Poems Without Frontiers

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Friedrich Rückert 1788- 1866

Rückert was born in Schweinfurt to a father employed as advocate and bursar official. He attended the latin school and later studied law at the University of Würzburg later changing to philology. He briefly occupied several teaching posts including private tutor.

He turned to poetry at an early stage writing pseudonymously published works against the occupying Napoleonic forces. From 1815, he moved to Stuttgart as newspaper editor and travelled to Italy in 1817. He was a skilled orientalist and translated many works from a bewildering array of oriental languages.

Whilst living in the present Coburg, he married in 1821 and practised as a private teacher but moved to Erlangen in 1826 to become professor of oriental languages and literature from which time he wrote his more mature works. In 1841, he was summoned to Berlin University as professor of oriental languages where he lived until retiring in 1848 to Neuses, Coburg where he died in 1866.

He is particulary noted for his numerous poems on the death of children after the two favourites of his 10 children died in 1833/1834 some of which have been set to music by Mahler. He has been honoured by his birth town with a statue in the Marktplatz; and is commemorated by monuments to him that have been erected in his chosen residence of Neuses.