Gottfried Kinkel Biography | Poet
Johann Gottfried Kinkel (1815-1882), German poet, was born on the 11th of August 1815 at Obercassel near Bonn. Having studied theology at Bonn and afterwards in Berlin, he established himself at Bonn in 1836 as privat docent of theology, later became master at the gymnasium there, and was for a short time assistant preacher in Cologne. Changing his religious opinions, he abandoned theology and delivered lectures on the history of art, in which he had become interested on a journey to Italy in 1837. In 1846 he was appointed extraordinary professor of the history of art at Bonn University. For his share in the revolution in the Palatinate in 1849 Kinkel was arrested and, sentenced to penal servitude for life, was interned in the fortress of Spandau. His friend Carl Schurz contrived in November 1850 to effect his escape to England, whence he went to the United States. Returning to London in 1853, he for several years taught German and lectured on German literature, and in 1858 founded the German paper Hermann. In 1866 he accepted the professorship of archaeology and the history of art at the Polytechnikum in Zürich, in which city he died on the 13th of November 1882.
The popularity which Kinkel enjoyed in his day was hardly justified by his talent; his poetry is of the sweetly sentimental type which was much in vogue in Germany about the middle of the 19th century. His Gedichte first appeared in 1843, and have gone through several editions. He is to be seen to most advantage in the verse romances, Otto der Schütz, eine rheinische Geschichte in zwölf Abenteuern (1846) which in 1896 had attained its 75th edition, and Der Grobschmied von Antwerpen (1868). Among Kinkel’s other works may be mentioned the tragedy Nimrod (1857), and his history of art, Geschichte der bildenden Künste bei den christlichen Völkern (1845). Kinkel’s first wife, Johanna, née Mockel (1810-1858), assisted her husband in his literary work, and was herself an author of considerable merit. Her admirable autobiographical novel Hans Ibeles in London was not published until 1860, after her death. She also wrote on musical subjects.
See A. Strodtmann, Gottfried Kinkel (2 vols., Hamburg, 1851); and O. Henne am Rhyn, G. Kinkel, ein Lebensbild (Zürich, 1883).
Gottfried Kinkel: Poems
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