Famous 18th Century German Writers

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century German Writers, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Adam Weishaupt, Heinrich Heine and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 18th Century German Writers

 1 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Novelist Best Known for 'The Sorrows of Young Werther', the First Novel of The Sturm Und Drang Movement)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
18
Birthdate: August 28, 1749
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Goethe House, Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 22, 1832

Regarded as the greatest literary figure in Germany's modern era, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a statesman and writer. Apart from writing poetry and prose, he also wrote treatises on color, anatomy, and botany. Thanks to his literary genius, Goethe was made part of the Duke's privy council in Weimar and he implemented several reforms at the University of Jena.

 2 
Friedrich Schiller
(Playwright and Poet Known for His Works 'The Robbers', 'Don Carlos' and 'Mary Stuart')

Friedrich Schiller
4
Birthdate: November 10, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marbach am Neckar, Germany
Died: May 9, 1805

Friedrich Schiller was a German poet, physician, philosopher, playwright, and historian. Schiller is best remembered for his friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the two discussed issues concerning aesthetics. Schiller's discussions with Goethe paved the way for a period, which came to be known as Weimar Classicism. Friedrich Schiller is also widely regarded as Germany's most prominent classical playwright.

 3 

E. T. A. Hoffmann
3
Birthdate: January 24, 1776
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
Died: June 25, 1822

E. T. A. Hoffmann was a German author, jurist, artist, composer, and music critic. His stories served as an inspiration and laid the foundation for The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is also based on Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Hoffmann is among the most influential authors of the Romantic Movement.

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 4 
Johann Gottfried Herder
(Philosopher, Theologian, Poet, and Literary Critic)

Johann Gottfried Herder
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1744
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Morąg, Poland
Died: December 18, 1803

German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder is best remembered as a significant figure of the Sturm und Drang literary movement. Born into poverty and largely self-educated till 17, he later became a disciple of Immanuel Kant and was associated with Enlightenment and Weimar Classicism. He was eventually ennobled.

 5 
Novalis
(Poet)

Novalis
3
Birthdate: May 2, 1772
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wiederstedt, Germany
Died: March 25, 1801

Poet and philosopher Friedrich Leopold, better known as Novalis, was a significant figure of German Romanticism. He narrated the loss of his 15-year-old fiancé to tuberculosis in his Hymns to the Night. He himself died of the disease a few years later. He was also well-versed in natural sciences.

 6 
Wilhelm Grimm
(Lexicographer, Anthropologist, Librarian, Writer, Law librarian, Children's writer, Educationist, Linguist, Specialist in literature, Germanist, Jurist, University teacher, Poet lawyer, Mythographer)

Wilhelm Grimm
3
Birthdate: February 24, 1786
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hanau
Died: December 16, 1859

 7 
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
(Was a German Writer, Philosopher)

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1729
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kamenz, Germany
Died: February 15, 1781

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a noted German dramatist, critic, and author, remembered especially for his contribution towards liberating German theatre from the influence of its classical and French counterpart. Known for such literary masterpieces like Miss Sara Sampson; Emilia Galotti; Minna von Barnhelm; Nathan the Wise; Laocoön; Hamburg Dramaturgy, he is now considered an outstanding representative of the Enlightenment era.

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 8 
Jean Paul
(Romantic Writer)

Jean Paul
4
Birthdate: March 21, 1763
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wunsiedel, Germany
Died: November 14, 1825

Jean Paul was a German writer best remembered for his humorous stories and novels. While many of his fans hold him in high regard, his critics treat his work with indifference. Due to such a disparity, Paul holds an unusual position in German literary history. Robert Schumann admired Jean Paul's works, which served as an inspiration to the former's Papillons

 9 

Baron d'Holbach
3
Birthdate: December 8, 1723
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edesheim, Germany
Died: January 21, 1789

 10 
Heinrich von Kleist
(One of the Leading Lights of German Literary Romanticism)

Heinrich von Kleist
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1777
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany
Died: November 21, 1811

Dissatisfied with his army career, Heinrich von Kleist had also studied law and math but quit studies later to devote himself to writing. Part of German Romanticism, he penned iconic plays such as The Schroffenstein Family and Hermann’s Battle. He eventually shot himself and his lover Henriette in a murder-suicide.

 11 

Emanuel Schikaneder
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1751
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Straubing, Germany
Died: September 21, 1812

 12 
Georg Forster
(Naturalist)

Georg Forster
2
Birthdate: November 27, 1754
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mokry Dwór, Poland
Died: January 10, 1794

 13 

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
2
Birthdate: January 25, 1743
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
Died: March 10, 1819

 14 
Johann Zahn
(Author)

Johann Zahn
2
Birthdate: March 29, 1641
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Karlstadt am Main, Germany
Died: June 27, 1707

 15 
August Wilhelm Schlegel
(Linguist, Translator, Sanskrit scholar, Philosopher, Poet, Literary critic, Literary historian, Romanist, Playwright, University teacher, Writer, Indologist)

August Wilhelm Schlegel
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1767
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hanover
Died: May 12, 1845

 16 

Clemens Brentano
2
Birthdate: September 9, 1778
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Koblenz, Germany
Died: July 28, 1842

Adolf Franz Friedrich, Freiherr von Knigge
2
Birthdate: October 16, 1752
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bredenbeck, Germany
Died: May 6, 1796

 18 

Friedrich Schlegel
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1772
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hannover, Germany
Died: January 12, 1829

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben
2
Birthdate: April 2, 1798
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Fallersleben, Wolfsburg, Germany
Died: January 19, 1874

 20 
Engelbert Kaempfer
(Naturalist)

Engelbert Kaempfer
2
Birthdate: September 16, 1651
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lemgo, Germany
Died: November 2, 1716

Seventeenth-century German physician and traveler Engelbert Kaempfer had been on trade missions across the world, including places such as Russia, Iran, Java, and Japan. His written experiences about his stay in Japan became a valuable source of information on the flora and fauna of the country.

