Friedrich Theodor Vischer

* 30.06.1807 in Ludwigsburg; ✝ 14.09.1887 in Gmunden am Traunsee

Philosopher, Writer, Aesthetic-theorist



After completing a degree in evangelical theology, he devoted his studies to philosophy, particularly Hegelian philosophy, gaining his professorial qualification in Tübingen for his thesis Über das Erhabene und Komische (1837). Close friends with Eduard Mörike and David Friedrich Strauß, amongst others, he began his literary activities early in life; among his better-known later works of this kind are the Goethe parody Faust: Der Tragödie Dritter Teil (1862), the novel Auch Einer (1879) and poems (Lyrische Gänge, 1882). In 1848 he was a liberal member of the Frankfurt National Congress. Vischer was an active scholar as Professor in Tübingen (1837), then at the Zurich Polytechnic (1855) and at the Stuttgart Polytechnic (1866).

He considered reading Shakespeare’s plays to be one of his formative experiences. In his essay ‘Shakespeare in seinem Verhältnis zur deutschen Poesie, insbesondere zur politischen’ (1844) he proclaimed Shakespeare to be the criterion against which German classics ought to be measured. In his masterpiece Aesthetik oder Wissenschaft des Schönen (1846-1857) Shakespeare is the most oft-cited example. Other essays on Shakespeare, like ‘Shakespeare in seinem Verhältnis zur deutschen Poesie’ collected in Kritische Gänge (1860-1873), develop an at once idealistic and realistic understanding of his dramatic art. From the 1840s onwards Vischer never tired of offering, at Tübingen and Stuttgart, highly valued lectures-series to a broader public, with accompanying interpretations of the major tragedies and histories, which his son, Robert Vischer, published posthumously in six volumes (Shakespeare Vorträge, 1899-1905). In Vischer’s other writings, too, with their broad range of scholarly interests – including his novel Auch Einer – there are frequent allusions to Shakespeare.




Primary Literature

Secondary Literature

Album pages with this person

Citation and Licence

Vischer, Friedrich Theodor, in: The Digital Shakespeare Memorial Album. Edited by Christa Jansohn. URI: (Accessed on 27.02.2024)

This text is published under the following licence: CC BY-ND 3.0 DE. Digitzed media reproduced with the permission of the library of Birmingham.

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