Ferdinand Raimund

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Ferdinand Raimund (lithograph by Joseph Kriehuber 1835)

Ferdinand Raimund actually Ferdinand Jakob Raimann (born June 1, 1790 in Vienna - Mariahilf , † September 5, 1836 in Pottenstein ) was an Austrian actor and playwright . Together with Johann Nestroy he was the main representative of the Alt-Wiener Volkstheater .


Memorial plaque on the house where Ferdinand Raimund was born, Mariahilfer Straße 45

Ferdinand Raimund was the son of the art turner named Jakob Raimann, born in Prague on July 11, 1745, who at the time married Katharina Merz (* approx. 1753), the daughter of his master, and took over the business. The father later opened his own workshop in Mariahilf 10 (today: Mariahilfer Straße 45, corner Windmühlgasse 14), where Raimund was born. Ferdinand Raimund's great-grandparents, Christian and Christine Raimann (the grandparents of his father Jakob), were tenants of the inn "Gasthaus zum Bären" on the Mariahilferberg near Gutenstein , in the place where Raimund later bought his house and was also buried.
Ferdinand Raimund was born on June 1, 1790 and was the 12th or 13th child of his parents. Nine siblings - including two sons of the same name - had already passed away. The future actor and playwright grew up with two older sisters. His sister Anna, who was almost twice his age, raised him after the parents' premature death. Despite modest financial circumstances, Ferdinand was sent to the prestigious St. Anna normal secondary school. After the death of his mother on March 26, 1802 from lung fire and his father on November 29, 1804, the fourteen-year-old Ferdinand had to drop out of school and from 1805 did an apprenticeship with the confectioner Jung in what was later to become the kuk Hofzuckerbäckerei (now the Demel confectionery ). As a “Numero” he offered his master's sweets at the National Theater (later the Burgtheater) during the breaks and made his first acquaintance with the theater. He was particularly impressed by the German mime Ferdinand Ochsenheimer (1767–1822), who made a guest appearance in Vienna from May 9th to May 26th, 1807 and whose style he copied down to the smallest detail for several years.

An early biographer of Raimund, D. F. Reiberstorfer, the editor of the paperback for the kk priv. Theater in the Leopoldstadt , wrote that the young theater enthusiast tried with all means to imitate every little detail of his role model, even the peculiar shape of the mouth:

"With fanatical persistence, Raimund stood in front of the mirror for hours every day, both middle fingers in his mouth, pulling and stretching the corners of his mouth in a truly horrific way."

In order to also be able to become an actor and because Jung was putting off the sale at the National Theater, he ran away from his apprenticeship. In the spring of 1808 he made unsuccessful attempts to be hired in Vienna. At the Meidlinger stage by director Kralitschek he was turned down due to a language error and soon after that in Pressburg, one day after his debut, he was fired. From 1809 to 1814 he toured western Hungary with various actors, including from April to October 1809 in Steinamanger with the Hain Society. Then he played in the Frasel Society and from April 1810 to April 1814 with Christoph Kunis in Ödenburg and Raab , where he liked the role of the schemer and the comic old man.

In 1814 he returned to Vienna, to the Theater in der Josefstadt , where he first appeared on April 13th. His artistic breakthrough came on March 28, 1815 in the play Die Musikanten am Hohen Markt by his later father-in-law Josef Alois Gleich , an old Viennese farce . The success he had as the jealous violinist Adam Kratzerl was overwhelming. The literary historian Otto Rommel wrote :

“You feel sorry for him and you have to laugh at him at the same time. This role became a success for Raimund, who decided about his life and his art. It was a comedy that only arises when comedy is self-expression and self-liberation at the same time, whether the performer knows it or not. "

From January 1816, in addition to his stage roles, he took on the duties of a director, sometimes even trying to enforce his demands for precise rehearsal work and faithfulness to the work with physical violence. On September 6, 1817, he ended his activity in Josefstadt.

From October 4, 1817, Raimund belonged to the ensemble of the Leopoldstädter Theater , where he had previously appeared in guest roles. His first stage appearance took place on October 11th, again in a play by Gleich, namely Herr von Weißvogel's widower . Here he not only played, among others together with his then very popular colleagues Ignaz Schuster and Friedrich Josef Korntheuer , but also directed. The audience reacted somewhat reserved, especially Schuster had many fanatical followers. It was here that Raimund began to write pieces for his benefit evenings himself and became more and more a sought-after playwright. During this time he became acquainted with Toni Wagner and his unhappy marriage with Luise Gleich (see chapter Raimund and the women ).

