Friedrich Rückert

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Friedrich Rückert, steel engraving by his "dear friend and engraver" Carl Barth based on a preliminary drawing from 1843
Signature Friedrich Rückert.JPG

Friedrich Johann Michael Rückert (born May 16, 1788 in Schweinfurt , † January 31, 1866 in Neuses ; pseudonym Freimund Raimar , Reimar or Reimer ) was a German poet , linguist and translator and one of the founders of German oriental studies . Rückert dealt with more than 40 languages ​​and is considered a linguistic genius. His friends included the poet August von Platen , the philosopher Friedrich von Schelling and the universal scholar Johann Wilhelm Andreas Pfaff . Rückert is the namesake of the Friedrich Rückert Prize and the Coburg Rückert Prize .

Friedrich Rückert's birthplace in Schweinfurt


1788 to 1818

Plaque at the birthplace of Friedrich Rückert

Friedrich Rückert's father Johann Adam Rückert (born January 3, 1763 in Schwarzbach ; † December 30, 1835 in Schweinfurt), a rent clerk , was transferred to Oberlauringen in Lower Franconia in 1792 . Rückert presented the impressions of his early youth there in poetic and humorous genre pictures in the cycle memories from the childhood years of a village administrator's son, created in 1829 .

After receiving his academic qualification at the Latin School in Schweinfurt , he began to study law at the University of Würzburg in 1805 . However, he soon turned, until 1809, exclusively to the study of philology and aesthetics . During this time he was also active in the Corps Franconia Würzburg . The family moved to Ebern in 1809 , where Rückert visited frequently over the next decade. Here he fell in love with Agnes Müller, the daughter of a judicial officer living nearby.

In 1810 he was accepted into the Masonic Lodge Karl zum Rautenkranz in Hildburghausen . When his lover suddenly died of complications from a hemorrhage, he dedicated the sonnet wreath to Agnes . Shortly afterwards, he fell in love with the landlord's daughter, Maria Elisabeth Geuss, who, however, did not return his love. The Amaryllis cycle was created out of this experience . After a brief employment as a lecturer in Jena in 1811 and a subsequent, also brief employment as a grammar school teacher in Hanau in 1812/13, Rückert withdrew from his official position for a while and settled as a private scholar in Würzburg . In the following years he often moved between Würzburg, Hildburghausen and his parents' house in Ebern.

Rückert first became popular with his armored sonnets , which he wrote against the Napoleonic occupation under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar . These sonnets in four sections were published in 1814 without specifying the publisher and place of printing.

Rückert 1818 (drawing by Franz Horny )

In 1815, at the suggestion of the minister, Rückert went from Wangenheim to Stuttgart . There he took over the editing of the poetic part of the Cotta'schen Morgenblatts for educated estates and had the wreath of time (1817) and Napoleon, a political comedy in two pieces (1816-1818) appear. He carried himself with the plan for a series of Hohenstaufen episodes , which he later dropped.

In the autumn of 1817 Rückert traveled to Italy , where he maintained contact for most of his time with German artists who were in Rome . Rückert had been friends with the draftsman and engraver Carl Barth since his stay in Italy . The saying "My dear friend and engraver" is a quote from Rückert. In October 1818 he went to Vienna, where he learned Persian from Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (1774-1856) .

1819 to 1866

Rückert's parents' home in Ebern
Rückert lived and died in Neuses , now part of Coburg
The Goldberghaus, Rückert's place of work near Neuses
Friedrich Rückert's grave in Neuses

Rückert returned to Ebern in February 1819. Until 1826 he lived as a private scholar mainly in Ebern and Coburg . During this time he dealt with partial translations of the Koran , the translation of the Hamasa of Abu Tammam (788-845) and the publication of his first large volume of poetry, Oestliche Rosen . The poems, composed with reference to the great Persian poet Hafiz , appeared in 1822 as Rückert 's answer to Goethe's West-Eastern Divan .

In 1821 he moved to Neuses near Coburg to the house of the archivist Fischer. On December 26, 1821, he married his daughter Luise Wiethaus-Fischer. The couple had ten children.

Rückert followed a call in 1826 as professor of oriental languages ​​and literatures at the University of Erlangen .

