1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schefer, Leopold

SCHEFER, LEOPOLD (1784–1862), German poet and novelist, was born at Muskau in Lower Lusatia on the 30th of July 1784, and educated at the gymnasium of Bautzen. In 1813, he was appointed manager of the estates of Prince Pückler-Muskau (q.v.). The prince, recognizing the literary abilities of the young man, encouraged his early poetical efforts and gave him the means to travel. After visiting England, Italy, Greece and Turkey, Schefer returned in 1820 to Muskau, where he lived in easy circumstances and with abundant leisure for his literary pursuits, until his death on the 16th of February 1862. Schefer wrote a large number of short stories which appeared in several series, Novellen (5 vols., 1825–1829); Neue Novellen (4 vols., 1831–1835); Lavabecher (2 vols., 1833); Kleine Romane (6 vols., 1836–1837). The historical novel Die Gräfin Ulfeld (2 vols., 1834), and the piquant satire, Die Sibylle von Mantua (1852), were published separately. But Schefer is less known for his novels which are lacking in plastic power and creative imagination, than for a volume of charming poems, Laienbrevier (1834–1835). These, owing to their warmth of feeling and fascinating descriptions of the beauties of nature, at once established his fame as a poet. This vein, in close imitation of his friend the poet Richard Georg Spiller von Hauenschild, known under the pseudonym Max Waldau (1822–1855), he followed in later years with the poems Vigilien (1843), Der Weltpriester (1846), and Hausreden (1869). His Hafis in Hellas (Hamburg, 1853) and Koran der Liebe (Hamburg, 1855) contain with their glowing descriptions of the East, original poetry of a high order.

A selection of Schefer's works, Ausgewählte Werke, in 12 vols., was published in 1845 (2nd ed., 1857). See J. Schmidt, Geschichte der deutschen Literatur im 19. Jahrhundert, vol. ii.; E. Brenning Leopold Schefer (1884); and L. Geiger in Dichter und Frauen (1896).