Karl Julius Schröer

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Karl Julius Schröer

Karl Julius Schröer (* 11 January 1825 in Pressburg, then w:Austrian Empire; † 16 December 1900 in Vienna) was an Austro-Hungarian linguist and literary scholar. He also wrote under the pseudonyms K(arl) Julius and Julius Oeser the Younger.


Karl Julius Schröer was born on 11 January 1825, the son of the writer Tobias Gottfried Schröer and the writer Therese Schröer, née Langwieser.

Schröer studied literature and linguistics in Leipzig, Halle and Berlin from 1843 to 1846. After 1849 he was professor of German language and literature in Pest. He then returned to Pressburg (today's Bratislava) in 1851 and took up a school teaching post.

Because of political developments, Karl Julius Schröer felt he had to leave Hungary and went to Vienna in 1860. He was director of the United Protestant Schools on Karlsplatz from 1861 to 1866. In 1866 he became professor of literary history at the Vienna University of Technology.

In the following years, Schröer conducted research on the German people in Hungary. In the course of this research he discovered the folk Christmas plays of Oberufer in the immediate vicinity of Bratislava. He collected manuscripts, made text-critical comparisons and published the book Deutsche Weihnachtsspiele aus Ungarn (German Christmas Plays from Hungary) in 1857/58. This work was the basis for many, but above all for Schröer's later student in Vienna, Rudolf Steiner, who founded the Free Waldorf Schools after World War I, in which the Oberufer Christmas plays are still performed today.

„However, the lectures Karl Julius Schröer gave on German literature at the technical college at that time were of particular importance to me. In the first year of my university studies, he read about "German Literature since Goethe" and about "Schiller's Life and Works". I was captivated from his very first lecture. He developed an overview of German intellectual life in the second half of the eighteenth century and dramatically explained how Goethe's first appearance in this intellectual life was to make an impact. The warmth of his manner of treatment, the enthusiastic way in which he read from the poets within the lectures, introduced one to poetry in an internalised way.

In addition, he had set up "exercises in oral performance and written presentation". The students were supposed to recite or read out what they had worked out themselves. Schröer then gave instructions on style, form of presentation etc. based on the students' performance. First I gave a lecture on Lessing's Laocoon. Then I set myself a larger task. I worked out the topic: To what extent is man a free being in his actions? In this work, I got very involved in Herbartian philosophy. Schröer didn't like that at all. He did not go along with the current for Herbart, which was the dominant one in Austria at that time, both in the philosophical pulpits and in pedagogy. He was completely devoted to Goethe's way of thinking. So everything that followed on from Herbart, even though he recognised the discipline of thought in him, seemed pedantic and sober to him.“ (Lit.:GA 28, p. 41f)

In Vienna, Schröer excelled particularly as a Goethe scholar. In 1878 he was a co-founder of the "Wiener Goetheverein", whose chronicle he published in 1886. He commented on Goethe's works and was particularly concerned with Faust research, which he presented in a two-volume Faust edition. He published six volumes of Goethe's dramas. Finally, Schröer endeavoured to create a Goethe monument in Vienna; it was put out to public tender in 1894 and created by Edmund Hellmann. It was unveiled one day before Schröer's death.

Certain characteristics of Schröer can be found in the figure of Professor Capesius in Steiner's Mystery Dramas:

„Not the whole individuality, but just some of Schröer's characteristics then passed over to my Capesius in the Mysteries, the Professor Capesius. One can say that we have here a brilliant example of the fact that the spiritual currents of antiquity can only be carried into the present under certain conditions. And one would like to say: Schröer showed a shying away from intellectuality. Had he been able to reach intellectuality and unite it with the spirituality of Plato: anthroposophy would have come.“ (Lit.:GA 238, p. 163)

Works (selection)

  • Gedichte. Zamarsky, Wien 1856.
  • Deutsche Weihnachtsspiele aus Ungarn. Braumüller, Wien 1862.
  • Versuch einer Darstellung der deutschen Mundarten des ungrischen Berglandes mit Sprachproben und Erläuterungen. Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 1863.
  • Die Laute der deutschen Mund arten des ungrischen Berglandes. Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 1864.
  • Wörterbuch der Mundart von Gottschee. Gerold, Wien 1870.
  • Alpharts Tod. In neuer Gestalt von Karl Julius Schröer. Reclam, Leipzig 1874.
  • Das Bauernhaus mit seiner Einrichtung und seinem Geräthe. K.K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Wien 1874.
  • Die Deutschen in Österreich-Ungarn und ihre Bedeutung für die Monarchie. Habel, Berlin 1879.
  • Faust von Goethe. Mit Einleitung und fortlaufender Erklärung, herausgegeben von K. J. Schröer. 2 Bde., Verlag Gebr. Henninger, Heilbronn 1881.


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.