Joseph Victor von Scheffel

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Joseph Victor von Scheffel ( Anton von Werner , 1867)Signature Joseph Victor von Scheffel.JPG

Joseph Victor Scheffel , von Scheffel from 1876 , (born February 16, 1826 in Karlsruhe ; † April 9, 1886, ibid) was a German writer and poet who was widely read in the 19th century. He wrote stories, verses and popular song texts. He was the indirect creator of the term Biedermeier .

life and work

Scheffel as a student, around 1844/1845
Scheffel badge on Hohentwiel
Coat of arms v. Bushels
Gravestone in the main cemetery in Karlsruhe

Joseph Victor Scheffel grew up as the oldest of three siblings in Karlsruhe. His father, Philipp Jakob Scheffel, was an engineer and major in Baden. As a member of the Rhine Regulation Commission, he worked under Johann Gottfried Tulla on the project to straighten the Rhine . His mother Josephine Scheffel painted and wrote poetry and dramas; she ran one of the first salons in Karlsruhe.

At the request of his father, he studied law from 1843 to 1847 at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , the Ruprecht Karls University of Heidelberg and the Friedrich Wilhelms University of Berlin . He also took Germanic philology and literature. In Heidelberg he was first a member of the Allemannia I fraternity (1844/1845), then the Teutonia fraternity (1845) and finally the Frankonia II fraternity (1846/1847), which dissolved in the summer of 1849. In Berlin he was active in the old Berlin fraternity . On February 28, 1856 the fraternity of Teutonia zu Jena awarded him honorary membership through the mediation of his friend Karl Friedrich Schwanitz , whom he knew from his time in Heidelberg in Allemannia I 1844/1845. Schwanitz co-founded Teutonia Jena in February 1845. In 1872 Scheffel became an honorary member of the Leipzig University Choir at St. Pauli (today in Mainz).

In 1848, Scheffel followed Carl Theodor Welcker, the Baden Bundestag envoy to the Frankfurt National Assembly, as unpaid legation secretary . He also accompanied him on a political mission to the Duchy of Lauenburg, which was then ruled in personal union with Denmark . After his return, Scheffel passed the state examination in law in Heidelberg, where he received his doctorate in law in 1849. Subsequently he worked in several grand ducal offices, from 1850 to 1851 as a legal intern in Säckingen , and in 1852 in the secretariat of the court in Bruchsal . After a trip through Italy he was appointed as a trainee lawyer, but then gave up his legal career in order to apply for the vacant position as a lecturer in German literature at the University of Zurich in 1854 . Since his plan failed, he went to Heidelberg.

The financial circumstances of his family allowed Scheffel to pursue his artistic inclinations. In order to try out his talent as a landscape painter, he traveled to Rome in May 1852 with the painter Julius Zielke . There he realized that his talent was more poetry than painting.

Scheffel was in love with his cousin Emma Koch-Heim (1835-1910). This infatuation inspired him in Capri to write his first work Der Trompeter von Säkkingen "a song from the Upper Rhine" (Stuttgart 1854). After Offenburg swept back bushel held in vain on to Emma's hand. Scheffel remained affectionate to his cousin all his life and also woven them into his novels Ekkehard (Frankfurt 1855), which is based on the life story of the St. Gallen monk Ekkehard II , and Frau Aventiure, songs from Heinrich von Ofterdingen's time (1863) .

Both the verse novella and the novel, a story from the 10th century, show Scheffel as a fresh and humorous poet, who, thanks to his inner intuition and precise historical studies, can vividly depict different times and conditions.

In Der Trompeter von Säkkingen , Scheffel also processes his participation in the revolution of 1848/49: Scheffel describes a scene in which the protagonist Anton von Werner notices that his lover was playing on his trumpet: “Angrily, already raised his hand, / But as if touched by the lightning bolt / She sinks down on his hip, / And the punch remained, as did / German unity and many other things / Just a beautifully conceived project. ”As a typical representative of Biedermeier, von Scheffel connects his Demand for national unity in Germany does not come with demand for social reforms. Von Scheffel humorously depicts the right of the stronger in a fight between two crabs as a natural law: "Because the big one eats the little one, / and the biggest one eats the big one, / So in nature / simply the social question." Scheffel's rejection more social Reforms also emerge from his negative description of the farmers who besiege Säckingen in protest against an increase in taxes. Scheffel describes how the attacking peasant heaps flee apart under the shots of the defenders "Like crows [...]". The tomcat Hiddigeigei of Baron von Säckingen has Scheffel comment on the rush of peasants as follows: "But I hate these farmers / hate the smell of the cowshed / whose victory of European / education would ruin its atmosphere / completely."

