August von Platen-Hallermünde

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August Count von Platen-Hallermünde
Platen Autograph.jpg

August Graf von Platen-Hallermünde (born as Karl August Georg Maximilian Graf von Platen-Hallermund ) (born  October 24, 1796 in Ansbach , Ansbach-Bayreuth , †  December 5, 1835 in Syracuse , Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ) was a German poet. He is usually called August von Platen or August Graf von Platen , sometimes simply Graf Platen .


Platen's birthplace in Ansbach
August von Platen as a cadet
August Graf von Platen, 1827
Platen's handwriting (letter from Rome of December 2, 1826)

August von Platen comes from the Imperial Counts Platen-Hallermund family , an originally Rügen branch of the Counts of Platen , who had gained prestige and dignity in the Electorate of Braunschweig-Lüneburg . His father, Count Philipp August von Platen-Hallermund (* June 22, 1748, † June 8, 1831) was a lieutenant in the Hanoverian service when he met the Margrave Karl Alexander von Ansbach while visiting England . This brought him to Ansbach as head forester. There he married Friederike Luise von Reitzenstein (* March 8, 1751, † May 2, 1815), the daughter of the head stable master Ehrenreich von Reitzenstein. He had six children with her, but the couple divorced in 1792. In May 1795 he married Christiane Luise Eichler von Auritz (born November 19, 1765, † May 20, 1842), the daughter of the Prussian real privy councilor and Ansbacher Oberhofmarschall Eichler von Auritz. She was the mother of August and his younger brother, who was only three years old.


August von Platen spent most of his childhood in Ansbach; He lived temporarily with his parents in Schwabach for about a year . At the age of less than ten he became a pupil of the Munich Cadet House in 1806 . After four years he moved to the Royal Pagerie . Here he was particularly interested in foreign languages ​​and history and wrote his first verses.

In 1813 he volunteered for military service and entered in 1814 to the First Infantry - Regiment one. At this time he became aware of his homosexuality , which was of great importance for his later poetic work, but also at times expressed feelings for a young French woman, the daughter of an émigré. Patriotic verses were written at this stage. In 1814/1815 he took part in the French campaign against Napoleon . From 1814 he was preoccupied with suicidal thoughts that accompanied him throughout his life. For a while he thought of emigrating to America. During these years he also began to be interested in botany .

In spring 1818 he received a royal scholarship and was given a three-year leave of absence from military service to study law in Würzburg . He lived in Würzburg from April 4, 1818 to September 1, 1819, lived in today's Domstrasse 36 in the "Haus Zum güldenen Hirschen" above the "Apotheke zum Hirschen" and, in addition to the law, also dealt with philosophy, zoology and botany. In addition, he attended (with the intention of becoming a diplomat) lectures on the topics of the history of the Germans , international law with regard to foreign politics and ideal and natural philosophy . His passion for fellow student Eduard Schmidtlein (called "Adrast" by Platen) remained unanswered; he dedicated a number of poems to him, mainly sonnets .

In October 1819 he moved to the University of Erlangen , gave up his previous subject and devoted himself instead to poetry. During his studies he became a member of the Erlangen fraternity in the winter semester of 1819/20 . In his seven years in Erlangen, affection for fellow students alternated several times. This time is considered to be the most poetically fertile period in his life. He turned to the Persian language and literature and published Ghaseles in 1821 and New Ghaseles in 1823 (see Ghasel ). His first trip to Venice took place in the autumn of 1824. The sonnets from Venice were written there a year later . In 1825 he wrote his best-known poem Tristan about experiencing beauty, nearness to death and the eternal "pain of love". In 1825, he received military arrest in Nuremberg for exceeding his vacation leave.

In the summer of 1826, Platen received permission from the military authorities to study in Italy for two years. In 1827 Heinrich Heine published mocking verses by Karl Immermann , which Platen felt provoked. He then vilified Heine because of his Jewish origin. Heine retaliated by making Platen's homosexuality public. The mutual attacks, presented in literary ways, led to lifelong hostility between the poets (see Platen affair ). Platen did not return permanently from his Italian exile.

Platen expresses his feelings in the sonnet This spirit is eternally longing to express itself :

This spirit longs for a long time ,
And would like to strive for the future, always for the future:
I could never stick to a clod for long,
And if I had an Eden on each side.

My mind, moved by internal
strife , felt so much in this short life,
How easy it is to give up home,
Alone how difficult it is to find a second one.

But whoever hates the bad with all his soul
, it will also drive him away from his homeland,
If there it is worshiped by the people of the servants.

