Sue Young Histories

Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Brentano 1838 – 1917

February 19, 2009

Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Brentano 1838 –
1917Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Brentano 1838 – 1917 was an influential German philosopher and psychologist whose influence was felt by other such luminaries as Sigmund Freud, Edmund Husserl, Kazimierz Twardowski and Alexius Meinong, who followed and adapted his views.

Many members of the Brentano family were intimately connected to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and to homeopathy. Frantz Brentano taught Rudolf Steiner, and very nearly convinced Sigmund Freud of the truth of homeopathy. In a letter dated 27th March 1875, Sigmund Freud admitted to his friend Eduard Silberstein that (Paul C. Vitz, Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious, (Gracewing Publishing, 1 Feb 1993). Page 54), under Frantz Brentano‘s influence, he might one day be taken in by the scientific proofs of spiritualism, homeopathy and Louise Lateau (a Belgian Mystic who exhibited stigmata)…. (David Livingston Smith, Freud’s philosophy of the unconscious, (Springer, 1999). Page 14).

From Frantz Brentano was born at Marienberg am Rhein, near Boppard. He studied philosophy at the universities of Munich, Würzburg, Berlin (with Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg

He had a special interest in Aristotle and scholastic philosophy. He wrote his dissertation in Tübingen On the manifold sense of Being in Aristotle. Subsequently he began to study theology and entered the seminary in Munich and then Würzburg, preparing to become a Roman Catholic priest (ordained August 6, 1864).

In 1865–66 he wrote and defended his habilitation essay and theses and began to lecture at the University of Würzburg. His students in this period included, among others, Carl Stumpf and Anton Marty.

Between 1870 and 1873 Brentano was heavily involved in the debate on papal infallibility. A strong opponent of such dogma, he eventually gave up his priesthood. Following Brentano’s religious struggles, Carl Stumpf (who was studying at the seminar at the time) was also drawn away from the church.

In 1874 Brentano published his major work: ”Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint” and from 1874 to 1895 taught at the University of Vienna. Among his students were Edmund Husserl, Alexius Meinong, Christian von Ehrenfels, Rudolf Steiner, T.G. Masaryk, Sigmund Freud, Kazimierz Twardowski and many others (see School of Brentano for more details).

While he began his career as a full ordinary professor, he was forced to give up both his Austrian citizenship and his professorship in 1880 in order to marry. He was permitted to return to the university only as a Privatdozent. After his retirement he moved to Florence in Italy, transferring to Zürich at the outbreak of the First World War, where he died in 1917.

Of interest:

Antonie von Birkenstock Brentano 1780 – 1869 is one of the many put forward by scholars as composer Ludwig von Beethoven’s Unsterbliche Geliebte, or “Immortal Beloved”. Antonie was the half sister in law of Bettina von Arnim.

**{::}**Clemens Brentano**, or **Klemens Brentano** 1778 – 1842 was a German poet and novelist. He was born in Ehrenbreitstein, near Koblenz, Germany. **C**lemens Brentano was the brother of Bettina von Arnim, and a friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and **Friedrich Schlegel 1772 - 1829. His sister was Bettina von Arnim, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s correspondent.

From His father’s family was of Italian descent. He studied in Halle and Jena, afterwards residing at Heidelberg, Vienna and Berlin.

He was close to Wieland, Herder, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schlegel, Fichte and Tieck.

From 1798 to 1800 Clemens Brentano lived in Jena, the first center of the romantic movement.

In 1801, he moved to Göttingen, and became a friend of Achim von Arnim. He married Sophie Mereau on 29 October 1803. In 1804, he moved to Heidelberg and worked with Arnim on Zeitungen für Einsiedler and Des Knaben Wunderhorn. After his wife Sophie died in 1806 he married a second time in 1807 to Auguste Busmann. In the years between 1808 and 1818, he lived mostly in Berlin, and from 1819 to 1824 in Dülmen, Westphalia.

In 1818, weary of his somewhat restless and unsettled life, he returned to the practice of the Catholic faith and withdrew to the monastery of Dülmen, where he lived for some years in strict seclusion.

He took on there the position of secretary to the Catholic visionary nun, the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, of whom it was said that, during the last 12 years of her life, she could eat no food except Holy Communion, nor take any drink except water, subsisting entirely on the Holy Eucharist. It was claimed that from 1802 until her death, she bore the wounds of the Crown of Thorns, and from 1812, the full stigmata, including a cross over her heart and the wound from the lance.

Clemens Brentano made her acquaintance, was converted to the strong faith, and remained at the foot of the stigmatist’s bed copying her dictation without embellishment from 1818-1824. When she died, he prepared an index of the visions and revelations from her journal, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (published 1833). One of these visions made known by Clemens Brentano later resulted in supposed identification of the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus by Abbé Julien Gouyet, a French priest, during 1881.

The latter part of his life he spent in Regensburg, Frankfurt and Munich, actively engaged in Catholic propaganda. Clemens Brentano assisted Achim von Arnim, his brother in law, in the collection of folk-songs forming Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1805-1808), which Gustav Mahler drew upon for his song cycle. He died in Aschaffenburg.

Clemens Brentano, whose early writings were published under the pseudonym Maria, belonged to the Heidelberg group of German romantic writers, and his works are marked by excess of fantastic imagery and by abrupt, bizarre modes of expression.

His first published writings were Satiren und poetische Spiele (1800), and a romance Godwi oder Das steinerne Bild der Mutter (1801); of his dramas the best are Ponce de Leon (1804), Victoria (1817) and Die Grundung Prags (1815).

On the whole his finest work is the collection of Romanzen vom Rosenkranz (published posthumously in 1852); his short stories, and more especially the charming Geschichte vom braven Kasperl und dem schönen Annerl (1838), which has been translated into English, were very popular.

Clemens Brentano’s collected works, edited by his brother Christian, appeared at Frankfurt in 9 vols. (1851-1855). Selections have been edited by JB Diel (1873), M Koch (1892), and J Dohmke (1893). See JB Diel and William Kreiten, Klemens Brentano (2 vols, 1877-1878), the introduction to Koch’s edition, and R Steig, A. von Arnim und K. Brentano (1894).

Frantz Funck Brentano 1862 – 1947 was a Luxembourgian French historian and librarian who consulted homeopath Leon Vannier.

Paul Brentano was an Italian homeopath who wrote Homeopathy in Italy in 1864. His Obituary is in The British Journal of Homeopathy in 1865.