His Kindertodtenlieder , in which he laments the untimely death (winter 1833/1834) of his two favorite children , are shocking .

King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Of Prussia called him to Berlin in 1841 and awarded him the Prussian order Pour le Mérite for science and arts on May 31, 1842. He lived there with frequent interruptions until 1848, as he did not feel at home there. The king dismissed him and granted him half of his previous salary for the rest of his life. From 1848 he chose his retirement home in Neuses near Coburg, where he owned an estate. There he created a refuge on the nearby Goldberg.

In the decades before and after his appointment to Berlin, Rückert remained productive, as his house and annual songs testify. In 1846, after many years of preparatory work, Hamasa appeared .

Since 1846, in the two decades of his age, he wrote what he called the song diary , several thousand poems, mostly with an autobiographical background. Rückert himself published hardly any of these poems.

Friedrich Rückert's grave is located next to the village church of Neuses. Opera director Heinz Rückert (1904–1984) was a great-grandchildren .


Friedrich Rückert has been translating, teaching and linguistic studies in the following 44 languages.


Rückert was also a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences from 1832 and a foreign member from 1859 .


Monument in Coburg-Neuses
Rückert monument in Schweinfurt
Rückert fountain in the palace gardens of Erlangen


A large part of Rückert's extensive estate is in the Schweinfurt city archive. The University and State Library of Münster has been keeping a large part of the Orientalist estate since 1922. Other parts of the estate are spread over several locations, e.g. B. Berlin, Marbach, Weimar and Vienna.


Many of Rückert's poems have been set to music as songs. The setting of the Kindertotenlieder and the Fünf Rückertlieder by Gustav Mahler is well known . Robert Radecke set the poem from his youth to music as early as 1859 .

Other composers such as Franz Schubert , Robert Schumann , Clara Schumann , Johannes Brahms , Carl Loewe , Heinrich Kaspar Schmid , Richard Strauss and Felix Draeseke also set texts by Rückert to music. The composer Heinrich Kaspar Schmid set Op. 8 So I Walk in Thoughts for baritone and piano. In Liederspiel zur Lute, or also piano op.31, he set seven songs to music ( Guardian, late and early; In spring; The nodding mother; Love in the small; Decoy; All love; Autumn breath ). In 1993 Anne Clark set several of Rückert's poems to music (including I am lost in the world ) in her album The law is an Anagram of Wealth . The six songs after Friedrich Rückert op.284 by Klaus Miehling are from 2018 .


Portraits of Friedrich Rückert were made by Carl Barth (see picture above), Bertha Froriep (see picture below) and Carl August Hohnbaum (1825–1867), among others .


There are several public monuments of the poet at the places where he lived, e.g. B. in Coburg and Schweinfurt .

On October 28, 1869 , a Rückert monument was unveiled in the garden of Rückert's house in Neuses , later called Rückert Park: a larger than life bust made of Carrara marble , created by the court sculptor Ferdinand Müller from Meiningen , on a syenite base . The model for this bust was exhibited by the sculptor Carl Ernst Conrad from Hildburghausen in 1844 at the Berlin academy exhibition. The model later came into the possession of the Bavarian king .

In Schweinfurt, the poet's birthplace, a memorial was unveiled on October 18, 1890, depicting Rückert sitting in an armchair. Two female figures rest at his feet as allegories for Rückert's cycle of poems Armored Sonnets and The Wisdom of the Brahmin . Friedrich von Thiersch designed the architectural parts, the sculptor Wilhelm von Rümann designed the plastic parts. The bronze casting was carried out by the ore foundry Wilhelm Rupp in Munich .

On the Berlin Kreuzberg you can find a Herme Rückert that the Berlin sculptor Ferdinand Lepcke picked in 1899. The poet's head is turned a little to the right. He holds an open exercise book in his left hand and a quill in his right . At the foot of the pedestal is a putto playing a lyre .

The fountain monument in the Erlangen palace garden was erected in 1904 in compact Art Nouveau forms .

The Friedrich-Rückert-Poetikum in Oberlauringen , which has been open since May 2017, recalls his childhood spent there from 1793 to 1803 as the son of a village official.

Rückert as namesake

The city of Schweinfurt has been awarding the Friedrich Rückert Prize since 1965 . The city of Coburg has been awarding the Coburg Rückert Prize since 2008 .