It is far wiser to renounce the fatherland Than to bear the yoke of blind mob hatred
among a childish race

In the following years he moved several times between Rome and Naples. He wrote poetry and lived a humble life. Among other things he made the acquaintance of Giacomo Leopardi ; A close relationship also developed with the Protestant theologian Gustav Gündel . Most of the time, however, he was lonely and dissatisfied. Except for two brief visits, he never saw his home again.

In 1835, Platen fled from cholera from Naples to Palermo and then on to Syracuse , where he wanted to spend the winter to study history. There he suffered an alcoholic colic which he considered to be a symptom of cholera and died at the age of 39, possibly from excessive medication. Marchese Landolina had him buried in the garden of his villa near Syracuse, as there were no Protestant cemeteries in Sicily.


Via Augusto von Platen, street sign in Syracuse

Since 1828 Platen was an extraordinary member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . The August Graf von Platen Literature Prize is a German literary prize that is awarded in his honor every two years.

His bust was placed in the Hall of Fame in Munich. The Platen grammar school in his hometown Ansbach is named after him. In Ansbach, Munich, Nuremberg, Würzburg, Erlangen, Frankfurt am Main, Brunn am Gebirge (Austria) and Syracuse (Sicily) streets are named after Platen. In Würzburg, a bust made by Otto Sonnleitner in 1949 is placed next to the front door of his former home (Domstrasse 36). In Erlangen, the still-preserved plate house on Burgberg and a memorial plaque on his house (Marktplatz 4) remind of him.


August Graf von Platen
Illustration for the play
The Glass Slipper (1823), in: Collected Works, Volume 3, 1853

See the full list of his works on Wikisource

Platen is especially important as a lyric poet, as a master of the sonnet and the ghazel .





  • Tristan , Lied (1825)
  • Stories of the Kingdom of Naples from 1414 to 1443 (1833) digitized
  • The Abbassids. A poem in nine songs (1829: The Abassids ... , here: 1834) full text at Wikisource
  • The diaries of Count August von Platen (1896/1900)
  • The diaries of Count August von Platen, 1796–1825. Digitized

Work editions

  • Max Koch, Erich Petzet (Ed.): August Graf v. Platen's complete works in 12 volumes. Historical-critical edition including the handwritten estate . Hesse, Leipzig around 1910.
  • GA Wolff, V. Schweizer (Ed.): Platen's works . Critically reviewed and explained edition. 2 volumes. Bibliographical Institute, Leipzig / Vienna undated
  • Collected works of Count August von Platen. In five volumes. JG Cotta'scher Verlag, Stuttgart and Tübingen 1854.
  • August von Platen: The fateful fork [1826]. The romantic Oedipus [1828]. Reprint of the first editions. With Karl Immermann's "The Cavalier tumbling around in the maze of metrics" . (= Reclams Universal Library. 118). Edited by Irmgard and Horst Denkler . Reclam, Stuttgart 1979
  • Kurt Wölfel , Jürgen Link (ed.): August von Platen. Works in two volumes. Volume I: Poetry . Winkler, Munich 1982 (Winkler Weltliteratur, Volume II not published).

New editions

  • Sonnets from Venice . Edited and with an afterword by Ulrich Klappstein. With 13 photographs by Hans-Joachim Polleichtner., Hannover 2012, ISBN 978-3-941513-26-6 .


