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Holtei, Karl von.

Holtei, Karl von (b. Jan. 24, 1798, Breslau, Silesia [now Wroclaw, Poland]--d. Feb. 12, 1880, Breslau)

Author who achieved success by his "vaudevilles," or ballad operas, and by his recitations.

Holtei led a varied and unsettled life, traveling between the cities of Hamburg (Ger.), Paris, and Graz (Austria) as a playwright, actor, and theater manager, a life vividly described in his autobiography, Vierzig Jahre (1843-50; "Forty Years"). Two of his best plays, Der alte Freiherr (1825; "The Old Baron") and Lenore (1829), a dramatization of Gottfried August Burger's poem, achieved great popularity. Also successful were his Schlesische Gedichte (1830; "Silesian Poems"), written in his native dialect. He also wrote novels, including Die Vagabunden (1851; "The Vagabonds") and Der letzte Komodiant (1863; "The Last Comedian"), that are interesting when they draw on his own experience. As a reciter he was unequaled, especially in his interpretation of speeches from William Shakespeare.

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Article Type:Brief biography
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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