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Poets

August von Platen

(1796- 1835)

August von Platen was born on 24 October 1796 at Ansbach, the son of the Oberforstmeister (a senior public servant) of that state, Count Philipp August von Platen-Hallermünde, by second wife Baroness Christiane Eichler von Auriz. Shortly after his birth Ansbach and other Franconian principalities became incorporated with Bavaria. Platen entered the school of cadets (Kadettenhaus) in Munich, Bavaria, where he showed early poetic talent. In 1810 as an adolescent he passed into the royal school of pages (Königliche Pagerie).

In 1814 Platen was appointed lieutenant in the regiment of Bavarian life-guards. With them he took part in the short campaign in France of 1815, being in bivouac for several months near Mannheim and in the department of the Yonne. He saw no fighting, however, and returned home with his regiment towards the close of the same year. Desiring to study, and finding garrison life distasteful, he obtained a long leave of absence, and after a tour in Switzerland and the Bavarian Alps, entered the university of Würzburg in 1818 as a student of philosophy and philology.

In the following year Platen migrated to the university of Erlangen, where he sat at the feet of Schelling, and became one of his most enthusiastic admirers.

As a result of his Oriental studies Platen published a little volume of poems — Ghaselen (1821), each consisting of ten to twenty verses, in which he imitates the style of Rückert; Lyrische Blätter (1821); Spiegel des Hafis (1822); Vermischte Schriften (1822); and Neue Ghaselen (1823). These attracted the attention of eminent men of letters among them Goethe, both by reason of their contents, which breathe the spirit of the East, and also of the purity and elegance of their form and diction.
Though Platen was at first influenced by the school of Romanticism, and particularly by Spanish models, the plays written during his university life at Erlangen, Der gläserne Pantoffel, Der Schatz des Rhampsinit, Berengar, Treue um Treue, Der Turm mit sieben Pforten, show a clearness of plot and expression foreign to the Romantic style. His antagonism to the literature of his day became more and more pronounced, and he vented his indignation at the lack of art shown by the later Romanticists, the inanity of the lyricists, and the bad taste of the so-called fate tragedies (Schicksalstragödien), in the witty Aristophanic comedies Die verhängnißvolle Gabel (1826) and Der romantische Oedipus (1828).

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Related Songs

Composed Title Composer
Wehe, so willst Du mich wieder (Op. 32 no.5) Johannes Brahms