Freiligrath, Ferdinand

Freiligrath, Ferdinand

(fĕr`dēnänt frī`lĭkhrät), 1810–76, German poet. In 1844 he expressed radically liberal sentiments in his collection of political verse Ein Glaubensbekenntnis [a confession of faith] (1844) and was forced to flee from Germany. He returned in 1848 but fled again after the publication of his Neuere politische und soziale Gedichte (1850). His best-known poem, "O lieb'," was set to music by Liszt and served as the motto of the composer's piano arrangement of the third Liebestraum.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Freiligrath, Ferdinand


Born June 17, 1810, in Detmold; died Mar. 18, 1876, in Cannstatt. German poet.

Freiligrath was a member of the Communist League from 1848 to 1852. His first poetry collection, Poems (1839), contained picturesque portrayals of the East; it also romantically contrasted prosaic everyday existence with the exotic life of Africa. The poem “From Spain” (1841), in which Freiligrath elevated the poet above the struggles of the parties, provoked a polemic in the German press and inspired G. Herwegh’s programmatic poem “The Party.” Freiligrath’s collection A Confession of Faith (1844) reflected a turning point in his world view. He soon abandoned his vague concepts of democracy and supported the views of K. Marx, with whom Freiligrath became acquainted while in emigration in 1845. Marx’ influence was reflected in some of the poems in the collection Ça ira! (1846).

During the Revolution of 1848–49, Freiligrath contributed to the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, whose editor in chief was Marx. On Oct. 12, 1848, Freiligrath became a member of the newspaper’s editorial board. Freiligrath’s lyrics written during this period constituted an inspired reflection of the spirit of struggle: they advocated a continuing intensification of the revolution and expressed profound faith in the future.

Freiligrath was in emigration in London from 1851 to 1868. Beginning with this period his work lost its revolutionary orientation and he occupied himself mainly with translation.


Werke. Weimar, 1962.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1956.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Ob iskusstve, vol. 2. Moscow, 1967. Pages 274–323.
Shiller, F. P. Ocherki po istorii nemetskoi revoliutsionnoi poezii XIX v. Moscow, 1933.
Nikolaeva, T. S. Poeziia nemetskoi revoliutsii 1848 g. [Saratov] 1961.
Leber, H. Freiligrath, Herwegh, Weerth. Leipzig, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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