In Berlin-Schöneberg the Rückert-Gymnasium bears his name, in Ebern and Düsseldorf there is a Friedrich-Rückert-Gymnasium each.

In many cities across Germany and beyond, streets were named after Rückert. B. two streets in Berlin-Charlottenburg and Berlin-Steglitz (the pond at Gustav-Mahler-Platz in Berlin-Steglitz not far from the Rückertstraße there is noted on the map as Rückertteich ). After 1892, the name of a four-kilometer-long street in Berlin-Köpenick was dedicated to the memory of Rückert ; since 1939 it has been called Wendenschloßstraße . In Bremen - Neustadt there is Rückertstraße with the listed ensemble of the Rückertstraße group of houses . There are other Rückertstrasse in Bayreuth , Düsseldorf , Cologne , Munich , Osnabrück , Stuttgart and Vienna, among others .


On the 150th anniversary of Rückert's death, in Rückert's birthplace Schweinfurt, under the title “Der Weltpoet. Rückertjahr 2016 “exhibitions and events.

Works (selection)

Friedrich Rückert, portrait by Bertha Froriep 1864
  • Armored sonnets [under the pseudonym Freimund Raimar ], 1814 [Heidelberg, Engelmann].
  • Wreath of Time , Stuttgart 1817.
  • Napoleon, a political comedy in two pieces , Stuttgart 1816–1818.
  • Oestliche Rosen , Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1822.
  • The metamorphoses of the Ebu Seid of Serûg or the Makâmen of Hariri, in free replica.
    • Part 1. Stuttgart and Tübingen: Johann Friedrich Cotta 1826.
    • 2nd, complete edition, 2 volumes, Stuttgart and Tübingen: Johann Friedrich Cotta 1837.
  • The wisdom of the brahmin. A didactic poem in fragments (digitized and full text in the German Text Archive : Volume 1, 1836 , Volume 2, 1837 , Volume 3, 1837 , Volume 4, 1838 , Volume 5, 1839 , Volume 6, 1839 )
  • Rostem and Suhrab. A heroic story in 12 books , Erlangen: Theodor Bläsing 1838.
  • Amrilkais, the poet and king, portrayed his life in his songs. Translated from the Arabic by F. Rückert. Cotta, Stuttgart / Tübingen 1843.
  • Hamâsa or the oldest Arabic folk songs , collected by Abu Temmâm , translated and explained by Friedrich Rückert, 2 vols., 1846.
  • Firdosi's Book of Kings ( Schahname ) / trans. by Friedrich Rückert. From the estate, ed. from EA Bayer
    • Sage I – XIII Berlin: Reimer, 1890 LII, 439 pp.
    • Sage XV – XIX Berlin: Reimer, 1894 X, 590 pp.
    • Say XX – XXVI. In addition to an appendix: Rostem and Suhrab in Nibelungen size. Alexander and the philosopher. Reimer, Berlin 1895, XI + 367 pp.
  • The Koran , translated by Friedrich Rückert, edited by Hartmut Bobzin, with explanatory notes by Wolfdietrich Fischer . Ergon, Würzburg 2000.
  • In the Evangelical Hymn book (No. 14) the Advent song Your King Comes is printed in low covers . The song was first published in 1834. The melody comes from Johannes Zahn .
  • Poems (selection):
  • Evening song (I stood on the mountain heap)
  • From the little tree that other leaves wanted
  • Chidher (Chidher, the forever young, spoke)
  • Herbstlieder 2 (heart, now so old and still not clever)
  • From the youth, from the youth
  • Come to me (you are calm, the peace is mild)
  • All complaints are not acceptable (from the children's songs )
  • Midnight (at midnight I woke up)
  • Do you love beauty , set to music by Gustav Mahler


In the 19th century several selected editions were published which, as reading editions, still have a certain importance. At the beginning of the 20th century, some of his translations were published from the estate. Rückert's works have been translated into 20 languages.

The historical-critical edition has been published in individual volumes since 1998 .

