Caroline von Wolzogen

Caroline von Wolzogen
Caroline von Wolzogen in a portrait by Carl von Ambère, 1808
Caroline von Wolzogen in a portrait by Carl von Ambère, 1808
BornCaroline von Lengefeld
(1763-02-03)3 February 1763
Died11 January 1847(1847-01-11) (aged 83)
Literary movementWeimar Classicism
Notable worksAgnes von Lilien
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig von Beulwitz
  • Wilhelm von Wolzogen

Caroline von Wolzogen, born Caroline von Lengefeld (3 February 1763, Rudolstadt – 11 January 1847, Jena),[1] was a German writer in the Weimar Classicism circle. Her best-known works are a novel, Agnes von Lilien, and a biography of Friedrich Schiller, her brother-in-law.

Early life

Caroline von Lengefeld was the oldest child of an aristocratic family in Rudolstadt; she was raised and educated with a younger sister, Charlotte. Though her family belonged to the lower nobility, after her father died the financial situation was somewhat troubled.[2] At 16, Caroline became engaged to Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig von Beulwitz (1755–1829), a prominent local courtier, through the arrangement of both families.[3] Much of her long engagement was spent with her family in Switzerland, a trip paid for by von Beulwitz; they married shortly after Caroline's return in 1784.[3] Lacking shared interests, the marriage was unhappy from the start.[2]

Caroline's closest confidante in the early years of her marriage was her cousin Wilhelm von Wolzogen, who, in 1785, introduced her and her sister to his friend Schiller, then a young and rather poor Weimar poet.[3] In 1788, Schiller moved to a nearby town to be closer to the Lengefelds, and both Caroline and her sister became closer to him. Caroline felt a strong attraction toward him, though how far she considered taking it has been disputed by scholars.[2] Schiller became engaged to Charlotte in August, 1789, and credited Caroline for bringing them together.[4] In the early 1790s, inspired by her friendship with Schiller and other literary figures in Weimar, Caroline began writing herself; her first substantial work was a dramatic fragment in classical form, Der leukadische Fels, in 1792.[2]