Johann Daniel Falk - Encyclopedia




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JOHANN DANIEL FALK (1768-1826), German author and philanthropist, was born at Danzig on the 28th of October 1768. After attending the gymnasium of his native town, he entered the university of Halle with the view of studying theology, but preferring a non-professional life, gave up his theological studies and went to live at Weimar. There he published a volume of satires which procured him the notice and friendship of Wieland, and admission into literary circles. After the battle of Jena, Falk, on the recommendation of Wieland, was appointed to a civil post under the French official authorities and rendered his townsmen such good service that the duke of Weimar created him a counsellor of legation. In 1813 he established a society for friends in necessity (Gesellschaft der Freunde in der Not), and about the same time founded an institute for the care and education of neglected and orphan children, which, in 1829, was taken over by the state and still exists as the Falksches Institut. The first literary efforts of Falk took the form chiefly of satirical poetry, and gave promise of greater future excellence than was ever completely fulfilled; his later pieces, directed more against individuals than the general vices and defects of society, gradually degenerated in quality. In 1806 Falk founded a critical journal under the title of Elysium and Tartarus. He also contributed largely to contemporary journals. He enjoyed the acquaintance and intimate friendship of Goethe, and his account of their intercourse was posthumously published under the title Goethe aus ndherem personlichen Umgange dargestellt (1832) (English by S. Austin). Falk died on the 14th of February 1826.

Falk's Satirische Werke appeared in 7 vols. (1817 and 1826); his Auserlesene Schriften (3 vols., 1819). See Johannes Falk: Erinnerungsbleitter aus Briefen and Tagebiichern, gesammelt von dessen Tochter Rosalie Falk (1868); Heinzelmann, Johannes Falk and die Gesellschaft der Freunde in der Not (1879); A. Stein, J. Falk (1881); S. Schultze, Falk and Goethe (1900).

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