Raimund, Ferdinand(fĕr`dēnänt rī`mo͝ont), 1790–1836, Austrian actor and dramatist. From 1817 he was a popular comedian in Vienna, and in 1823 he began to produce his own plays. Raimund wrote fine comedies of Viennese life, among them Der Bauer als Millionär [the peasant millionaire] (1826), Der Verschwender (1833, tr. The Spendthrift, 1949), and Der Alpenkönig und der Menschenfeind (1828, tr. The King of the Alps, 1850). Blending humor with pathos, these plays raised the Viennese folk comedy to a high literary level. Subject to depression, Raimund shot himself at a time when his public favor had temporarily ebbed.
See study by D. Prohaska (1973).
Born June 1, 1790, in Vienna; died Sept. 5, 1836, in Pottenstein, Lower Austria. Austrian actor and playwright.
Beginning in 1814, Raimund first worked in the Josefstadt-theater in Vienna, where he played the role of Franz Moor in Schiller’s The Robbers and then in the Leopoldstàdter Theater. His first play, staged in 1823, was The Barometer-maker on the Magic Island. His later plays, based on the Austrian folk theater, became well known, including The Girl From the Fairy World, or The Peasant Millionaire (1826), The King of the Alps, or the Enemy of Mankind (1828), and The Spendthrift (1834).
Raimund revived the romantic fairy-tale comedy and gave it a new form and social relevance. A humanist, he united in his works the comic and the serious, a life-affirming sense of humor and a melancholy sadness. In his poetic plays, fantasy alternated with reality, and dialogue was interspersed with musical couplets and arias. W. Müller composed the music for many of Raimund’s plays. Raimund performed character roles in a number of his own plays, including Bartholomäus in The Barometer-maker, Florian in The Diamond of the King of Spirits, Gluthahn in The Magic Spell of Moisasur, Rappelkopf in The King of The Alps, and Fortunatus Wurzel in The Girl From the Fairy World.
WORKSSämtliche Werke, vols. 1–6. Vienna [1925–34]
REFERENCESSieczynski, R. Altwiener Volkskomiker. Vienna, 1947.
Holzer, R. Die Wiener Vorstadtbühnen. Vienna, 1951.