Christoph Martin Wieland
2
Birthdate: September 5, 1733
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Achstetten, Germany
Died: January 20, 1813

 22 
Anton Schindler
(Conductor, Writer, Musicologist, Music historian, Biographer, Composer)

Anton Schindler
2
Birthdate: June 13, 1795
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Medlov
Died: January 16, 1864

 23 

August von Kotzebue
2
Birthdate: May 3, 1761
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Weimar, Germany
Died: March 23, 1819

 24 

Francis Daniel Pastorius
2
Birthdate: September 26, 1651
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sommerhausen, Germany
Died: 1720 AD

 25 

Friedrich Rückert
2
Birthdate: May 16, 1788
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Schweinfurt, Germany
Died: January 31, 1866

 26 

Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock
2
Birthdate: July 2, 1724
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Quedlinburg, Holy Roman Empire
Died: March 14, 1803

 27 

Ernst Moritz Arndt
2
Birthdate: December 26, 1769
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rügen, Germany
Died: January 29, 1860

Adelbert von Chamisso
2
Birthdate: January 30, 1781
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sivry-Ante, France
Died: August 21, 1838

 29 
Alois Senefelder
(Actor and playwright who invented the printing technique of lithography in the 1790s)

Alois Senefelder
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: February 26, 1834

 30 
Adolf Brand
(Writer)

Adolf Brand
2
Birthdate: November 14, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 2, 1945

 31 

Rahel Varnhagen
2
Birthdate: May 19, 1771
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 7, 1833

 32 

Rudolf Erich Raspe
3
Birthdate: May 19, 1771, 1736
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hannover, Germany
Died: November 1, 1794

 33 

Wilhelm Müller
2
Birthdate: October 7, 1794
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dessau, Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
Died: September 30, 1827

 34 
Leo von Klenze
(Architect)

Leo von Klenze
2
Birthdate: February 29, 1784
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Schladen, Germany
Died: January 26, 1864

 35 

Ferdinand Christian Baur
2
Birthdate: June 21, 1792
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Schmiden, Germany
Died: December 2, 1860

 36 

Ludwig Uhland
2
Birthdate: April 26, 1787
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tübingen, Germany
Died: November 13, 1862

Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué
2
Birthdate: February 12, 1777
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brandenburg, Germany
Died: January 23, 1843

 38 

Barthold Georg Niebuhr
2
Birthdate: August 27, 1776
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: January 2, 1831

Barthold Georg Niebuhr was a Danish-German banker, statesman, and historian. A symbol of national spirit in Germany, Barthold Georg Niebuhr helped invigorate a sense of patriotism and nationalism in students at the University of Berlin. 

Kristijonas Donelaitis
2
Birthdate: January 1, 1714
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lasdinehlen
Died: February 18, 1780

Prussian Lithuanian poet Kristijonas Donelaitis had mastered theology and classical languages and also served as a pastor of Tolmingkehmen. His best-known work, Metai, or The Seasons, was penned in hexameters, a style never used before in Lithuanian verse. He had also written Lithuanian fables based on Aesop's Fables.

 40 
Johann Kuhnau
(Polymath)

Johann Kuhnau
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1660
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Geising, Germany
Died: June 5, 1722

 41 

Johanna Schopenhauer
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1766
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gdańsk, Poland
Died: April 17, 1838

 42 

Ignaz von Döllinger
1
Birthdate: February 28, 1799
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bamberg, Germany
Died: January 10, 1890

 43 
Wilhelm Gesenius
(Biblical critic)

Wilhelm Gesenius
1
Birthdate: February 3, 1786
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nordhausen, Germany
Died: October 23, 1842

 44 

Charlotte von Stein
1
Birthdate: December 25, 1742
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Eisenach, Germany
Died: January 6, 1827

Gottfried August Bürger
1
Birthdate: December 31, 1747
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Molmerswende, Mansfeld, Germany
Died: June 8, 1794

 46 

Matthias Claudius
1
Birthdate: August 15, 1740
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reinfeld, Germany
Died: January 21, 1815

 47 

Justus Möser
1
Birthdate: December 14, 1720
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Osnabrück, Germany
Died: January 8, 1794

 48 

Joseph von Görres
1
Birthdate: January 25, 1776
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Koblenz, Germany
Died: January 29, 1848

Johann Peter Eckermann
1
Birthdate: September 21, 1792
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Winsen, Germany
Died: December 3, 1854

Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart
1
Birthdate: March 24, 1739
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Obersontheim, Germany
Died: October 10, 1791