Johann Peter Hebel

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Johann Peter Hebel (May 10, 1760 - September 22, 1826), German poet and popular writer, was born at Basel. The father dying when the child was little over a year old, he was brought up amidst poverty-stricken conditions in the village of Hausen in the Wiesental, where he received his earliest education. Being of brilliant promise, he found friends who enabled him to complete his school education and to study theology (1778-1780) at Erlangen. At the end of his university course he was for a time a private tutor, then became teacher at the Gymnasium in Karlsruhe, and in 1808 was appointed director of the school. He was subsequently appointed member of the Consistory and evangelical prelate. He died at Schwetzingen, near Heidelberg.

Hebel is one of the most widely read of all German popular poets and writers. His poetical narratives and lyric poems, written in the Alemanic dialect, are popular in the best sense. His Allemannische Gedichte (1803) bucolicize, in the words of Goethe, the whole world in the most attractive manner (verbauert das ganze Universum auf die anmutigste Weise). Indeed, few modern German poets surpass him in fidelity, naïveté, humour, and in the freshness and vigour of his descriptions. His poem, Die Wiese, has been described by Johannes Scherr as the pearl of German idyllic poetry ; while his prose writings, especially the narratives and essays contained in the Schatzkästlein des rheinischen Hausfreundes (Tübingen, 1811; new edition, Stuttgart 1869, 1888), belong to the best class of German stories, and according to August Friedrich Christian Vilmar (1800-1868) in his Geschichte der deutschen Literatur are worth more than a cartload of novels (wiegen ein ganzes Fuder Romane auf). Memorials have been erected to him at Karlsruhe, Basel and Schwetzingen.

See G. Lgngin, J. P. Hebel, ein Lebensbild (1894), and the introduction to Behaghels edition.de:Johann Peter Hebel als:Johann Peter Hebel eo:Johann Peter HEBEL

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