(Schweinfurt, 1788–1866, Neuses nr. Coburg), son of a lawyer in government employment, was educated at Schweinfurt grammar school (1802–5) and at Würzburg (1805–8) and Heidelberg (1808–9) universities. Having decided on an academic career, he qualified at Jena in 1811, but in 1812 abandoned the idea. He took up a school-teaching post at Hanau, but soon resigned and returned home. In the War of Liberation (see Napoleonic Wars) he stayed at home at his parents' request, contributing Geharnischte Sonette (1814) to the war effort. For a time (1815–16) he was on the staff of Cotta's Morgenblatt at Stuttgart, but resigned and spent a year (1817–18) in Italy. On his return he met J. Hammer-Purgstall in Vienna and under his influence began to devote himself to oriental languages. He married in 1821 and subsisted on honoraria and the editorship of the Frauentaschenbuch. His impressive command of oriental philology led in 1826 to appointment as professor at Erlangen, where, however, he felt happy only for a short time. In 1841 he was appointed a professor at Berlin University, but his enthusiasm soon waned, and in 1848 he was given leave to retire on half pay. He settled at Neuses nr. Coburg, where he already owned a property, and devoted his remaining years to scholarship.
From The Oxford Companion to German Literature in Oxford Reference.