Devrient, Ludwig

(1784-1832)
   Actor. Among the first German actors to earn the sobriquet "demonic," Devrient was an emblem of Romanticism on the German stage. He began his career in 1804 as "Ludwig Herzberg," whom audiences found utterly unconvincing.
   When he began to play character roles and comedy in Breslau by 1807, however, he discovered his métier. In 1814 he joined the Berlin Royal Theater, and there he achieved his greatest renown. Many described him on stage as a riveting presence; his facial features were distinctively attractive, with eyes that could often transfix the onlooker. Devrient's chronic alcoholism contributed to his reputation as wild and unpredictable. As a character actor, he likewise baffled audiences when he played more than one character in the same play. As a guest artist in 1828 at the Burgtheater in Vienna, Devrient created a sensation as Shylock, as critics recognized in him "the manifestation of primeval Nature." He had abandoned completely any attempt at rhetorical delivery, concentrating instead on the bizarre, the extraordinary, and at times the repulsive. He became close friends with E. T. A. Hoffmann, who influenced Devrient's work substantially.
   Devrient was "demonic" in the sense that he made an artistic virtue of being possessed, rather than having all his faculties under full control. Composer Richard Wagner was one audience member who came under Devrient's spell; after the performance Wagner said nobody would dare even whisper or make any movement because everyone was held by "a magic force no one had the power to withstand." Devrient is the subject of Hoffmann's 1817 essay "Strange Sorrows of a Theater Director" and was the main figure in Karl von Holtei's 1852 novel Die Vagabunden (The Vagabonds). Ludwig Devrient was the uncle of Carl Devrient, Eduard Devrient, and Emil Devrient.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Devrient, Ludwig — Devrient, Ludwig, der deutsche Garrik, einer der größten Schauspieler aller Zeiten, war am 15. Dec. 1784 in Berlin geboren. Die Darstellungen Iffland s (s. d.) und Fleck s bewogen ihn, zum Theater zu gehen. Unter dem Namen Herzberg gehörte er bis …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Devrient, Ludwig — ▪ German actor born Dec. 15, 1784, Berlin [Germany] died Dec. 30, 1832, Berlin       greatest and most original actor of the Romantic period in Germany, whose temperament, characterizations, and life invite comparison with his English… …   Universalium

  • DEVRIENT, LUDWIG —    a popular German actor, born in Berlin, of exceptional dramatic ability, the ablest of a family with similar gifts (1784 1832) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Devrient-Schröder, Wilhelmine — Devrient Schröder, Wilhelmine, Wilhelmine. Viel des Großen und Schönen in der deutschen Bühnenwelt knüpft sich an die Namen Schröder und Devrient. Ludwig Devrient und Sophia Schröder waren die bedeutendsten Erscheinungen des deutschen Theaters… …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Devrient, Eduard — ▪ German actor born Aug. 11, 1801, Berlin [Germany] died Oct. 4, 1877, Karlsruhe, Ger.       actor, director, manager, translator of Shakespeare into German, and author of the first detailed account of the development of the German theatre,… …   Universalium

  • Devrient, Karl August — ▪ German actor born April 5, 1797, Berlin [Germany] died Aug. 3, 1872, Hanover, Ger.       German actor who achieved popularity in heroic and character roles such as the title roles of Friedrich von Schiller s Wallenstein, Goethe s Faust, and… …   Universalium

  • Devrient, Max — ▪ German actor born Dec. 12, 1857, Hanover, Hannover [Germany] died June 13, 1929, Chur, Switz.       German actor who excelled in tragic roles, particularly in the plays of Goethe, Schiller, and Shakespeare, but who was also much admired in… …   Universalium

  • Devrient, Otto — ▪ German actor and director born Oct. 3, 1838, Berlin [Germany] died July 23, 1894, Stettin, Ger.       German actor, director, producer, and playwright.       Grandnephew of the great Romantic actor Ludwig Devrient (Devrient, Ludwig), Otto was… …   Universalium

  • Devrient, Emil — ▪ German actor born Sept. 4, 1803, Berlin [Germany] died Aug. 7, 1872, Dresden, Ger.       German actor of the 19th century who gained prominence in youthful heroic parts.       Nephew of the great Romantic actor Ludwig Devrient (Devrient,… …   Universalium

  • Ludwig Devrient — (Gemälde von Christoph Wilhelm Wohlien, 1831) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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