After the poet spent a time in Munich and from 1858 to 1859 as the librarian of Karl Egon III. zu Fürstenberg had lived in Donaueschingen , he settled permanently in his native Karlsruhe.

Scheffel visited Thun for the first time in 1863 . Later he met Karl Klose (1818–1907), who lived in Thun, who was captain in the general staff and father of Friedrich Klose . A friendship developed between them and a lively correspondence that lasted until Scheffel's death.

In 1864 Scheffel married Caroline Freiin von Malsen, daughter of the Bavarian ambassador at the court in Baden. The marriage wasn't happy. When the only child Victor was born in 1867, the parents no longer lived together. Reconciliation only came about in 1886, at Scheffel's death camp. In 1869 Scheffel kidnapped his son from a playground near Caroline's apartment in Munich. The son grew up with his father in Karlsruhe and later pursued a military career.

Among Scheffel's later productions, the humorous songs and ballads that were collected in Gaudeamus (Stuttgart 1867) met with extraordinary acclaim because of their witty freshness and their bold student tone. With his mocking poem Guano , for example, he joined the criticism of Hegel that was widespread among the educated at the time. In the song he describes the formation of bird droppings ( guano ) on an ocean island and finally lets a Böblingen reps farmer say:

God bless you, you excellent birds,
On the distant Guano coast, -
Despite my compatriot, the Hegel,
you create the most solid dung!

In Mrs. Aventiure. Songs from Heinrich von Ofterdingen's time (Stuttgart 1863) and the story Juniperus. The story of a crusader (Stuttgart 1868) shows traces of Scheffel's erudition. The novella Juniperus. The story of a crusader originated in his time in Donaueschingen and the Juniperus spring named after her in Allmendshofen, a district of Donaueschingen, is a reminder of this.

Both poems were, as it were, fragments of a planned great historical novel, which was supposed to describe the origin of the Nibelungenlied and the war of singers at the Wartburg, but remained unexecuted. Scheffel's last productions are the mountain psalms (Stuttgart 1870), the lyrical festival Der Brautwillkomm auf Wartburg (Weimar 1873), forest loneliness , poetry to twelve scenic atmospheric pictures by Julius Mařák (Stuttgart 1880), Der Heini von Steier , poetry (Munich 1883), and Hugideo. An old story (Stuttgart 1884).

On January 31, 1870 he was a founding member of the Karlsruhe section of the German Alpine Club .

On the occasion of his 50th birthday, Scheffel was raised to the hereditary nobility of Baden by Friedrich I (Baden, Grand Duke) . At that time Scheffel was already the Saxon court councilor and landowner on Seehalde and Mettnau near Radolfzell . Scheffel received honorary citizenship of Säckingen (1875), Radolfzell (1876) and Heidelberg (1886) while he was still alive.

After Scheffel had spent the last years of his life in his villa near Radolfzell on Lake Constance , handicapped by a progressive brain disease, he died in Karlsruhe on April 9, 1886. His remains are buried in the main cemetery in Karlsruhe . After his death: Five poems (Stuttgart 1887), travel pictures (edited by Johannes Proelß , Stuttgart 1887) and poems (Stuttgart 1888).

A number of Scheffel's works were illustrated by Anton von Werner . In his ballads he confronted heroes of the past with banal everyday problems. Scheffel's poem about the Aggstein castle ruins in the Lower Austrian Wachau is a special case of notoriety . With the illustrated ending:

name KISELAK is emblazoned on the highest Zack gable

von Scheffel set a literary monument to Joseph Kyselak from Vienna .

Scheffel and the German national feeling

Trapezoidal display board at Stein 16 am Rennsteig near Oberhof ( Thuringian Forest ) with excerpts from Scheffel's poem Der Rennsteig
The Scheffel monument erected in 1929 on the slope of the Staffelberg with the 4th stanza of the Frankenlied .

Scheffel was a widely read author at the time of Wilhelminism . In his works he combined the two basic currents of the zeitgeist of the time , civic eagerness to educate and national enthusiasm. His historical epics and stories have probably made a not insignificant contribution to the self-image of the Germans, which has emerged since the Bismarckian period, as an old Frankish honest, unaffectedly reliable and seriously ambitious nation .

The great response that Scheffel found among the contemporary readership of the "better classes" may be due to the fact that his portrayal of the German character and German loyalty constantly relies on classic educational goods, some of which are awkwardly spread out, but mostly only mentioned in allusions. The contemporary readership educated in the humanistic grammar school had a double pleasure. On the one hand, she could see her educational efforts rewarded by a sophisticated entertainment literature. On the other hand, Scheffel's work offered a welcome compensation for the school days, which were often only completed with moderate success and perceived as excruciating, because although it required the educational knowledge built in there, it ultimately disqualified German simplicity and loyalty compared to the ideals presented as being of higher value.

The juxtaposition of the German national character with the representatives of classical European intellectual culture, which was always to the disadvantage of the latter, is most pronounced in the trumpeter von Säckingen . This verse epic was so popular during Scheffel's lifetime that bronze figures of the trumpeter adorned numerous bourgeois dining rooms. An often-quoted poem from the trumpeter von Säckingen makes the content of the German national feeling propagated by Scheffel and its origin in the mentality of Wilhelmine schools clear:

Roman law , I remember you, It
lies like nightmare on my heart, It
lies like a millstone in my stomach,
Is my head as if board-nailed!
Are we damned forever
to gnaw on the Great Bone which the Romans threw us
as waste of their meal
proper flowers sprout from the German soil ,
fragrant forest, simple, no lush
creeping vegetation of the south?
Sad lot of the epigones!
Have to sit, have to sweat, pull
the strings back and forth,
a tangled tangled tangle of wilderness,
Is there no sword and other solution?

Here one can hear a conscious turning away from the Germans from European intellectual history. Scheffel also played a key role in preparing and representing the disgrace and justification of intellectual refusal with nationally exaggerating motives (German earth, German forest, Germanic heritage). So he has the trumpeter von Säckingen say elsewhere:

Man must be very sharp-edged,
his position in life must
already be in his blood as an
inheritance of earlier generations

Scheffel's student songs ( Old Heidelberg, you fine ; Wohlauf, the air is fresh and pure ; When the Romans got cheeky ), which have entered the Kommers books, have helped shape the image of the fun-loving and humorous poet Scheffel. In fact, his life was marked by disappointments (the failure of the German Revolution of 1848 and his unsuccessful recruitment for Emma Heim in 1851), isolation and resignation.

Scheffel's Frankenlied (“Wohlauf, the air is fresh and pure”) is omnipresent beyond the Main and Danube.

At the opening of the Franz Joseph University in Chernivtsi (1875), his new song, Amazed, the Prut raises its head in the reeds was heard .


Posthumous appreciations

The classical philologist and writer Joseph Stöckle (1844-1893) founded the Scheffelbund in Germany in Schwetzingen in 1891 , of which he was chairman until his death. The Scheffelbund still exists today as the largest literary association in Germany in Karlsruhe . Every year he awards the Bushel Prize . In Karlsruhe, the Museum for Literature on the Upper Rhine maintains a bushel room in which exhibits on life and work are shown. The Scheffelbund keeps the poet's estate in its Scheffel archive, part of the estate is now in the Baden State Library .


Scheffel Monument at Scheffelplatz in Karlsruhe . Created in 1892 by Hermann Volz
Monument in the Heidelberg Castle Garden on the Scheffel Terrace. Donated on June 26, 1976 on the 90th anniversary of J. V. v. Scheffel from the Frankonia fraternity in Heidelberg.

Scheffel monuments can be found on the Scheffelplatz in Karlsruhe, in Bad Säckingen , in front of the Scheffelschlösschen on the Mettnau peninsula near Radolfzell, on the Dreiherrnstein between Ruhla and Brotterode on the Thuringian Rennsteig and in Ilmenau . There is also a statue in Gößweinstein opposite the Scheffel-Gasthof.


Streets are named after Scheffel in numerous cities and towns in German-speaking countries, including Karlsruhe, Berlin , Cologne , Osnabrück , Singen , Vienna , Wiesbaden , Chemnitz and Zurich .


Several schools bear Scheffel's name, including the Scheffel-Gymnasium Bad Säckingen , the Scheffel-Gymnasium Lahr , the Realschule in Bad Staffelstein , the Scheffelschule Rielasingen-Worblingen and the Viktor-von-Scheffel-Schule in Karlsruhe .

Bushel price

The Scheffel Prize is awarded annually to the best German high school graduates from Baden-Württemberg and three other countries.

Bushel Path

The city of Singen (Hohentwiel) installed the Scheffel path in May 2012 in memory of von Scheffel . Corresponding boards at ten stations provide information on the life and work of Scheffels, his significance for singing and the history of the city. The path begins at the train station and leads through the city up to the Hohentwiel Fortress , where the main part of the plot of Scheffel's novel Ekkehard takes place. In Singen there is also an event hall that bears the name Scheffels, as well as several streets that are named after people from the novel Ekkehard : Ekkehardstraße, Hadwigstraße, Romeiasstraße, Hadumothstraße, Audifaxstraße, Praxedisplatz, Spazzostraße, Cappanstraße. Singen's first pedestrian zone was called "Scheffelstrasse". One of the two secondary schools in the city is called "Ekkehard Realschule".


In Radolfzell, the city library has been bearing the name of the poet since March 19, 2009; in the Radolfzell city museum, his life and work are presented and documented in a separate exhibition room, the Scheffel-Séparée. In Schönau Castle (Bad Säckingen) , the Scheffel room and the trumpeter monument in the castle garden are a reminder of Scheffel's stay and his verse epic The Trumpeter of Säckingen . In Achdorf (Blumberg) the Linde restaurant, sung about in the story Juniperus, is named after him. She is now called Scheffellinde .


  • Walter Berschin, Werner Wunderlich (ed.): Joseph Victor von Scheffel (1826–1886). A German poet, celebrated and reviled . Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2003, ISBN 3-7995-0128-2 .
  • J. Braun:  Scheffel, Joseph Victor v. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 30, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1890, pp. 777-791.
  • Anton Breitner (ed.): Scheffel memorial book. On the occasion of the foundation of the Scheffel-Bund in Austria . A. Hartleben, Vienna 1890
  • Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 600–605.
  • Achim Fenner, Ursula Wolf (ed.): Scheffel, Lord of Mettnau. Commemorative pamphlet on the 100th anniversary of Joseph Victor von Scheffel's death on April 9, 1986 . With contributions by Bruno Epple; Achim Fenner. On behalf of the Förderverein Heimatmuseum und Stadtgeschichte Radolfzell e. V., Förderverein Heimatmuseum und Stadtgeschichte, Radolfzell 1986.
  • Manfred Fuhrmann: Scheffel's narrative: Educational zeal, Deutschtümelei. In: ders .: Foundations of Europe that have become alien. News on topics from antiquity. Artemis and Winkler, Zurich 1995, ISBN 3-7608-1122-1 .
  • Genealogical manual of the nobility . Nobility Lexicon. Volume VII (= Volume 125 of the complete series). C. A. Starke, Limburg 2001 ISSN  0435-2408 .
  • Natalie Gutgesell : "Mr. Scheffel wrote something about it" - Joseph Victor von Scheffel as a visual artist. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle (Saale) 2014, ISBN 978-3-95462-318-1 .
  • Natalie Gutgesell : Joseph Victor von Scheffel in Heidelberg (= stations. Volume 18). Morio, Heidelberg 2015, ISBN 978-3-945424-21-6 .
  • Reiner Haehling von Lanzenauer : poet lawyer Scheffel (= series of publications of the legal history museum Karlsruhe. 6). Society for cultural-historical documentation, Karlsruhe 1988, ISBN 3-922596-20-7 .
  • Udo Kindermann : The poet Scheffel, the mineralogist Kobell and the industrialist Zugmayer and Scheffel's “Petreffektisch Lied”. In: Josef Victor von Scheffel on the 100th anniversary of his death on April 9, 1986. Karlsruhe 1986, pp. 25–43.
  • Raimund Lang : Joseph Viktor von Scheffel - student / poet / student poet. Edited by the Association for German Student History (GDS), 2008.
  • Heinz Linnerz : The drinking song in German poetry from Johann Hermann Schein to Viktor von Scheffel . Diss. Phil. [masch.], University of Cologne 1952.
  • Günther Mahal: Joseph Viktor von Scheffel. Attempt at revision. Müller, Karlsruhe 1986, ISBN 3-7880-9731-0 .
  • Scheffel, Joseph Viktor von . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 14, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 419.
  • Stefan Schank (Ed. :) Joseph Victor von Scheffel. Bibliography 1945–2001 . Scheffelbund, Karlsruhe 2001.
  • Hansgeorg Schmidt-BergmannScheffel, Joseph Victor von (Badischer Personaladel 1876). In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , pp. 610-612 ( digitized version ).
  • Adolf J. Schmid : As before ...?: JV von Scheffel in Bad Rippoldsau / illustrations by Benedikt Schaufelberger . Apis, Freiburg im Breisgau 1988.
  • Klaus-Peter Schroeder : Between duty and inclination. Josef Victor von Scheffel's student and internship years. In: Juristische Schulung 1986, pp. 10-14.
  • Rolf Selbmann: Poet profession in the bourgeois age. Joseph Viktor von Scheffel and his literature . (= Contributions to the recent history of literature, F. 3. 58). Winter, Heidelberg 1982, ISBN 3-533-03200-0 .
  • Paul Sommer : Explanations to "Ekkehard" (= King's Explanations . 120/121). Hermann Beyer , Leipzig undated [1906].
  • Ludwig Wolf: The proportion of nature in human life in Freytag and Scheffel (= Gießener contributions to German philology. 9). Swets and Zeitlinger, Amsterdam 1968.

Web links

Commons : Joseph Victor von Scheffel  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Joseph Victor von Scheffel  - Sources and full texts


  1. The honorary citizenship in Karlsruhe, mentioned several times in the literature, is not confirmed by the city of Karlsruhe itself, cf. List of honorary citizens on the website of the city of Karlsruhe.
  2. Konrad Seige wrote his doctoral thesis on Scheffel's illness .

Individual evidence

  1. Josef Victor v. Scheffel's letters to Karl Schwanitz, along with letters from Scheffel's mother (1845–1886) . Leipzig 1906, p. 80.
  2. ^ Fraternity Frankonia: Famous Franks: Joseph Victor von Scheffel
  3. Horst Grimm, Leo Besser-Walzel: The corporations. Frankfurt am Main 1986.
  4. Richard Kötzschke: History of the university singers at St. Pauli in Leipzig. 1822-1922. Leipzig 1922.
  5. 1854, University of Zurich
  6. Scheffel's "Emmale" . In: Switzerland: Swiss illustrated magazine . Swiss publishing house, Zurich 1910, p. 153 , col. 2 ( [1] ).
  7. Joseph Victor von Scheffel: The trumpeter of Säkkingen . 200th edition. Adolf Bonz & Comp., Stuttgart 1892, p. 138, 140, 173, 175 .
  8. ^ VJ Scheffel in Thun with Karl Klose. Bern Week, 1926, accessed on May 7, 2020 .
  9. ^ Heinz Dieter Kittsteiner: German Idealism . In: Etienne François, Hagen Schulze (ed.): German places of memory . tape 1 . CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59141-9 , p. 175 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  10. ^ Hansgeorg Schmidt-BergmannScheffel, Joseph Victor von (Badischer Personaladel 1876). In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 22, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2 , pp. 610-612 ( digitized version ).
  11. Surprised, the Prut rises in the reeds
  13. Scheffelstrasse (Reinickendorf) . In: Street name dictionary of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein Scheffelstraße (Lichtenberg). In: Street name lexicon of the Luisenstädtischer Bildungsverein (near  Kaupert )
  14. ^ Flyer Singen - Pure Culture , Culture Office of the City of Singen; July 2015
  15. The poet in the inn named after him "Scheffellinde" ( Memento from February 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) at
  16. Reprint by the University of Michigan , approx. 2010. Distribution in the USA. Gothic script