Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert




Doctor, natural scientist, writer


Born: 26.04.1780 in Hohenstein

Died: 30.06.1860 in München


Doctorate: 1803 in Jena (Medicine)

University Lecturer: 1818 (?) - 1827 Erlangen, 1827 - 1853 München


Schubert grew up in modest circumstances as the youngest son of a pastor. He finished school in 1799 in Weimar, taking his final exams under the headmaster Johann Gottfried Herder, a man whom Schubert much admired. He next began to study theology and then medicine in Leipzig before transferring to Jena in 1801. Here he was an enthusiastic attendee of Schelling's lectures.

On completing his studies, Schubert began to practice in Altenburg, where he soon was in financial difficulties. He resolved his problems by becoming a contributor to Medizinische Annalen (medical annals) and by writing a novel Die Kirche und die Götter (the Church and the gods) in just three weeks. (In later years, he preferred not to be reminded of this book.)

Despite mastering his financial difficulties, Schubert gave up his practice in Altenburg in 1805, preferring to attempt an academic career. He moved to Freiburg in order to further his education and attended Werner's lectures on geognosis and mineralogy. After this, he took part in lectures organised for educated laymen in Dresden. His main subjects were animal magnetism, clairvoyance and dreams. In 1809 Schubert became director of a new secondary school in Nuremberg. He was offered professorships in philosophy in Berlin and Vienna, but declined. When the Nuremberg school was dissolved in 1816, Schubert was engaged by the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin as tutor for his children. This meant a move to Ludwigslust. He was never particularly happy there, and was therefore glad to accept a call to Erlangen where he became professor of natural history, lecturing on botany, geognostics, mineralology and forest science. In 1827 he moved for the last time, being called to Munich as professor of general natural history. Here he found a bitter opponent in Oken.

Schubert published many travel accounts in addition to his scientific writings. In 1853 he retired, being awarded the title of privy councillor.

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This page was designed by Uli Wunderlich, and translated by Adam Lawrence. Update: Manfred Engel. Please contact Prof. Dr. Manfred Engel if you have any questions.

FR 4.1 - Germanistik / Universität des Saarlandes
Last update:  2003-07-25 (me)