The Complete Works of Nineteenth-Century German Poet and Soldier Theodor Körner
Theodor Körner. Theodor Körners sämmtliche
Werke. Im Auftrag der Mutter des Dichters
herausgegeben und mit einem Vorworte begleitet von Karl Streckfuss.
Dritte rechtmässige Gesammt-Ausbage in einem Bande. Mit dem
Bildnisse des Dichters und einem Facsimile seiner Handschrift.
Berlin: In der Nicolai'schen Buchhandlung, 1838. Third edition in
one volume (first published in 1834 in one volume, and in 1838 in
four volumes). Quarto (10.125 x 6.875 inches; 257 x 174 mm.). xx,
384 pages, including frontispiece and title. Engraved frontispiece
portrait of the author by Grüzmacher after a portrait by his sister
Emma Körner (1788-1815), with tissue guard. One leaf of facsimile
at the end. Title printed in black within a decorative border in
red and black against a red background of musical staves with
vignettes of butterflies in the corners and a lyre in the center in
blue. Text in double columns within a double rule border.
Contemporary half brown deerskin, decoratively tooled in blind, over brown marbled boards. Smooth spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt and ruled in blind in compartments. Edges sprinkled brown. Binding lightly rubbed; boards exposed at edges and corners; small areas of loss to top edge of both covers near joint. Some light foxing, primarily to the edges, endpapers, and first and last few leaves, including the frontispiece and title. A few faint stains or soiling. Slight browning and crease to upper tip of pages 241-264, and to upper corner of pages 269-384 and facsimile leaf at end; lower corner of pages 185-192 also creased. Tiny pinhole worming to the lower edge of the first twelve gatherings (through page 96). A very good copy. Previous owner's ink signature on front free endpaper: "L. Vicart / Heidelberg / 1838 [underlined]" and again at head of title: "L. Vicart." From the library of John Carroll Collins.
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German poet and soldier Theodor Körner (1791-1813) was born in Dresden, the only son of Christian Gottfried Körner, a friend and supporter of Friedrich Schiller. Körner grew up in a household frequented by writers and scientists. He studied philosophy in Berlin, where he attended the lectures of the famous philosophers Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Schleiermacher. In 1811, Körner went to Vienna, where he met Eichendorff, Beethoven, Weber, Moscheles, and Meyerbeer, and wrote a number of poems and plays. His first volume of poems had been published under the title of Knospen ("Buds," 1810). By 1812, the Vienna Burgtheater had produced three of his dramatic works: his light comedies, Die Braut ("The Bride," 1812) and Der grüne Domino ("The Green Domino," 1812) were very successful, and his most ambitious work, Zriny (1812), an historical tragedy glorifying love for the fatherland, made him famous throughout Germany. Shortly afterwards he was appointed house dramatist (Hoftheaterdichter) to the Burgtheater. In March 1813, Körner volunteered for the Lützow Free Corps in the German War of Liberation against Napoleon. He was commissioned in April, and in August was mortally wounded in a skirmish near Gadebusch in Macklenburg. His early death at the age of twenty-two made him a popular hero. Körner displayed personal courage in many battles, and encouraged his comrades with patriotic lyrics he composed, among these the "Schwertlied" ("Sword Song"), composed during a lull in fighting only a few hours before his death, and "Lützows wilde Jagd" ("Lützow's Wild Chase"), each set to music by both Carl Maria von Weber and Franz Schubert. After his death at the age of twenty-two, Körner's father collected the best of his patriotic poetry in Leyer und Schwert (1814, "Lyre and Sword"). His complete works were published under the direction of his mother, and edited by Karl Streckfuss (first published in one volume in Berlin in 1834, and in four volumes in 1838). See The Oxford Companion to German Literature and Peter Branscombe in Grove Music Online.
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