Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Ferdinand Freiligrath

Mainz 1844

First edition.

Besides Georg Büchner, who died at a very early age, Ferdinand Freiligrath can be esteemed the most influential German poet of Linton´s generation 48. This small collection of poems marks the initial state of his career as a political writer and democratic activist. It includes translations of authors of the tradition of British radicalism and American abolitionism and transcendentalism such as Robert Burns, Ebenezer Elliott and William Cullen Bryant. Through the agency of the befriended litterarily couple Mary and William Howitt the German poet was also well informed about the discussions and editorial experiments of Fox´ Craven Hill circle. Due to this major intersection of influences Freiligrath´s political poems have a diction very similar to those of Linton´s writings. Moreover, as one of the most prolific translators of the works of British romanticism in German, Freiligrath "epitomizes the link that exisits between the reception of English language poetry in Germany and the evolution of German Nationalism." (John Williams, Wordsworth translated. A case study in the reception of British Romantic,  London 2009) Consequently he was the only German representative of his generation who was included by Linton and Richard Henry Stoddard in their anthology of international poetry in English translations, which appeared 1884 as Vol. V of English Verse.

Strange enough there is no scholary biography of this eminent German editor, translator and writer, nor any scholary edition of his works.