Schlegel, Johann Elias
SCHLEGEL, JOHANN ELIAS (1718-1749), a German dramatic writer, was born at Meissen on the 28th January 1718. He was educated at Schulpforta and at the university of Leipsic. In 1743, having finished his studies, he became private secretary to his relative, Von Spener, the Saxon ambassador at the Danish court. Afterwards he was made professor extraordinary at the academy of Sorge, where he died on the 13th August 1749. Schlegel was a contributor to the Bremischen Beitreigt, and for some time, while he was living in Denmark, he edited a weekly periodical, Der Fremde. He was also known as a writer of clever poetical epistles. Incomparably his best works, however, are his dramas, which did much to prepare the way for the dramatic achievements of Lessing, by whom his genius was warmly appreciated. He wrote two lively and well-constructed comedies, the Triumph der guten Frauen and the Stumme Schonheit, the latter in alexandrines, the former in prose. Hermann and Kanut (in alexandrines) are generally considered his best tragedies.
His works were edited after his death by his brother, J. H. Schlegel, who had a considerable reputation as a writer on Danish history. Another brother, J. Adolf Schlegel, an eminent preacher, and author of some volumes of verse, was the father of August Wilhelm and Friedrich von Schlegel.