GEIBEL, EMANUEL (1815-1884), German poet, was born at Lübeck on the 17th of October 1815, the son of a pastor in the city. He was originally intended for his father's profession, and studied at Bonn and Berlin, but his real interests lay not in theology but in classical and romance philology. In 1838 he accepted a tutorship at Athens, where he remained until 1840. In the same year he brought out, in conjunction with his friend Ernst Curtius, a volume of translations from the Greek. His first poems, Zeitstimmen, appeared in 1841; a tragedy, König Roderich, followed in 1843. In the same year he received a pension from the king of Prussia, which he retained until his invitation to Munich by the king of Bavaria in 1851 as honorary professor at the university. In the interim he had produced König Sigurds Brautfahrt (1846), an epic, and Juniuslieder (1848, 33rd ed. 1901), lyrics in a more spirited and manlier style than his early poems. A volume of Neue Gedichte, published at Munich in 1857, and principally consisting of poems on classical subjects, denoted a further considerable advance in objectivity, and the series was worthily closed by the Spätherbstblätter, published in 1877. He had quitted Munich in 1869 and returned to Lübeck, where he died on the 6th of April 1884. His works further include two tragedies, Brunhild (1858, 5th ed. 1890), and Sophonisbe (1869), and translations of French and Spanish popular poetry. Beginning as a member of the group of political poets who heralded the revolution of 1848, Geibel was also the chief poet to welcome the establishment of the Empire in 1871. His strength lay not, however, in his political songs but in his purely lyric poetry, such as the fine cycle Ada and his still popular love-songs. He may be regarded as the leading representative of German lyric poetry between 1848 and 1870.
Geibel's Gesammelte Werke were published in 8 vols. (1883, 4th ed. 1906); his Gedichte have gone through about 130 editions. An excellent selection in one volume appeared in 1904. For biography and criticism, see K. Goedeke, E. Geibel (1869); W. Scherer's address on Geibel (1884); K.T. Gaedertz, Geibel-Denkwurdigkeiten (1886); C.C.T. Litzmann, E. Geibel, aus Erinnerungen, Briefen und Tagebüchern (1887), and biographies by C. Leimbach (2nd ed., 1894), and K.T. Gaedertz (1897).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)