1815-1884
portrait

October 17, 1815, Lübeck, Germany.

April 6, 1884, Lübeck, Germany.

Burgtorfriedhof, Lübeck, Germany.

Son of a pastor, Emanuel intended to follow in his father’s footsteps, and studied at Bonn and Berlin. However, his real interests lay not in theology, but in classical and romance philology. In 1838 he accepted a tutorship in the household of the Russian ambassador in Athens Prince Katakazi, where he stayed until 1840. The same year he and his friend Ernst Curtius published a volume of translations from Greek.

Geibel’s first poems were published in a volume titled Zeitstimmen in 1841. In 1842 he entered the service of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, with an annual stipend of 300 thalers. In this post, he produced König Roderich (1843), a tragedy; König Sigurds Brautfahrt (1846), an epic, and Juniuslieder (1848), lyrics in a more spirited and manlier style than his early poems.

In 1851, Maximilian II of Bavaria invited Geibel to Munich as an honorary professor at the university, and he relinquished his Prussian stipend. While in Munich, Geibel was at the center of the literary circle called Die Krokodile (Crocodile Society), which was concerned with traditional forms. In 1852 he married Amanda Trummer, and the next year they had a daughter, Ada Marie Caroline. In 1857, he published a volume of Neue Gedichte, mainly consisting of poems on classical subjects. The series ended with the Spätherbstblätter in 1877.

Geibel’s other works include tragedies, Brunhild (1858, 5th edition 1890), and Sophonisbe (1869), and translations of French and Spanish popular poetry, Spanisches Liederbuch (1852), with Paul Heyse. Beginning as a member of the group of political poets who heralded the revolution of 1848, Geibel was also the chief poet to welcome the establishment of the Empire in 1871.

Geibel left Munich in 1869 and returned to Lübeck, where he stayed until his death.

  1. At Easter Morn the Lark
  2. Lord, Who Within My Inmost Heart
  3. Schon F’ngt Es An Z D’mmern
  4. Und Dr’ut der Winter Noch So Sehr mit Trossig
  5. Wer Recht in Freuden Wandern Will