Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Richter, Jean Paul (1763-1825), German romancist, was born near Baireuth, and was the son of a poor clergyman. Sent in 1781 to Leipsic University to study theology1, he found himself irresistibly attracted "to literature, and he began to write. His first productions are very immature and unreal, and are hot now read. He could find no publisher ior some time, and to keep himself and his widowed mother he was obliged to work hard as a tutor. In 1792 his Invisible Lodge, the earliest of his really original books, was brought out, and was well received. The next, Hespei-us (1792-94), is still considered by many to be his masterpiece. He commenced to develop his own peculiar style, and his sentimentality found enormous favour. By the publication of his Quintus Fixlein and his Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces (1795), he at once sprang into the front rank of German authors, and was for a long time distinctly the most popular of them all. He wrote on philosophy and other subjects for a while, married, and settled in Baireuth, and then produced some of his most amusing books, such as Dr.Katzenberger's Trip (1808), as well as patriotic works of the stamp of his Twilight for Germany (1809). Having done his best work, he retired on a small pension, and lived much by himself during his last years, which were saddened by his blindness and the death of a cherished son. Richter was unquestionably one of the greatest of humorists, but he is sometimes merely maudlin in sentiment, and his terrible diffuseness militates against his popularity; but there are passages of exquisite and almost unequalled beauty in some of his works, and Carlyle's admiration of him is well known. His writings have been collected into 65 volumes. The calmness and penetrating humour of his best works impress readers, and, despite certain manifest faults in them, his is one of the greatest names in German literary history. He is, however, not so widely read by his countrymen of the present day.