Work editions

  • Friedrich Rückert's works. Historical-critical edition. ›Schweinfurt Edition‹. Founded by Hans Wollschläger † and Rudolf Kreutner . Edited by Rudolf Kreutner, Claudia Wiener and Hartmut Bobzin . Wallstein, Göttingen 1998 ff .; So far 12 volumes in 15 individual volumes (as of September 2019, sorted according to the volume numbers that indicate the period of origin, possibly with the following serial number):
    • Zeitgeichte and other texts from the years 1813 to 1816. Edited by Claudia Wiener and Rudolf Kreutner, 2009 (= works 1813–1816.1 / 2).
    • Poems from Rome , 2000 (= works 1817–1818).
    • Children's death songs and other texts from 1834 . Edited by Hans Wollschläger and Rudolf Kreutner, 2007 (= works 1834).
    • The wisdom of the Brahmin , 1998 (= works 1835–1836.1 / 2).
    • Liedertagebuch I / II, 1846–1847 , 2001 (= works 1846–1847.1).
    • Hamâsa or the oldest Arabic folk songs, collected by Abu Temmâm, translated and explained by Friedrich Rückert. Edited by Wolfdietrich Fischer , 2004 (= works 1846–1847.2 / 3).
    • Liedertagebuch III / IV, 1848–1849 , 2002 (= works 1848–1849).
    • Liedertagebuch V / VI, 1850–1851 , 2003 (= works 1850–1851.1).
    • Saadi's bostan. Translated from Persian by Friedrich Rückert. Edited by Jörn Steinberg , Jalal Rostami Gooran , Annemarie Schimmel and Peter-Arnold Mumm , 2013 (= works 1850–1851.2).
    • Liedertagebuch VII – IX, 1852–1854 , 2007 (= works 1852–1854.1).
    • Liedertagebuch X, 1855 , 2015 (= works 1855.1).
    • Liedertagebuch XI, 1856 , 2019 (= works 1856.1).
  • Conrad Beyer (Ed.): Friedrich Rückert's Epic Poems. Max Hesse, Leipzig [around 1900].

Single issues

  • Hartmut Bobzin (Ed.): The Koran in the translation by Friedrich Rückert. 4th edition, Würzburg 2001.
  • Hans Wollschläger (Ed.): Kindertodtenlieder. (1993 also as Insel Taschenbuch 1545)


  • Yearbook of the Rückert Society . Volume 17 (2006/2007) was last published in 2008 (as of 2008).
  • Rückert, 1) Friedrich . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 14, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, pp. 6–7.
  • Mahmoud Al-Ali: Rückert's patriotic poetry. An examination of the "Armored Sonnets" . In: Kairoer Germanistische Studien , 14, 2004, pp. 45–63.
  • Hartmut Bobzin : Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866) and the Turkish language and literature. In: Klaus Kreiser (Ed.): Germano-Turcica. On the history of learning Turkish in the German-speaking countries , Bamberg University Library, Bamberg 1987, ISBN 3-923507-06-2 , pp. 69–78.
  • Robert BoxbergerRückert, Friedrich . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 29, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1889, pp. 445-453.
  • Ralf Georg Czapla : "... to continue writing your life." Friedrich Rückert's "Kindertodtenlieder" in the context of literary and cultural history (= Rückert studies. Vol. 21). Ergon-Verlag, Würzburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-95650-123-4 .
  • Richard Dove: Rückert, (Johann Michael) Friedrich . In: Walther Killy (Ed.): Literature Lexicon . Volume 10. Bertelsmann, Gütersloh / Munich 1991, pp. 59-61.
  • Albert Duncker: F. Rückert as a professor at the high school in Hanau. An episode from the poet's wandering years . 2nd edition Wiesbaden 1880.
  • Jürgen Erdmann (Ed.): 200 years of Friedrich Rückert. Exhibition catalog . Coburg 1988.
  • Wolfdietrich Fischer, Rainer Gömmel (ed.): Friedrich Rückert. Poet and linguist in Erlangen. Degener, Neustadt / Aisch 1990, ISBN 3-7686-9105-5
  • Bernd-Ingo Friedrich : Incidental to the perception of China in the literature of the Biedermeier period . EAST ASIA Publishing House. Gossenberg 2016. (Yellow Earth series 12.) ISBN 978-3-946114-35-2 . (See especially pp. 34–45.)
  • Johannes Koder: Friedrich Rückert and Byzantium. The cycle of poems "Hellenis" and its Byzantine sources . In: Rückert studies IV , Schweinfurt 1982, 1–117.
  • Rudolf Kreutner: Friedrich Rückert letters. New finds and supplements 1996–2005 . In: Yearbook of the Rückert Society. 16, 2004/2005, p. 65 ff.
  • Rudolf Kreutner:  Rückert, Johann Michael Friedrich. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , pp. 208-210 ( digitized version ).
  • Hermann Leupold: Friedrich Rückert. A commemorative sheet for the 200th birthday of the poet and scholar on May 16, 1988. In: Einst und Jetzt . Vol. 33, 1988, pp. 105-132.
  • Eckhard Meise : Friedrich Rückert in Hanau . In: New Magazine for Hanau History 2016, pp. 128–139.
  • Ingo Müller: Poetry and music in the field of tension between mediation and immediacy. Gustav Mahler's “Five songs based on texts by Friedrich Rückert” . In: Gustav Mahler: Lieder (= Music Concepts New Series, edited by Ulrich Tadday , H. 136), Munich 2007, pp. 51–76.
  • Reuter: F. Rückert in Erlangen. Hamburg 1888.
  • Conrad, Carl Ernst . In: Ulrich Thieme (Hrsg.): General Lexicon of Fine Artists from Antiquity to the Present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 7 : Cioffi – Cousyns . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1912, p. 309 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ). - (The model of a bust of the poet is mentioned there).
  • Max-Rainer Uhrig (Ed.): Disturbed Idylle. Comparative interpretations of the poetry of Friedrich Rückert. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag 1995.
  • Max-Rainer Uhrig : On a winding path: Friedrich Rückert and Russia . Ergon-Verlag, Würzburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-95650-600-0 .