In the summer of 1826, Raimund fell into panic fear of rabies infection for the first time , which is why he hastily stopped a guest performance in Munich. He couldn't get rid of this phobia until his tragic end.

Raimund's grave in Gutenstein

From April 1828 on he was artistic director of the Leopoldstadt Theater, whose owner Rudolf Steinkeller appointed him, but subsequently caused him major problems by interfering with the staff. Schuster and Korntheuer, but also Katharina Ennöckl and Therese Krones , had left. In August 1830, frustrated, he resigned his post and switched to guest roles at the Theater an der Wien , in Munich and Hamburg.

His love affairs and his idea of ​​ideal love shaped his plays just as much as his hypochondria and the ambition to actually be born a "tragedian":

"I was born to be a tragedian, I miss nothing but the shape and the organ."

Despite his goal, the tragic character subject , he achieved his great success in comic character roles. Because of this, but also because of his hypochondria, he was repeatedly plagued by depression . He appeared less and less and in 1834 retired to his estate Pernitz (Raimundvilla), which he had acquired in September of that year. His friends were very worried about him, as Karl Ludwig Costenoble (1769–1837) wrote in his diary as early as 1832:

"He'll be great or he'll kill himself."

In 1835 he planned several new pieces, of which nothing has survived apart from the titles ( Der Wanderer, Eine Nacht auf dem Himalaja ). On May 1, 1836, he stood for the last time - as Valentin - during a guest performance in Hamburg with demonstrations of disapproval. This made it easy for him to say goodbye to the acting profession.

When Raimund was bitten by his dog - which he mistakenly believed to be rabies - on August 25, 1836 and his old fear of rabies reawakened, he tried his hand at his doctor on the night of August 29th to 30th on the trip to Vienna to see his doctor August 1836 with a bullet in the mouth, which hit him unhappy. Ferdinand Raimund died on September 5 at the age of 46 as a result of his gunshot wound in an inn in Pottenstein. He is buried in the Gutenstein mountain cemetery.

Raimund and the women

Affair with Therese Grünthal

One of his affairs, namely with the actress Therese Grünthal (* 1799), which Raimund began in spring 1818, ended in disaster. When the fun-loving Therese left him because of his " quick-tempered, coarse character " and turned to another admirer (probably the court secretary Schloisnegg), there was an argument with her on May 20 in the auditorium of the Theater in der Josefstadt and even violent acts by him offended Raimund. As a result, he had to be detained for three days for improper behavior. A further complicating factor in this sentence was that this connection was assessed as “immoral behavior” and some of his extremes had been reported by the censors. Therese Grünthal got away with a reprimand, Director Huber, who had accepted the affair, with a strict police warning. This affair became another problem for Raimund ten years later, as a police protocol on the occasion of his appointment as theater director in the Leopoldstadt initially questioned his suitability for it.

Marriage to Luise Gleich

From April 8, 1820, Raimund was married to the soubrette Luise (Louise) Gleich (* January 6, 1798, † August 6, 1855), a daughter of his colleague Josef Alois Gleich, a marriage to which he had been urged by the public. He had already met Toni Wagner (1799–1879) the year before and asked for her hand, but was turned down by her middle-class parents. Since he did not want to marry Luise, who cared for him during illness, despite a premarital relationship, he did not even appear on the original wedding date and had to publicly apologize in front of the audience. The marriage was then concluded on April 8, 1820, the daughter Amalie Reimann, commonly known as Raimund, born on October 7, died on January 10, 1821.

As a minor, Luise Gleich was “sold as a playmate ” to Aloys von Kaunitz-Rietberg , the grandson of Prince Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg , because of his sexual desire for children . It was not until 1822, when the "Kaunitz Affair" was discovered, that Raimund found out about it.

Since Luise repeatedly cheated on her husband, there were ugly scenes that were also reflected in the divorce act: In a police report, which is available in the file, it was recorded that on July 16, 1821 Raimund had his wife "in a truly inhuman way" allegedly mistreated. She moved back to her father, attempts to mediate failed, and after four and a half months of separation, Gleich "nomine of his underage daughter Luise" applied for a divorce. This took place on January 14th, 1822, Raimund denied none of Luise's allegations and gave her a maintenance contribution of 6 guilders per week  until the end of his life. This ex officio divorce prevented the poet from entering into a marriage again, since at that time in Austria the law of indissoluble marriage from a Catholic point of view applied.

