Schlegel, Friedrich Von(1772–1829)
Friedrich von Schlegel, a critic and philosopher, whose writings spearheaded early German Romanticism, started out as a devotee of Greek poetry. Born to an illustrious literary family in Hanover and classically trained, Schlegel was an unhappy and unfocused student of law at Göttingen and Leipzig from 1790 to 1793, all the while piling up enormous gambling debts. Fleeing creditors and abandoning his legal studies, he moved in 1794 to Dresden where, inspired by Caroline Böhmer, his future sister-in-law, he launched his literary career with essays extolling ancient poetry's superiority to modern poetry. In "On the Study of Greek Poetry" (completed 1795, published 1797), he echoes Johann Joachim Winckelmann by attributing the greater unity, objectivity, and naturalness of ancient works to the Greeks' single-minded pursuit of idealized beauty.
Philosophy, Criticism, and the Romantic Turn
Schlegel eventually wrote the History of the Poetry...