On the biography and the complete works

On individual aspects

  • Robert Aldrich: The seduction of the Mediterranean. Writing, art and homosexual fantasy. Routledge, London / New York 1993, pp. 57-68.
  • Thomas Borgstedt: The call of the gondolier. Genre theory, form poetics and the sonnets of August von Platen. In: Steffen Martus, Stefan Scherer, Claudia Stockinger (eds.): Poetry in the 19th century. Genre poetics as a medium for reflection in culture. (= Publications of the magazine for German studies. Volume 11). Lang, Bern et al. 2005, ISBN 3-03910-608-2 , pp. 295-325.
  • Frank Busch: August Graf von Platen - Thomas Mann: Signs and feelings. (= Literature and Society. Volume 12). Fink, Munich 1987. (digitized version)
  • Ludwig Frey: From the soul life of Count Platen. In: Yearbook for Sexual Intermediate Levels . Volume I, 1899, pp. 159-214, and Volume VI, 1904, pp. 357-447.
  • Wilfried Heuss: Platen's dramatic work. (= Language and culture of the Germanic and Romance peoples. Series B, Germanistic series. Volume 17). Priebatsch, Breslau 1935.
  • Dirk Jürgens: Life as suffering. On the modernity of August von Platen's reflexive poetry, illustrated using the example of the “New Ghaselen” in: Immermann-Jahrbuch. Volume 6, 2005, pp. 97-118.
  • Jürgen Link: Artistic form and aesthetic sense in Platen's poetry. (= Bochum work on linguistics and literary studies. Volume 5). Fink, Munich 1971.
  • Gunnar Och (Ed.): "What he wishes, it never became for him". August Graf von Platen 1796–1835. An exhibition in the 200 year of the poet's birth. Catalog. University Library , Erlangen 1996, ISBN 3-930357-11-9 .
  • Gunnar Och, Klaus Kempf (ed.): August Graf von Platen in the horizon of his history of impact. A German-Italian colloquium. De Gruyter, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-11-026348-0 .
  • Andrea Polaschegg: Inessential forms? The Ghazel poems by August von Platen and Friedrich Rückert. Orientalizing poetry and hermeneutic poetics. In: Steffen Martus, Stefan Scherer, Claudia Stockinger (eds.): Poetry in the 19th century. Genre poetics as a medium for reflection in culture. (= Publications of the magazine for German studies. Volume 11). Lang, Bern et al. 2005, ISBN 3-03910-608-2 , pp. 271-294.
  • Wolfgang Popp : Platen's "Konradin". A literary historical material and its significance for the poet's concept of love. In: Forum Homosexuality and Literature. Volume 30, 1997, pp. 9-35.
  • Helmut Prang: August Graf von Platen-Hallermünde (1796-1835). In: Yearbook of the Historical Association for Middle Franconia. Volume 24, 1967/68, pp. 162-169.
  • Theodor Schultz: Platen's Venice experience. (= Germanic Studies. Volume 227). Ebering, Berlin 1940.
  • Muhammad Zouheir Sharaf: August von Platen and the Arab World. Basics and context of its reception of Arabic literature. (= Dissertation - Classic. Volume 716). Dissertation . Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-89825-616-2 .
  • Pino Di Silvestro: August von Platen. Morire a Siracusa. Sellerio, Palermo 1987.
  • Hans Lorenz Stoltenberg : Platen's odes and festival songs. Werk-Verlag, Erlangen 1929.
  • Hans-Joachim Teuchert: August Graf von Platen in Germany. To the reception of a controversial author. (= Treatises on art, music and literary studies. Volume 284). Bouvier, Bonn 1980, ISBN 3-416-01465-0 .
  • Kurt Wölfel: Platen's stigma. In: Andreas Gößling, Stefan Nienhaus (eds.): Critica poeticae. Readings on German literature. Hans Geulen on his 60th birthday. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1992, ISBN 3-88479-738-7 , pp. 187-204.
  • Walter Schmitz: rhetoric of nihilism. On August von Platen's Ghazel “It is a person's pain, nothing is a person's wound”. In: Günter Häntzschel (Ed.): From Biedermeier to Bourgeois Realism (= Poems and Interpretations , Volume 4, = RUB. 7893). 1st edition. Reclam, Stuttgart / Weimar 1983, ISBN 3-15-007893-8 , pp. 22-34.



Friedemann Holst-Solbach (2012): Expensive being. Composition for seven sonnets. - “Confessing Sonnets” - written in 1826, for alto and tenor solos and a small choir as well as for a chamber orchestra. (Piano reduction with CD: ISMN 9-790-500750147 ; score with CD: ISMN 9-790-500750130 ; individual parts : ISMN 9-790-500750154 )

Web links

Wikisource: August Graf von Platen  - Sources and full texts
Commons : August von Platen  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Daniela Hippeli: Love and Despair. August Graf von Platen. In: Kurt Illing (Ed.): In the footsteps of the poets in Würzburg. Self-published (print: Max Schimmel Verlag), Würzburg 1992, pp. 37–51.
  2. Ernst Höhne: The Bubenreuther. History of a German fraternity. II., Erlangen 1936, p. 53.
  3. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 541-544.
  4. ^ Daniela Hippeli (1992), p. 38.
  5. August Graf von Platen-Hallermünde - The homosexual's war of poets with the Jew Heine
  6. ^ Stefan Neuhaus, Johann Holzner: Literature as a scandal: cases - functions - consequences. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-525-20855-7 . (google.books)
  7. Freiburg Anthology , accessed on June 16, 2007.
  8. ^ Daniela Hippeli (1992), p. 38.
  9. ^ Member entry by August Graf von Platen-Hallermünde at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on March 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Daniela Hippeli (1992), p. 40.