Chamisso, Adelbert von
- Rufus Hallmark
b Château de Boncourt, 27–30 Jan 1781; d Berlin, 21 Aug 1838). German writer and naturalist. He is known in music history chiefly as the poet of the cycle Frauenliebe und Leben, which was set to music by Carl Loewe, Robert Schumann, and others.
Literarily Chamisso is known for his fable Der Wundersame Geschichte von Peter Schlemiehl (a Faustian tale of a man who sells not his soul, but his shadow), his travel account Reise um die Welt, and his numerous poems. Some portray ordinary people of the Biedermeier period in both serious and humorous verse, some are sensational narratives, others exotic tales, some inspired by his travels, and some are ironic poems of a liberal political cast; finally there are his lyrisch-episch cycles of first-person lyrics with a narrative outline, many in a woman’s voice (e.g. Frauenliebe und Leben, Tränen).
In science Chamisso is noteworthy as a collector and cataloguer. As the naturalist on a global circumnavigation of discovery (...