Franz Alexander von Kleist

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Franz Alexander von Kleist

Franz Alexander von Kleist (born December 24, 1769 in Potsdam , † August 8, 1797 in Ringenwalde ) was a German poet of the late 18th century.


Franz Alexander was a member of the Pomeranian noble family von Kleist . He was a son of the Prussian general of the infantry Franz Kasimir von Kleist (1736-1808) and his wife Caroline Luise Eleonore Johanne, née von Kleist (1747-1780) from the house of Zützen. Friedrich Ludwig Heinrich von Kleist was his younger brother.


In 1784 Kleist joined the Infantry Regiment of the Duke of Brunswick a. Since his regiment was in Halberstadt , he came into close contact with Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim , who, due to his earlier friendship with the “spring poet” Ewald Christian von Kleist, who died in 1759, felt special sympathy for Franz Alexander. Kleist is assigned to the Halberstadt Poet School and several texts were written there. Even after he had left Halberstadt, Kleist was in correspondence with Gleim until his untimely death. He took part in the campaign of 1789, then left the army and went to Berlin. Under Minister Ewald Friedrich von Hertzberg , he became a legation counselor in 1791, married Albertine von Jungk (1774–1855) in January 1792 and left civil service the following year.

Kleist was a member of the Halberstadt Literary Society, which existed from 1785 to 1810 .

After he had bought and then sold the estate of his late father-in-law, Falkenhagen near Frankfurt (Oder) , he settled in Ringenwalde near Neudamm in Neumark and died, anticipating his early death, at the age of not even 28 Years. His widow married the then captain Ferdinand Heinrich Thomas von Waldow (1765–1830) from Dannenwalde in 1800 .

Kleist published a lot in his short lifetime. His ballad Nicolas der Taucher deals with the same motif as Friedrich von Schiller's Ballade vom Taucher and forms one of the text templates for the Sicilian-German ballad Legende vom Colapesce by the Sicilian folk music group Kàlamos. During his lifetime and immediately after his death he was read a lot, then almost forgotten. The literary legacy of Franz Alexander von Kleist is also cultivated in the Kleist Museum in Frankfurt (Oder). In Gleimhaus Halberstadt this correspondence is with Gleim.

Albertine and Franz von Kleist (1792)


He and his wife Albertine von Jungk (1774–1854) had the following children:

  • Ferdinand († young)
  • Karl († young)
  • Adelaide (1794–1854) ∞ Ludwig von Wurmb (1788–1855), Prussian major general


  • High prospects of love. Berlin 1789.
  • Fantasies on a trip to Prague. Dresden u. Leipzig 1792. (Newly edited by Anke Tanzer, Heilbronn, 1996)
  • Nicolaus the Diver. in: German monthly magazine. Berlin, 1792, Volume 3, pp. 53ff. ( Digitized version )
  • Sappho. A dramatic poem. Berlin 1793 ( digitized version )
  • The happiness of love. Berlin 1793 ( digitized version )
  • Zamori and Midora, or the philosophy of love. In ten chants. Berlin 1793.
  • The happiness of marriage. Berlin 1796.
  • Mixed fonts. Berlin 1797 ( digitized version )
  • Love and marriage. In three chants. Berlin 1799.
  • Works. Hamm 2016. ( digitized version )


  • Anke Tanzer: My dear second Kleist. Franz Alexander von Kleist (1769–1797). Life and work; with a comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary literature and a critical description of the autographs. Igel-Verlag, Oldenburg 1998, ISBN 3896210874 .
  • Paul Ackermann: Franz von Kleist. A literary excavation. With three illustrations. Reprint from the "Bär", a weekly for the history of Berlin and the Mark. Conrads, Berlin 1892.
  • Julius Schwering: Franz von Kleist. A literary excavation. Schöningh, Paderborn 1892.
  • FB:  Kleist, Franz Alexander von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 16, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1882, p. 121 f.
  • Karl Heinrich Jördens: Lexicon of German poets and prose writers. Volume 6, p. 393, digitized
  • Hans-Jürgen Rehfeld: Franz Alexander von Kleist in Falkenhagen and Ringenwalde. Frankfurter Buntbücher 53, Kleist Museum, Frankfurt (Oder) 2013.

Web links

Wikisource: Franz Alexander von Kleist  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Albertine von Jungk biography ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive )