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SCHILLER IN 1780



Friedrich Schiller. Oil Painting (ca. 1780) attributed to Jakob Friedrich Weckherlin (1761 - 1815). Weckherlin was trained at the Military Academy from 1772 to 1785. The painting shows the author of the 'Robbers', wearing the typically open Schiller collar. His facial features portrayed here coincide with the way Schiller was described by his fellow student Georg Friedrich Scharffenstein: A broad forhead, an aquiline nose, sunk dark-grayish eyes, bushy red eyebrows, hollow cheeks, somewhat freckled. This painting also gives an idea of the discrepancy between the demands the military training put on Schiller's artistic nature.

On June 13, August von Hoven, the father of Schiller's fellow student von Hoven, died. This may have provided the occasion for Schiller's fellow student Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg's writing music to Schiller's poem 'Leichenphantasie' which Schiller later published in his 'Anthology on the Year 1782'.

From mid-June to the end of July, Schiller looked after his fellow student Grammont whose suicide intentions he had recognized in time. Schiller's reports explain the physical and psychological deterioration of Grammont. Schiller believed that Grammont suffered from a conflict of conscience between Pietistic teachings and teachings of Enlightenment.

Schiller's second dissertation was printed in December. Article 15 also contains a veiled quote from his own play 'Robbers', from the first scene of act five. Schiller listed as fictitious source, 'Life of Moor. Tragedy by Krake'. Schiller also used his incidental contact with the printer Christoph Friedrich Cotta to have the volume of his play 'Robbers' appraised and calculated.

His own and his parents' bitter disappointment at his meager earnings prompted his father Johann Kaspar Schiller, to petition to the Duke that his son be allowed to carry on a part-time medical practice in civilian clothes. This request was refused. Moreover, Schiller had to obtain official permission in order to visit his parents in Solitude.

Reports of Schiller's activities as army physician describe him as displaying little enthusiasm for his profession, relying heavily on the prescription of strong dosages of medication to 'cure' his patients (this was, to Schiller's protection, secretly 'overriden' by his medical supervisor). The only medical literature Schiller bought was a pharmacists' almanach.

At the end of December, Schiller wrote, probably commissioned by the officers' corps of his regiment, a funeral ode 'On the Death of Captain Wiltmaister'.

In retrospect, Schiller described his years at the Karlsschule thus in his 1785 edition of the 'Rheinische Thalia':

"Neigung fuer Poesie beleidigte die Gesetze des Instituts, worin ich erzogen ward, und widersprach den Plaenen seines Stifters. Acht Jahre lang rang mein Enthusiasmus mit der militaerischen Regel, aber Leidenschaft fuer die Dichtung ist feurig und stark, wie die erste Liebe. Was sie ersticken sollte, fachte sie an" (Goethe und seine Zeit 119).

"Inclination towards poetry insulted the laws of the institution in which I was educated, and contradicted the plans of its founder. For eight years, my enthusiasm struggled with the military rule, but passion for poetry is strong and fiery, like the first love. What it was supposed to smother, it ignited."

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