Schlegel, the family name of two German critics and writers who were brothers. Leaders of the Romantic movement in German literature, they founded and edited Athenaeum (1798–1800), the journal of the Romantic school of German writers. Both brothers studied Sanskrit and pioneered in the field of comparative philology.

Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Von Schlegel

(1772–1829) originated most of the critical and philosophical theories of Romanticism. He defined romantic poetry as “progressive universal poetry," free and infinite, contrasting it with the fixed and limited poetry of the ancient classical world. Friedrich believed that a literary work should be evaluated on its own terms rather than judged according to preconceived standards. Among his many philosophical writings are A History of Modern and Ancient Literature (1815) and Philosophy of History (1829). He also wrote a novel, Lucinde (1799), and a tragedy, Alarcos (1802). Friedrich was born in Hannover and attended the universities of Göttingen and Leipzig.

August Wilhelm Von Schlegel

(1767–1845) was primarily a linguist and an interpreter of his brother's ideas. One of his most important critical works is On Dramatic Art and Literature (1809–11). Perhaps his greatest literary contribution, however, was his translation of 17 of Shakespeare's plays (1797–1810). These translations—and the translations of the rest of Shakespeare's plays by Dorothea Tieck and Count Wolf von Baudissin, who were influenced by him—were responsible for the great popularity of Shakespeare's works in Germany. August was born in Hannover and attended the University of Göttingen.