; Wilson, Theatre, Chézy, Sacountala, Hirzel, id. in 1834:1, 841-872; Lassen, Malatimadhava, Lenz, Urvasia in 1834:1, 969-1006.

tr.: “Der gute König in der Hölle, Mârkaṇḍeya-Purâna”, ZDMG 12, 1858, 336-340; “Die Sage vom König Hariscandra, Mârkaṇḍeya-Purâna 7 und 8”, ZDMG 13, 1859, 103-133.

Other works of poetry and translation and a few dramas; reviews; also Poetische Werke. 1-12. Frankfurt a.M. 18??-69; Poetisches Tagebuch. 1850-1866. Aus dem Nachlass hrsg. von Marie Rückert. Frankfurt a.M. 1888; Rückert-Nachlese. Sammlung der zerstreuten Gedichte und Übersetzungen. Hrsg. von L. Hirschberg. 1-2. Weimar 1911; Briefe. Hrsg. von R. Rückert. 1-3. Schweinfurt 1977-82.

translations edited by H. Kreyenborg: Atharvaveda. Das Wissen von den Zauber­sprüchen. Aus dem ungedruckten Nachlass. 15+299 p. Hannover 1923; Amrilkais. Der Dichter und König. 1924; Hafis, Ghaselen (Dichtungen). 167 p. Munich 1926; Hellenis. Sagen und Legenden aus der griechischen Kaisergeschichte. 1927.

Die Hundert Strophen des Amaru. Aus dem Sanskrit metrisch übersetzt. Hrsg. von J. Nobel. 15+73 p. Hannover 1925; Indische Liebeslyrik in Übersetzungen von F.R. Hrsg. von H. v. Glasenapp. Munich 1921, 2nd ed. Baden-Baden 1948; Stimmen des Orients. Arabische, persische, indische und chinesische Dichtungen in der Über­tragung von F.R. Hrsg. von J. Mehlig. 276 p. Lp. 1965; Übersetzungen persischer Poesie. Ausgewählt und eingel. von A. Schimmel. 72 p. Wb. 1966; Fürsten, Weiber und Schling­pflanzen: Sanskritsprüche übersetzt oder nachgebildet. Hrsg. von B. Forssman and J. Mehlig. 242 p. Zwischen Orient und Okzident 2. Wb. 1991 (also several Arabic and Persiantranslations in the same series).

Sources: *Benfey 413ff.; Windisch 89-91.

*C. Beyer, F.R.’s Leben und Dichtungen. 12+303 p. Coburg 1866; id. in F.R.’s Poetische Werke. 12. Frankfurt a.M. 1869, 355-472; *R. Boxberger, R.-Studien. Gotha 1878; *Buchner in Prutz’s Deutsches Museum 1866:9, 257-264; *P. Challamel-Lacour, Revue moderne 36, 1866, 563-573; *C. Fortlage, F.R. und seine Werke. 7+182 p. Frankfurt/M. 1867; Gosche, Wiss. Jahresbericht (in ZDMG) 1862–67, 18-24; *R. Gottschalk, Unsere Zeit N.F. 2, 1866, 321-347; *P. Möbius, F.R., ein deutscher Dichter. 16 p. Lp. 1867; *L. Stein, F.R.’s Leben und Dichten. 36 p. Frankfurt/. 1867; *“Erinnerungen an F.R.”, Grenzboten 1867:14-15.

*H. Bobzin (ed.), F.R. an der Universität Erlangen 1826–1841. Schriften der Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg 19. E. 1988 (n.b. B. Forssmann, “F.R. als Indologe”, 167-195); *J. Erdmann (ed.), 200 Jahre F.R. 1788-1866. Dichter und Gelehrter. Coburg 1988 (with *Bobzin, “F.R.’s wissenschaftlicher Nachlass”); *W. Fischer (ed.), Friedrich Rückert im Spiegel seiner Zeitgenossen und der Nachwelt. [23] Aufsätze aus der Zeit zwischen 1827 und 1986. 10+372 p. Wb. 1988; *Goedeke, Grundriss zur Geschichte der Deutschen Dichtkunst. 2nd ed. by E. Goetze. 1905, § 317 (with bibliography); *M. Karmarkar, F.R. und die indische Dichtung. Diss. (ms.) Göttingen 1959; *H. Prang, “Friedrich Rückert als Dichter und Gelehrter”, Erlanger Universitätreden, Erlangen 1963; *Rüdiger Rückert, F.-R.-Literaturen. Schweinfurt 1980; *A. Schimmel, F.R. Lebensbild und Einführung in sein Werk. 155 p. Freiburg 1988.

Rückert zu Ehren. Hrsg. von Rückert-Gesellschaft e. V. Schweinfurt. 1–13. 1988-2007; Rückert-Studien. Jahrbuch der Rückert-Gesellschaft. 1-19. 1964-2010.

Portrait in Rau 6 (from Amaru. 1925); painting and drawing, both by Paul O. Rave, in Das Jahrhundert Goethes. B. 1949, also in TITUS Galeria.

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