Wilhelm Muller

Wilhelm Muller

Original Name Müller
Birth
Dessau, Stadtkreis Dessau-Roßlau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
Death 1 Oct 1827 (aged 32)
Dessau, Stadtkreis Dessau-Roßlau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
Burial Dessau, Stadtkreis Dessau-Roßlau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
Memorial ID 41245690 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Poet. His finest verse infused folk-like settings and simplicity with a romantic spirit. Müller's lyric cycles "Die schöne Müllerin" ("The Lovely Mill Girl", 1820) and "Die Winterreise" ("Winter Journey", 1823) were made famous by Franz Schubert's musical settings. Johann Ludwig Wilhelm Müller was born in Dessau, Germany, the son of a tailor. His classical studies in Berlin were interrupted by a year's military service in the Napoleonic Wars, notably in the Battle of Lützen (1813). From 1817 to 1819 he traveled to Greece, Egypt, and the Middle East as part of a scholarly expedition sponsored by the Berlin Academy, which he eventually abandoned to explore Italy on his own. This cost him his post at the Academy and he returned home to work as a schoolteacher. Dessau's Duke Leopold Friedrich appointed him head of the Ducal Library in 1820, the year his first solo poetry collection, "Rome, Roman Men and Women", appeared. Müller's most important book, "Poems from the Posthumously Left Papers of a Travelling French Horn Player" (1821), brought him immediate fame. Its expanded 1824 edition contained "Die schöne Müllerin" and "Die Winterreise", previously published in journals, and these neatly reveal his development as an author. Both cycles deal with love and its loss, but while "Die schöne Müllerin" is a colorful and straightforward folk narrative, "Die Winterreise" is stark, psychological, and impressionistic. In his three-volume series "Songs of the Greeks" (1821 to 1824) Müller expressed a passionate sympathy for Greece's War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, a cause that attracted many European poets of the time. His other works include "Modern Greek Folk Songs" (1825), "Missolunghi" (1826), "Lyrical Travels and Epigrammatic Walks" (1827), and a German translation of Christopher Marlowe's "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" (1819). He died of a heart attack one week before his 33rd birthday. Müller was greatly admired by his colleagues in Germany and Austria. Heinrich Heine wrote to him, "I am idle enough to believe that my name will, when we live no longer, be mentioned together with yours". Posterity has been less kind, consigning him to minor status, and he is chiefly remembered by art song enthusiasts through Schubert's groundbreaking adaptations of "Die schöne Müllerin" and "Die Winterreise" for voice and piano (1824, 1827). These were the first true song cycles in the modern sense and remain pinnacles of the German Lied. It is lamentable that Müller, who was Schubert's contemporary and loved having his poetry set to music, never knew of these masterpieces that have helped keep his name alive. His son Max Müller and grandson Wilhelm Max Müller were distinguished scholars in the fields of comparative religion and Eastern studies.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


Family Members

Children

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Wilhelm Muller?

Current rating:

25 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 28 Aug 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 41245690
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Wilhelm Muller (7 Oct 1794–1 Oct 1827), Find A Grave Memorial no. 41245690, citing Historischer Friedhof I, Dessau, Stadtkreis Dessau-Roßlau, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .