In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Richter born 1763 died 1825

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Undated

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00185

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the marginalia and annotations, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Lauren Grewe, Nicole Gray, Ty Alyea, and Matt Cohen

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born 1763aged 62
died 1825

You will see many good writers That

(Jean Paul) Friedrich Richter

Born 1763 at Wonsiedel in near Baireuth, (Germany) rather poor the earlier years, father a subordinate clergyman —went to the university—his father died—he was hard up for many years afterward.— Resolved to make his living by writing books— his first work being finished—no publisher— tried some time—at last found one in Berlin —unnoticed by the reviews, except one, and that gave a scornful notice.—Richter still holds his purpose—writes another work, "Selections from the papers of the Devil,"" ransacked high and low for a publisher, but found none—until some years afterward— Stood out in costume, wore his shirt open at the neck, &c—horrified all the "magisters" —held out in costume seven years, and then returned to orthodoxy—

Living in the most scanty manner for some ten years, in 1793, when 30 years old, he began to be known and his works marketable, "the Invisible Lodge," "Hesperus" &c. about that time. (novels.)—The Reviews acknowledged him, and he went on writing and receiving good returns.—He wrote many many works, (some sixty or more vols. I believe) He married 1798, a good wife of rather upper grade. Had a pension from a princely prelate, in 1802 and continued for life.—His eldest son died 1821

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Richter continued

Was writing on a favorite theme, Immortality, when (had been quite blind some years,) when, 14th November, 1825, he died.—

Richter seems to have been a thoroughly irregular genius, according to the laws and models. He was gay, sparkling, a rattler, profound, —one of those that to new readers do not please, but once falling in with him, and reading his books, it is amply made up.— He seems to have "believed in Christ," and the orthodox tenets,.

(Is this so?)

His person was huge, queer, irregular.—

He is witty, very—yet a certain true pathos pervades even his come[i?]edy.—

I should say that he was unnatural, and lurid, judged by the calm and wholesome models.—He is full of love, and appears to be the originator of much of the soft and sentimental ways of the swarms of tale‑writers of the last thirty years, in inBritain and America.—


Carlyle certainly introduced the German style, writers, sentimentalism, transcendentalism, &c. &c &c from 1826 to a1840—through the great Reviews and magazines—and through his own works and example.—

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