Fun Facts Friday: Heinrich von Kleist

Heinrich von Kleist (18, October 1777 – 21, November 1811) was a poet, novelist, writer and journalist from Germany.

Books by Heinrich von Kleist*Books by Heinrich von Kleist*

  1. Born as Bernd Heinrich Wilhelm von Kleist was born in Frankfurt into a Pomeranian Prussian noble family.
  2. In a 1789 letter von Kleist tells his half-sister that he finds it “incomprehensible how a human being can live without a life plan”.
    He was 11 years old at the time.
  3. Von Kleist entered the Prussian Army in 1792, retiring as a lieutenant in 1799.
  4. In 1807 he was arrested by the French as a spy, he was in jail for less than a year. Von Kleist was actually going to Dresden, where he was transferred to do his work for the department for the administration of crown lands.
  5.  Besides plays and novels, von Kleist also write philosophical essays.
  6. Die Hermannsschlacht (1808), a drama in five parts, based on the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE) was an anti-Napoleonic propaganda. The work was written as Austria and France were warring and has been described as the “greatest partisan work of all time”.
  7. The novella Michael Kohlhaas, based on a 16th century story, is considered one of the best German stories of its time.
  8. Von Kleist’s short stories influenced Friedrich Halm and Franz Kafka.
  9. In 1809 von Kleist met Henriette Vogel and two fell in love. Henriette was terminally ill however. The couple travel to Potsdam where von Kleist shot Henriette and then himself.
  10. The farewell letter Heinrich von Kleist and Henriette Vogel wrote to one another are now considered part of world literature.

Books by Heinrich von Kleist*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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