Heinrich von Kleist

Heinrich von Kleist was born in Frankfurt/Oder on October 18th, 1777, and, following the early death of his father, an officer in the Prussian army, grew up in the pastor S. Catel’s home. In 1792 Kleist joined the guard regiment in Potsdam and, after taking part in the Rhein campaign as a lieutenant, chose to leave the military in 1799. Kleist then studied philosophy, physics, math and political science in Frankfurt/Oder, left his studies after just one year and began travelling through Europe. After Kleist was refused entry into the Napoleonic army bound to invade England, he worked from 1804 to 1806 as a bureaucrat for the Prussian government. In 1807 Kleist was arrested by the French authorities as an alleged spy. In the following years, Kleist worked as the publisher of various magazines, although the Berliner Abendblätter was banned after a few difficulties with the censor. On November 21st, 1811, Heinrich von Kleist took his own life, together with Henriette Vogel who was terminally ill with cancer, at Kleiner Wannsee in Berlin. Kleist wrote stories, plays and poetry. His best-known works include The Broken Jug (1811) and Penthesilea (1808), as well as the stories The Marquise of O… (1808) and The Earthquake in Chile (1807).