Abraham Emanuel Fröhlich

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Abraham Emanuel Fröhlich (February 1, 1796 - December 1, 1865), was a Swiss theologian and poet, the older brother of the composer Friedrich Theodor Fröhlich (1803-1836). Fröhlich is known for his fables and his heroic poems about Ulrich Zwingli and Ulrich von Hutten.

He was born at Brugg in the canton of Aargau, son of Abraham Fröhlich (1769-1848), who worked his way up from a simple craftsman to the position of customs collector.

Fröhlich studied theology in Zürich and in May 1817 became a pastor, and returned as a teacher to the Latin school in Brugg. Amongst his students was Anna Rosina Märki (1766-1833). In January 1820 he married Elisabeth Frei (died 1863), and began his friendship with Wolfgang Menzel (1798-1873), who lived in Aarau from 1820-1824.

Fröhlich's liberal stands on the issues of the day during the Restaurationszeit in Switzerland foiled his hopes for an improved position, and led him to write his first batch of fables (Europäische Blätter, 1824/25) under the pseudonym Demokrit Schmerzenreich. In 1825 he expanded this work to create Hundert neue Fabeln (One hundred new fables), which was marked by the fact that the animals in the fables each stood for a known political figure of the time. This book of fables, along with the illustrations of Martin Disteli (1802-1844) gained him some reputation.

In 1827 he successfully applied to the position of teacher of German language and literature in the cantonal school at Aargau. The revolutions in Europe after the Paris July revolution in 1830 caused him his job. New regulations for teachers set in 1835 also caused him his job as teacher in the canton school of Aarau. Lacking sufficient degree, Fröhlich was forced to take a minor position. His bitterness over this moved him to write Ulrich von Hutten, Ulrich Zwingli, Elegien an Wieg und Sarg and frequent contributions to the year book he edited, Alpenrosen (Alpine Roses).

From the 1840s, appreciation for his work continually faded. His earlier work, though with thrust, was later considered superficially one-sided. His later works were considered lacking the enthusiasm of his earlier work and lacking in originality. An edition of his collected works, in 5 vols., was published at Frauenfeld in 1853.

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