Franz Grillparzer

   Franz Grillparzer (1791-1872) was an Austrian playwright, born in Vienna. After studying law, he entered the civil service (1813) and in 1832 was made director of archives. His first important play, Die Ahnfrau (1817), was a gloomy "fate tragedy" in the manner of the German romanticists. In his later Vforks—Sappho (1819), The Golden Fleece (1821), King Ottokar's Fortune and Fate (1825), The Waves of the Sea and of Love (1831), and The Dream of Life (1834)— he became increasingly realistic in his treatment of character and motivation, and abandoned the vague, derivative pessimism of his youth for a gospel of heroic renunciation and self-effacement. Among his other plays are Woe to Him Who Lies (1838), a serio-comic counterpart to Die Ahnfrau, and the posthumous tragedies The Quarrel of the Brothers in Hapsburg, The Jewess of Toledo, and Libussa.
   Now accepted as his country's greatest playwright, Grillparzer, during the greater part of his career, was the victim of unsympathetic audiences and of a general intellectual repression exemplified in the antagonism of the Austrian censors who banned his King Ottokar and later removed all his plays from the official repertory. However, during the liberal era that followed the Austrian Revolution he was nationally honored, being elected to the Academy of Sciences and the Austrian house of peers.