A child Luise, born in Prague in 1823, was given as Raimund's son Jakob Karl, as well as a new birth in 1828 (a daughter) and again in Braunschweig in 1830 (also a daughter), but the three children were not considered to be Raimund's officially confirmed. Luise outlived her husband by twenty years and died of cholera in Vienna's Wiedener Hospital in 1855 . In an article in the illustrated Wiener Wochenschrift für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Mode , she accused Ferdinand Raimund in 1855 of being the “destroyer of her life” .

Living together with Antonie (Toni) Wagner

In April 1819 Raimund met the 19-year-old Toni Wagner (* December 30, 1799, † March 25, 1879), daughter of a coffee house owner, and fell in love with her. After a year, he asked for her hand, but was turned down by her proud parents. After his forced marriage to Luise Gleich, Raimund said goodbye to her in a solemn letter:

“Dear dear Antonie! [...] And yet - if it should be, it is so, I sacrifice the last remnants of my satisfaction to the circumstances of my honor, and my word given too quickly, and so I accept my dear Antonie from you for ever before the laws of the world Farewell, forgive someone who is guided by the evil forces of his fate, sprinkle the last flowers on the thorn path of his wandering through the awareness of your friendship and forgiveness. "

Toni nonetheless took up contact with Raimund again from June 1820, on June 1st she wrote him a letter of congratulations on his birthday. The two then started a relationship that Toni's parents were not allowed to know about. Her secret helper was Toni's sister Charlotte. On January 14th, 1822, Raimund's marriage was divorced, and on September 10th of this year he and Toni made an “eternal covenant of love and loyalty” in front of the Mariensäule in Neustift am Walde . This was supposed to be a “replacement” for the devout Toni instead of an impossible second marriage.

Both Toni's professional-friendly contacts with her father's coffee house guests and Raimund's work-related collaboration with fellow actors like Therese Krones were a constant source of jealousy for both of them. Only in 1825 did the relationship with Toni's parents relax and she was allowed to visit him in his apartment. In 1830 Toni Wagner's parents recognized this relationship and gave them an apartment in the house of their father's coffee house, where Raimund moved in in September. Since he earned very well thanks to his professional success, he was able to buy a house in Gutenstein on September 5, 1834 (for 4550 guilders), where he moved with Toni.

Toni accompanied him on his panicked trip to Vienna to see his doctor, and in Pottenstein she had to witness his suicide. Although Raimund wanted to care for his partner in his will, she died in 1879 - 33 years after him - impoverished in Naglergasse ( Vienna's inner city ).


Ferdinand Raimund monument in Vienna's new building , Weghuberpark
Ferdinand Raimund on the 50 Schilling banknote (1970)

In 1862 the Raimundgasse in Vienna's Leopoldstadt (2nd district) was named after the poet. In the Bulgariplatz district of Linz , a one-kilometer street was named after Raimund in 1897.

The Raimund Theater , named after him, was ceremoniously opened on November 28, 1893 with his magic game The Fettered Fantasy . The three busts of Raimund, Grillparzer and Nestroy have been placed in the colonnade under the front gable of the theater since 1989 .

In front of the Deutsches Volkstheater on June 1, 1898, in the presence of Archduke Otto of Austria, a Ferdinand Raimund monument made in marble by Franz Vogl (1861–1921) was unveiled. In this subject , Raimund sits relaxed in Biedermeier clothing on a garden bench , at which the fairy of the imagination , with dragonfly wings, a star on her forehead and a (now lost) wand in her right, looks down. Since 1938, the memorial has been to the side of the Volkstheater, which was rebuilt that year, on the corner of Neustiftgasse and Museumstrasse and is part of Weghuberpark .

On August 15, 1926 , a memorial plaque with a portrait medallion was unveiled at the house at Heiligenkreuzer Strasse 1 in Gaaden , where Raimund had completed the spendthrift on December 2, 1833 .

From 1970 Raimund's portrait was depicted on the 50 Schilling banknote .

In Gutenstein , Hauptstrasse 21, a Raimund memorial was opened on September 25, 1983. The Raimundspiele take place in the village every summer, at which a different play by Ferdinand Raimund is performed every season.

The Raimundstrasse housing estate in Frankfurt am Main is also named after the playwright.


Ferdinand Raimund as Cinderella in The Farmer as Millionaire (lithograph by Kriehuber after Moritz von Schwind )

From 1823 to 1834 Raimund wrote eight works for the stage, which, together with Nestroy's work, represent the literary climax of the old Viennese folk comedy. The traditions of baroque theater , impromptu play , the Viennese magic piece , the local farce , parody and bourgeois drama flowed into his work . The mixture of humor , melancholy and educational intention ensured him a wide success with the audience.


