Eduard Mörike

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Eduard Mörike
Eduard Mörike.jpg
Born (1804-09-08)8 September 1804
Ludwigsburg, Electorate of Württemberg
Died 4 June 1875(1875-06-04) (aged 70)
Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg
Occupation Poet
Nationality German


Eduard Friedrich Mörike (8 September 1804 – 4 June 1875) was a German Romantic poet.


Mörike was born in Ludwigsburg. His father was Karl Friedrich Mörike (died 1817), a district medical councilor; his mother was Charlotte Bayer. After the death of his father, in 1817, he went to live with his uncle Eberhard Friedrich Georgii in Stuttgart, who intended his nephew to become a clergyman. Therefore, after one year at the Stuttgart Gymnasium illustre, Mörike joined the Evangelical Seminary Urach, a humanist grammar school, in 1818 and from 1822 to 1826 attended the Tübinger Stift.[1] There, he scored low grades and failed the admission test to Urach Seminary, yet was accepted anyhow. At the Seminary he went on to study the classics, something that was to become a major influence on his writing, and he made the acquaintance of Wilhelm Hartlaub and Wilhelm Waiblinger. Afterwards he studied theology at the Seminary of Tübingen where he met Ludwig Bauer, David Friedrich Strauss and Friedrich Theodor Vischer.[2] Many of these friendships were long-lasting. In Tübingen, with Bauer, he invented the fairyland Orplid - see the poem Song Weylas (You are Orplid)[3] dating from 1831.

During easter holidays 1823 Mörike met in a Ludwigsburg inn Maria Meyer (1802–1865), who worked there as a waitress. Mörike fell in love with the mysteriously woman. However his older sister Luise was afraid of the connection between noble Mörike with the unclean of Maria Meyer“.[4] Mörike wrote letters till the end of the year 1823 (the letters are destroyed). She wanted to meet him in july 1824, but he refused[5] From this drastic experience the cycle of Peregrina-poems were made. Ten different versions from 1824 to 1867 do exist. [6]

He followed an ecclesiastical career, becoming a Lutheran pastor. In 1834 he was appointed pastor of Cleversulzbach near Weinsberg, and, after his early retirement for reasons of health, in 1851 became professor of German literature at the Katharinenstift in Stuttgart. This office he held until his retirement in 1866; but he continued to live in Stuttgart until his death. In what political and social views he espoused, he was monarchist and conservative.


Mörike's home in Lorch, Württemberg

Mörike was a member of the so-called Swabian school which gathered around Ludwig Uhland. His poems, Gedichte (1838; 22nd ed., 1905), are mostly lyrics, often humorous, but expressed in simple and natural language. His Lieder (songs) are traditional in form and have been compared to those of Goethe. His ballad “Schön Rotraut” — opening with the line “Wie heisst König Ringangs Töchterlein?” — became a popular favorite.[2]

His first published work was the short novel Maler Nolten (“The painter Nolten”, 1832; 6th ed., 1901), a Bildungsroman and fantastic tale dealing with artist life which revealed his imaginative power and enjoyed great popularity. The novella Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag (“Mozart on the way to Prague”, 1856) was a humorous examination of the problems of artists in a world uncongenial to art. It is frequently cited as his finest achievement.[2][7] He also wrote a somewhat fantastic Idylle vom Bodensee, oder Fischer Martin und die Glockendiebe (1846; 2nd ed., 1856), the caprice Das Stuttgarter Hutzelmännlein (1855), and published a collection of hymns, odes, elegies and idylls of the Greeks and Romans, entitled Klassische Blumenlese (1840). He did translations of Anacreon and Theocritus.[8]

Mörike's Gesammelte Schriften (“Collected Writings”) were first published in 1878 (4 vols.). Later editions are those edited by R. Krauss (6 vols., 1905), and the Volksausgabe (“Popular edition”), published by Göschen (4 vols., 1905). Selections from his literary remains were published by R. Krauss in Eduard Mörike als Gelegenheitsdichter (1895), and his correspondence with Hermann Kurz, Moritz von Schwind, and Theodor Storm, by J. Bachtold (1885–1891); an edition of Mörike's Ausgewählte Briefe (“Selected letters”), in 2 vols., appeared 1903-1904.

Mörike (aged 20) as a student in Tübingen, 1824

His work was greatly praised by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who recommended him to Bertrand Russell as

really a great poet and his poems are among the best things we have...the beauty of Mörike's work is very closely related to Goethe's.[9]

Musical settings[edit]

Many of his lyrics were set to music by Hugo Wolf,[10] Ludwig Hetsch and Fritz Kauffmann. Ignaz Lachner set to music his opera Die Regenbrüder.[8] Many of his poems became established folksongs.[7]


  1. ^ Reiner Strunk: Eduard Mörike, S. 17 ff.
  2. ^ a b c Wikisource-logo.svg Hartmann, Jacob Wittmer (1920). "Mörike, Eduard". In Rines, George Edwin. Encyclopedia Americana. 
  3. ^ Birgit Mayer: Eduard Mörike, p. 58
  4. ^ Mathias Mayer: Mörike und Peregrina, S. 51
  5. ^ Mathias Mayer: Mörike und Peregrina, S. 35, 69 ff.
  6. ^ Mathias Mayer: Mörike und Peregrina, S. 211 ff.
  7. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Mörike, Eduard". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 
  8. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Mörike, Eduard". The American Cyclopædia. 
  9. ^ Wittgenstein, Ludwig (2003). Amélie, Rorty, ed. Letter to Bertrand Russell. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 417. 
  10. ^ Youens, Susan (2000). Hugo Wolf and his Mörike songs. Cambridge University Press. p. 7. 


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mörike, Eduard Friedrich". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  This work in turn cites:
    • F. Notter, Eduard Mörike (1875)
    • H. Fischer, Eduard Mörike (1881)
    • K. Fischer, E. Mörike (1901)
    • H. Maync, E. Mörike (1902)
    • K. Fischer, Mörikes künstlerisches Schaffen und dichterische Schöpfungen (1903)

External links[edit]