Biography of Friedrich Schiller / Биография Фридриха Шиллера

Johann Christoph Friedrich Schiller is born in Marbach, Wurttemberg on Nov. 10, 1759, where he spends most of his childhood. The family later moves to Lorch and Ludwigsburg in Wurttemberg. His parents send him to Duke Karl Eugen’s military school so the gifted boy can get a good education. But Schiller is not free to choose his own course of study. He starts off studying law, later switches to medicine.

Arts and humanities are banned at the military school, so Schiller reads the classics, the great philosophers and playwrights, in secret. Schiller’s health has been fragile since he was a boy. When he graduates, he’s disappointed not to receive a solid, financially stable job, instead has to settle for the modest pay of Regimental Doctor. His bleak prospects, numerous restrictions on his liberty, and his urge to follow his true calling as a playwright, finally lead Schiller to run away. After his breakthrough with the play «The Robbers», Schiller has to leave military school. He escapes to Mannheim, Leipzig, Gohlis, and finally Weimar.

Schiller writes more plays and finds a publisher. Still, he hardly makes enough money to live off. It’s not until he receives a professor’s chair in Jena 1789 that his financial hardships end. Finally, he can start thinking about marrying and having children. Out of his relationship with the Lengefeld Sisters, he finally marries Charlotte von Lengefeld on Feb. 22, 1790. Friedrich and Charlotte have four children. He ultimately settles in Weimar, which has become an intellectual and artistic hotbed, where leading figures like Goethe, Wieland and Herder live and work.

Schiller’ hopes to find stable work at the Weimar Court are disappointed, but he still manages to provide financial security for his family. In 1802, Schiller is ennobled by the Duke of Weimar for his artistic achievements. His poor health continues to plague him, repeatedly tying him to his bed. He dies May 9, 1805 of acute pneumonia..
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