Web links

Wikisource: Friedrich Rückert  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Friedrich Rückert  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual works

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Annemarie Schimmel : Friedrich Rückert. Life picture and introduction to his work. Wallstein Verlag, 2015, section The work of the learned poet . Schimmel approvingly quotes Theodor Benfey's assessment that Rückert could be "described as a great but highly peculiar linguistic genius".
  2. City Museum Erlangen: The Weltpoet. Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866): poet, orientalist, critic of the times. Brochure for the exhibition from July 24th to December 26th, 2016.
  3. ^ Kösener corps lists 1910, 202 , 26.
  4. ^ Deutsche Welle : Scholli and his friends.
  5. Orden Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts. Volume I: The members of the Order of 1842-1881. Gebr. Mann-Verlag, Limburg, p. 86.
  6. Rudolph Genée: Times and People - Experiences and Opinions. Mittler and Son, Berlin 1897, p. 175.
  7. See the editorial report by Kreutner / Wollschläger in: Liedertagebuch I / II, 2001, p. 375 ff.
  8. Jürgen Erdmann (Ed.): 200 years of Friedrich Rückert. Catalog of the exhibition, Coburg 1988. p. 22.
  10. ^ The Rückert Collection in the Schweinfurt City Archives
  11. The Friedrich-Rückert-Autographs in the city archive Schweinfurt Harald Fischer Verlag
  12. ^ The oriental estate of Friedrich Rückert
  13. Rückert's estate in libraries and archives
  14. ^ Settings of Rückert's poems at
  15. Karin Vorderstemann: From the youth. In: Popular and Traditional Songs. Historical-critical song dictionary. 2009.
  16. Erich Schneider: ... like a barn owl. In: Yearbook of the Rückert Society. Volume 14 (published 2002, 2003), p. 7 ff.
  17. Information on the monuments from the Central Monument Register of the Prussian Monument Institute e. V.
  18. ^ Rolf Selbmann: Friedrich Rückert and his monument. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 1989, p. 34.
  19. The figures are identified by inscriptions on the monument itself.
  20. Friedrich Rückert Poetikum
  21. Rückertstrasse . In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein
  23. Rückert put nearly 25,000 poems on paper.
  24. The above eight poems are from: Echtermeyer , Deutsche Gedichte. From the beginning to the present . Redesigned by Benno von Wiese , August Bagel Verlag, Düsseldorf 1960 (491th – 525th thousand), without ISBN