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Feuchtersleben, Ernst

FEUCHTERSLEBEN, ERNST, Freiherr von (1806-1849), Austrian physician, poet and philosopher, was born in Vienna on the 29th of April 1806; of an old Saxon noble family. He attended the "Theresian Academy" in his native city, and in 1825 entered its university as a student of medicine. In 1833 he obtained the degree of doctor of medicine, settled in Vienna as a practising surgeon, and in 1834 married. The young doctor kept up his connexion with the university, where he lectured, and in 1844 was appointed dean of the faculty of medicine. He cultivated the acquaintance of Franz Grillparzer, Heinrich Laube, and other intellectual lights of the Viennese world, interested himself greatly in educational matters, and in 1848, while refusing the presidency of the ministry of education, accepted the appointment of under secretary of state in that department. His health, however, gave way, and he died at Vienna on the 3rd of September 1849. He was not only a clever physician, but a poet of fine aesthetical taste and a philosopher. Among his medical works may be mentioned: Uber das Hippokratische erste Buch von der Diät (Vienna, 1835), Arzte und Publicum (Vienna, 1848) and Lehrbuch der ärztlichen Seelenkunde (1845). His poetical works include Gedichte (Stutt. 1836), among which is the well-known beautiful hymn, which Mendelssohn set to music. "Es 1st bestimmt in Gottes Rat." As a philosopher he is best known by his Zur Diätetik der Seele [Dietetics of the soul] (Vienna, 1838), which attained great popularity, and the tendency of which, in contrast to Hufeland's Makrobiotik (On the Art of Prolonging Life), is to show the true way of rendering life harmonious and lovely. This work had by 1906 gone into fifty editions. Noteworthy also is his Beiträge zur Litteratur-, Kunst- und Lebenstheorie (Vienna, 1837-1841), and an anthology, Geist der deutschen Klassiker (Vienna, 1851; 3rd ed. 1865-1866).

His collected works (with the exception of the purely medical ones) were published in 7 vols. by Fr. Hebbel (Vienna, 1851-1853). See M. Necker, "Ernst von Feuchtersleben, der Freund Grillparzers," in the Jahrbuch der Grillparzer Gesellschaft, vol. iii. (Vienna, 1893).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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