As happened again and again at the time, Raimund also had to struggle with unauthorized trading and such performances of his works.

On January 15, 1830, he wrote to the actor and theater director Ludwig Ferdinand Pauli (1793–1841):

“ My 'Girl from the Feenworld' was also given at the Schaubühne in Leipzig , which is also under your direction , without the book and music of this magic game having been obtained from me. I therefore kindly ask you to kindly inform me how the same was obtained without paying for it. "

On September 28 of the same year he wrote the following report to the Imperial and Royal Police Headquarters in Vienna:

"[...] once I found myself compelled to find the [owner] of the private business office of Mr. [Gab] riel Glaß / Singerstrasse № 901: / to be accused of unauthorized trading in my [works] by the highly commendable police [Ober] Direction [...] so nothing could be done for lack of evidence; after these have now been found, however, as the original letter from the grand duke Waimar'schen Hoftheater director , enclosed here , shows: so I ask the commendable police upper direction, graciously, Mr. Hear Gabriel Glaß: How did he get hold of my property and what rights does he have to reduce my income by illegally selling it? "

Proper inquiries, however, were the norm, as a letter dated January 31, 1833 to the above-mentioned Weimar Court Theater proves:

"[...] I have the honor to show you that I am going to the Grherzogl. Theater in Weimar can leave the book and score to the fettered imagination for the price of 12  Ducats . "

But his pieces were also very popular with many stage performers as benefit programs and Raimund was often asked for appropriate approval. On December 31, 1831 he wrote to the German actress and writer Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer :

"I am happy to leave Ms. von Birch the magic game I wrote Moisasur's Magic Curse for your benefit."


Web links

Commons : Ferdinand Raimund  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Ferdinand Raimund  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. for the family name there are the spellings Raimann, Reymann, Raymond and Raimund, the latter was retained by the poet
  2. Numero were called the salespeople in the theaters because they had a number on their jackets
  3. ^ Books.google.ch: paperback for the kk priv. Theater in the Leopoldstadt
  4. ^ Prince: Raimund's works. First part. P. VII.
  5. Raimund squeezed the "R", a mistake that he only got rid of years later
  6. Otto Rommel: The Alt-Wiener Volkskomödie, your story from the baroque world theater to the death of Nestroy . Anton Schroll, Vienna 1952, p. 895.
  7. ^ Prince: Raimund's works. First part. S. XII.
  8. ^ Prince: Raimund's works. First part. S. IX.
  9. Hadamowsky: Ferdinand Raimund, Volume I, pp. 7-14. (for the entire life section )
  10. ^ Kahl: Ferdinand Raimund , pp. 7-15. (for the entire life section )
  11. Hein / Meyer: Ferdinand Raimund, the theater maker at the Vienna. S, 11. (for the section Affair with Therese Grünthal )
  12. Hadamowsky: Ferdinand Raimund, Volume I, pp. 47-52. (for the section on marriage with Luise Gleich )
  13. ^ Letter from mid-April to Fraulein Antonie Wagner
  14. Hadamowsky: Ferdinand Raimund, Volume I, pp. 45-74. (for the entire section of cohabitation with Toni Wagner )
  15. ^ Raimundstrasse , Linz Culture. City of Linz
  16. Monuments of the Vienna Ringstrasse: Ferdinand Raimund, writer, 1790–1836. Vienna Tourist Guide, accessed on May 26, 2013 .
  17. The unveiling of the Raimund monument. In:  Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt, No. 12131/1898, June 2, 1898, p. 6 middle. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / nfp.
  18. Gaaden . In: Peter Aichinger-Rosenberger, Christian Benedik (contributions): Lower Austria south of the Danube . Band 1: A to L . Berger, Horn / Wien 2003, ISBN 3-85028-364-X , p. 473.
  19. ^ A Raimund celebration in Gaaden. In:  Wiener Zeitung , No. 188/1926, August 17, 1926, p. 4 center. (Online at ANNO ). Template: ANNO / Maintenance / wrz.
  20. Raimundmuseum ( Memento of the original from June 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.gutenstein.at
  21. ^ Raimundspiele
  22. ^ Text in Hadamowsky: Ferdinand Raimund , Volume I, pp. 75-77.
  23. Hadamowsky: Ferdinand Raimund, Volume II , pp. 496-514. (applies to the entire chapter)