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Wilhelm Lindemann

Catholic historian of German literature, b. December 17, 1828; d. December 20, 1879

Lindemann, WILHELM, a Catholic historian of German literature, b. at Schonnebeck near Essen, December 17, 1828; d. at Niederkruechten near Erkelenz (Rhine Province) December 20, 1879. He attended the gymnasium at Essen; studied theology at Bbnn from 1848 to 1851, and was ordained in Cologne, September 2, 1852. He was rector of the municipal high school of Heinsberg from 1853 to 1860, then parish-priest at Rheinbreitbach, and later at Venrath from 1863 to 1866, when he became pastor of Nieder-Kruechten, and so remained till his death. From 1870 to 1879 he served as a member of the Prussian Diet as one of the center Party. His principal literary work is the “Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur”, which first appeared in 1866 (eighth edition, Freiburg, 1905). This was the first exhaustive treatise made of the history of German literature from a Catholic point of view, and was an effort on the part of the author to bring out into greater prominence Catholic poets and thinkers who theretofore had either failed of recognition or had been treated with hostility. It is a notable work. The author modeled it on Vilmar’s widely read and meritorious “History of Literature”. Connected to a certain extent, as authorities, with his history of literature, is the “Bibliothek deutscher Klassiker” (1868-71) containing selections from Goethe, Schiller, Lessing, Herder, from writers of the Romantic school and poets of later times. To these are to be added his “Blumenstrauss von Geistlichen Gedichten des deutschen Mittelalters” (1874), and a collection of religious poems “Fur die Pilgerreise” (1877). Besides these Lindemann produced two biographical works, the one on Angelus Silesius (1876) and the other on Geiler von Kaysersberg, from the French by Dacheux (1877), both of which appear in the “Sammlung historischer Bildnisse” 3rd series, vol. VIII, and 4th series, vol. II. Lindemann was also a contributor to the “Bonner Theologischer Literaturblatt”, and to other periodicals. The University of Whrzburg recognized his literary achievements by conferring on him, in 1872, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. As a man he was simple and unassuming, with an amiable manner and a spontaneous flow of humor, a genuine son of the Rhineland.


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