Biography Albert Von Chamisso

Albert Von Chamisso

photo of Albert Von Chamisso
  • Time Period1781 - 1838
  • Place
  • CountryGermany

Poet Biography

Chamisso was a popular French/German poet and naturalist on Kotzebue's 1815 voyage. He is noted for having conducted the first complete botanical profile in western North America including the San Francisco Bay area. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Berlin-Dahlem.

born French with the name Vicomte de Chamisso and baptized Louis Charles Adélaïde. A nobleman, his family fled France during the French Revolution at the age of 9 and spent the rest of his life in Prussia where he took the name Adelbert.
The razing of his family's chateau, Boncourt, became the subject of his poem Das Schloß Boncourt. In 1796 he became a page to Queen Friederike Luise of Prussia; and two years later he was commissioned as an ensign in the Prussian army.

Chamisso became a poet during his army years and was heavily influenced by the Romantic movement. He mainly wrote poetry, but also wrote ballads and stories; amongst the short stories was Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte in which Peter Schemihl sells his shadow to the devil. This work influenced such authors as ETA Hoffmann who, in his work Abenteur der Silvesternacht, includes the charactor Peter Schemihl. Also influenced by Chamisso was Hans Christian Andersen in the story The Shadow. He was joint editor of Deutscher Musenalmanach until his death in 1838.